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From grass-fed beef and handmade mittens and hats, to a stunning array of pastries and local cheeses, all this and more was available at the season-opening Saturday of the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

Lynne Miller, president of the board of directors for the winter market, said the first winter market of the year featured 47 vendors, the most ever for the start of a season.

“We’re doing really well,” she said.

Miller said this is because the market has added vendor space under the covered area next to Guerber Hall, where indoor stalls are located. Miller said this is the second year the market has used the covered area, but it took a while to attract vendors to the space last season, so they started with fewer vendors last year.

Miller said the market had outdoor space for vendors prior to last year, but it was uncovered so sellers would need to bring their own tents. And, Miller said, shoppers were less likely to browse the outdoor booths before they had cover.

Miller said having more vendors means the market attracts more shoppers, and that’s good for everyone.

“A rising tide floats all boats. The more people who come the better we all do.”

Miller said as the winter market has grown they have tried to make sure at least two thirds of the market vendors are food related, and that there’s not too much overlap in what each vendor offers.

“The more diversity we have the more people will come,” she said.

Miller said this year she’s excited to add Lonesome Whistle, which sells organic poporn, and a Blodgett-based coffee roaster.

"I’m excited about all the new vendors here because they all add to the diversity,” she added.

The market operates 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday through April 13, at the Benton County Fairgrounds, 110 SW 53rd St.

The Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets start their seasons April 20.

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Anthony Rimel covers weekend events, education, courts and crime and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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