SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Fresh produce was quickly exchanged between seller and buyer. Farmer Sarah Hucka was shocked at how much she sold in the first few minutes. “I bagged like four bags of onions when I got here and thought that’ll do me for a while. I sold those even in you know, 5 minutes into the sale event,” said Hucka.
It was the same story across the room over at the River Bend Farm booth. It’s the farm’s first year selling apples at the event, so they didn’t really know what to expect. “My expectations would you know maybe 10 boxes of apples, but we’ve definitely gone over that,” said Annette Pershern, a local farmer.
But in just two hours the farm sold 49 boxes of apples to people who are hungry for locally grown goods. “I eat locally because I want my farmers to be able to continue to grow food into the future so that we have healthy local food system. I want to know who’s growing my food and how they do it,” said Megan Kemple, who was shopping at the event.
The trend to buy local is something local nutritionists continue to see grow. “I’ve been practicing for about 7 years and I”ve seen a huge increase for people wanting locally grown foods and there’s a big push for buying something from our local system,” said Yaakov Levine, a local nutritionist.
As people learn how to preserve these foods, farmers said they’ll keep coming back to buy in bulk. “The most important thing to remember is to keep them cool without freezing and in a dark place and in containers that will protect them from mice and other animals,” said Elyse Grau, a preservation specialist with the OSU extension service.
“I don’t have a perfect storage environment so the faster I can sell things like onions, the better. I don’t have to fear they’re going to go bad,” said Hucka.