News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Farmers Market revs up for an exciting season

With new programs, new spaces, and more market days, Sisters Farmers Market will kick off an exciting new season on Sunday, June 2.

Locals looking for garden starts-ornamental or edible-will find many plants to choose from on Opening Day. Thanks to partners, including Central Oregon Flower Collective and Sisters Community Garden, "there will be a wide variety of veggie and flower starts available," according to market manager Willa Bauman.

New programs and spaces will enliven the five-month market season. Yoga, coffee tastings, maker demonstrations, and activities for all ages will be part of a new series called Mornings at the Market (see related article, page 9). Collaborating with Sisters Makers, the market will provide indoor activities and vending in the City-owned building next to Fir Street Park.

Additionally, the vacant lot across from the park will open to vendors and shoppers. First Interstate Bank, which owns the lot, worked out a sponsorship arrangement with Seed to Table, the parent organization of Sisters Farmers Market.

Describing the arrangement as "generous," Bauman explained that the lot "makes it possible to welcome bigger farms, such as Rainshadow Organics and Marquam Hill Berries. We are also going to have fresh mushrooms from Rockhill Farms and welcome 12 new vendors to the market."

One returning vendor is Zodiac Farms, which grows "a little bit of everything, being a diversified farm," says co-founder Spencer Williams. "Flowers, poultry, produce, chicken and duck eggs, holiday turkey."

Williams enjoys the market's "really cool regulars; we see a lot of the same faces every week." Partner Hana Claesson added, "People drop by and tell us how much they liked the produce they bought last week. We like the vibe, we like the people who visit."

Their farm is small, on a parcel of acreage where they also live. "It's just the two of us, two pairs of hands," Williams said. When shoppers buy from the Zodiac booth, they buy directly from the two farmers who grow and harvest the food.

Like the Zodiac farmers, Annette Solis and Gabriel Rossi are partners in business and life. Their passion isn't farming, though; it's pasta.

"I've been making pasta since I was a little kid," Rossi elaborated. "I had this old Italian cookbook, and I was always interested in being a chef. I was making fettuccine with a rolling pin." He went on to culinary school and became a professional chef.

"I've made pasta at numerous restaurants," he said. "It's part of my cultural heritage, Italian-American."

Bombaci Pasta's fresh, stuffed offerings will include agnolotti and tortellini. They took care to use packaging made from recycled and biodegradable materials.

This will be their first year selling pasta. They have, however, enjoyed the market before. "We really like Sisters Farmers Market," Rossi said. "It's kind of an excuse to visit Sisters for a day." They love to shop the market, head out on the Peterson Ridge trails, then stop at their favorite coffee house, bakery, and food carts.

"If we're in town, we stay as long as we can," said Solis. "The movie theater is so good," added Rossi.

John Herman, who raises honeybees on Lazy Z Ranch close to town, described it this way: "The farmers market is a sweet picture of everything that is Sisters Country - in four hours." Raised on a 1,200-acre cattle and hay operation in Northern California, Herman later worked for Sierra Nevada Brewing.

"I've been fermenting my whole life," he says. Now he makes mead, an intoxicating, fermented honey beverage with a history reaching back into antiquity. Lazy Z's distinctive meads, or "ranch wines," will be available at the market all summer.

On June 2, Holly Haddad will experience her first Sisters Farmers Market as executive director of Seed to Table, the nonprofit that has run the market since 2020. Haddad joined on in January of this year.

"I'm so excited for the upcoming market season," Haddad enthused. "Sisters Farmers Market is such a vibrant gathering place to celebrate and share in our local bounty."

The market will present special events on Opening Day. All ages are invited to make "seed bombs" free of charge. Additionally, there will be a garden tool and book swap, along with a canned food drive.

Durable raised beds will be featured as raffle prizes. Two organizations, the Rotary Club and Living Well with Dementia, will share information with market-goers; Sandy Reilly will be on hand to answer questions.

Sisters Farmers Market is open most Sundays from June through October, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fir Street Park. SNAP/EBT and Double Up Food Bucks are accepted; check the market's Info Booth for details. To learn more about the schedule and sign up for email updates, see http://www.sistersfarmersmarket.com.

 

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