Katy McNeil of Waldport told the Lincoln County Fair Board today there there are a number of Lincoln County farmers and ranchers who would jump at the chance of year round farming if “a market” was created for the winter months. Produce like varieties of lettuce, kale, broccoli, leeks mixed greens, cabbage, radishes and winter applies can be produced here on the coast during the winter, thanks to our mild marine climate. The winter farmers market could also offer select meats and eggs as well. McNeil said there would also be a number of vendors from soaps to dry goods, utensils to starter plants. McNeil said winter farmers markets are already well established in the valley where winter growing conditions are less favorable than here on the coast, so the opportunity is within our reach.
The Fair Board seemed very interested in exploring the feasibility of holding winter farmers markets at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. They urged Mc Neil to work with fairgrounds personnel for a personal tour of facilities, what the market’s needs might be and hopefully get everything worked out so that there could be a first-ever winter farmers market in the county by October. McNeil said the winter farmers market would run from October-November through March. The winter farmers market would likely run on Saturdays, as the Summer Farmers Market does now at Newport City Hall.
A just released food distribution study on Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties shows long running problems of getting healthy and nutritious food from the farm to the table, especially in Lincoln County. Lincoln County specifically lacks enough farms to create a steady food supply line of its own which means it must rely on farms in the valley to sell their vegetables, fruits and meat products here. The study by Ten Rivers Food Web of Corvallis revealed that there is not enough public information “out there” to let Lincoln County residents know where and when they can get fresh produce and even fish products, some of which are sold right off the boat on the port docks. Many farmers and other local food providers lack cold storage facilities and processing opportunities to bring their products to market.
The study said that having year round farmer’s markets will go a long way to promote local farms and what they grow. One proposal to expand exposure of local farms and their products is the creation of a winter farmer’s market at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. The proposal will be before the county fair board Thursday, 10am at the Lincoln County Commission Chambers.Share on Facebook