SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The Lane County Farmer’s Market is an amazing resource for anyone looking to buy local produce. During the winter it shuts down, but it’s not because local farmers aren’t growing crops.
Under the vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows at the old Springfield Church, farmers set up their booths and get ready for Friday at Sprout Marketplace. An indoor food hub, crucial during western Oregon’s dreary winter months.
“Being indoors for the farmer’s market is really important because what we really wanted to provide was year-round access to the community for local food. That’s really hard to do in the weather of the winter,” said David Johnson.
“Certainly, it’s nice to be out of the elements and we’re pretty grateful to have that. It’s affordable. The customers are coming to it,” said Kris Woolhouse, Ruby & Amber’s Organic Oasis Co-Owner.
That’s the key. There’s demand for local produce, even into winter.
“The customers really want it, so there’s a big push for it,” said Woolhouse.
Many of the vendors also have booths at the Lane County Farmer’s Market. But since there was no year-round indoor venue, it’s forced to shut down for the month of January before re-opening in February. Its organizers are looking to change that soon.
“We need to expand. I think if we’re looking ahead five or 10 years, if we really want to expand, it should include at least covered space and perhaps even a year-round market.” said Dan Armstrong.
They’re looking to Sprout as an example to see if customers and vendors are in it for the long haul. Sprout organizers expect it to bloom.
“I think it’s really obvious that local food is a priority for this community, not just just the Springfield community. The Eugene, Springfield and larger surrounding area. That’s not just a seasonal desire. It’s not just a seasonal need that the community has. That’s a year-round need,” said Johnson.
Sprout marketplace is open every Friday from 3-7 p.m at the old church at 418 A Street in Springfield.