As the rain started to come down Sunday afternoon, local growers — staying dry and warm indoors at the Fill Your Pantry Market — were reminded that the season of outdoor farmers’ markets is coming to a close.
Held in the community room of the First United Methodist Church, the event was intended to encourage consumers to stock their shelves with locally grown staples for the winter — grains, frozen meats, vegetables, cheese, eggs, honey and more.
Nancy Muir and her husband, Cameron Muir, sold different varieties of potatoes, onions, leeks and garlic. Nancy Muir, who has been a vendor at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market for the past 29 years, is no stranger to person-to-person sales, but she was pleasantly surprised by the amount of vegetables she sold Sunday.
“Today is amazing. I didn’t know what to expect, so this is great,” she said. “I’ve got a ton of preorder stuff. Do you see the list?”
Corwin Willard and his wife, Brigitte Goetze, of Alpine carted off two boxes of potatoes from the Muirs. They’ve gone to the Fill Your Pantry Market all three years — the first was held at a farm outside Albany in 2010 and last year’s market took place in Shedd.
“We have a big garden, but we never raise enough potatoes,” Willard said.
After Goetze set a crown of cauliflower atop the boxes of potatoes, she said they weren’t finished shopping.
“We’re going to wander around and see what strikes our fancy,” she said.
The annual market is organized by Ten Rivers Food Web in partnership with many other organizations. Ten Rivers Food Web is a nonprofit with the goal of building resilient food systems in Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties in order to provide healthy food to the masses. This fall, organizers expanded their operation to include three Fill Your Pantry Markets, in Corvallis, Shedd and Newport.
“It’s different from farmers’ markets because it’s a post-harvest event and it’s meant to connect the consumers and farmers directly to sell bulk quantities,” said Jen Christion Myers, executive director of Ten Rivers Food Web.
Consumers get a good deal on bulk items and farmers move some of their products before it’s too late.
“We always have extra of all of this when the farmers’ market is over,” Nancy Muir said. “I sold some to the co-op and a few restaurants, but this is great just having another place to sell it all.”
A pantry full of staple food from area farmers can be a comfort as the daylight hours get shorter and the temperatures get cooler.
“It’s kind of a fun way to think about the transition to winter when people are settling into their homes with a pantry full of great local food,” Myers said. “It creates kind of a warm, cozy, ready-for-winter kind of feeling.”