Michelle Strachan | Contributing Writer
A few morning clouds didn’t stop anyone from heading downtown for the Corvallis Farmers’ Market on Saturday.
The delicious aroma of potatoes and eggs sizzling on the grill at Zia Southwest Cuisine, competed with the sweet scent of freshly cut flowers at the booth next door.
Dogs on leashes rushed to greet each other as their owners laughed and made conversation. Birds were chirping and smiles were ubiquitous as the sun quickly decided to join in.
The Farmers’ Market in Corvallis isn’t just a place to pick up fresh produce and support your local farmers. It’s a place where people of all ages can bring their children to play, take a walk, and enjoy a fresh breathe of Oregon air. But more than that, it’s a free event that brings the community together.
Street musicians Marsha and “Too Slim” Tom sat in the heart of the market, at 1st and Jackson Street, singing old time favorites like “Fishin’ Blues” and “I’m Satisfied With You” as listeners tapped their toes and smiled.
Even the young man offering “romantic strolls” to couples on his bicycle driven carriage,called a Pedicab, stopped to take a listen. Everyone within earshot offered a warm applause at the songs’ end, to which Tom jokingly replied, “If we knew you were listenin’, we woulda done better.”
There were several musicians that came down to entertain, including a banjo and guitar playing duo called Rusty Hinges, a group called Marysville Disaster, and an eight year old boy that wooed the crowd with his violin.
Amidst the musical talents, the carefree spirits, and the worry-free nature of the day, there were many reminders that we can all do our part in making a difference. Receptacles for recycling were set up next to trash cans, and positive messages were delivered in creative ways.
Debra Higbee-Sudyka wore a suit made up of 500 plastic bags, demonstrating how many plastic bags are used by the average shopper in one year. She represented the organization Bag Monster, which is fighting to ban plastic bags. For more information, visit www.bagmonster.com.
Norton Creek Farm sold duck and chicken eggs, displaying information and photos on free range chickens, with a sign that said, “Let Free Range Ring.”
Tables were set up in the shade by Art Outloud for children to take a break and do some painting. The organization works on donations to “create a culture of creativity” for children.
Local farms and gardens offered their freshest produce, plants, flowers, and meat with over fifty local businesses participating. Everything you could hope to find at a farmers’ market was there, and much more.
Available for purchase at some of the booths were Worm Tea (for ridding plants of white flies and aphids), organic honey lemonade, homemade dog biscuits, Ukrainian jewelry, knitted purses, and spicy cherry habanero jelly.
And don’t be surprised if you see a large group of people dancing to Cuban music. Rumbanana Salsa Group cranked up the tunes and danced their hearts out right in the middle of the street. If that doesn’t surprise you, maybe you will enjoy the fact that among the dancers were two of LBCC’s very own faculty members: Cyrel Gable, Coordinator of Parenting, and Mark Peterson, Librarian.
As if music, great food, and beautiful scenery wasn’t enough to make the day an adventure, there were surprises lurking around every corner.
People stopped in their tracks and cheered when they looked down the road and saw “da Vinci’s Wild Ride” approaching. Da vinci’s Wild Ride, a human-powered kinetic sculpture, is a part of da Vinci Days, every July in Corvallis.
It participates in races and parades but this was its first appearance at the Farmers’ Market. Nicole Dodson, Executive Director of da Vinci Days, said they came down to celebrate Leo’s (Leonardo da Vinci) birthday, which was April 15.
The weather may be unpredictable and the merchandise may change a little from week to week but one thing’s for certain, you’re sure to have fun at the farmers’ market.
For more information on Corvallis and Albany Farmers’ Markets, please visit: www.locallygrown.org