Archive for May, 2014

First Newsletter (and Strawberries) Of the Season

We’ve just relaunched our bi-weekly newsletter. If you haven’t yet, you can sign up here. We’ve sent these out to our loyal shoppers before, but this year we’re adding a little more pizzazz to it. We’re showing off our exciting new color scheme, but mostly we are aiming to connect you to all the market information you could ever want.

Check out the newsletter (or website) calendar to get connected with upcoming special events and musical performances. You can check out musician’ websites before hearing them live at the market or purchase their music online afterward.

If you’ve ever wanted to help make the markets even better, check the newsletter regularly to connect with our volunteer opportunities.

You can also catch the latest “market manager” blog posts on our website to stay connected with our vendors. Sometimes there are little tidbits of information that our manager, Pat, extracts from the vendors that you won’t find anywhere else. For instance, did you know that Stinging Nettles (a common nuisance plant in the Northwest) can be eaten once boiled? They make a delicious healthful tea too.

Most importantly, the newsletter will keep you connected with what produce is coming up in the weeks to come, how the local peach crop is looking for this year and when your favorite vendor will be attending the market next. This week you can expect to see strawberries arriving. We’ve been waiting all winter for these and Pat is certain they’ll almost taste like heaven. Not only are the strawberries arriving, but there will be a good selection of other early produce coming in; Kale, Radishes, Lettuce, Spinach, Asparagus, and more.

We would love to hear back from you regarding our newsletter. If you like it, pass it along and encourage your friends and family to sign up for. If you don’t like it, tell us why. We want to improve it however possible and make it a helpful tool for you. We value your input and look forward to all your comments. In the meantime, we’ll connect with you all in person at the markets.

Questions, questions, questions!

It’s rather amazing the number of questions asked during a typical market day; When will the strawberries be ready? Has the market always been here? Where’s the bathrooms? Can my child sell their widgets here?  But I never mind answering them, no matter how detailed or silly the questions may be.  This time of year, at the beginning of the season, people are generally just curious about lots of things; Will this vendor be here again?  I loved their product and was hoping to get more.  Is the Market Sprouts program happening?  My kids loved the activities and participating in that program.  Can I drive through the market to pick up my purchases? (Trust me, I’ve been asked that before).  And by spending just a few minutes answering all these questions is how I build a rapport with the community and our customers.  All these questions matter to me.  They are all important.  And I believe that the time spent talking with and answering customers questions is better advertising than almost any of the traditional media outlets.  It leaves the customers feeling good, happy, informed.  And these feelings get carried out throughout the market.  It’s really a very positive thing.

Now, to answer some of those questions.  When will the strawberries be ready?  Well, that’s not always an easy one to answer.  It really depends on the weather, too much rain and too many cloudy days and the plants don’t get enough sunshine for them to grow.  So, you always have to keep that in mind.  But, generally speaking, strawberries are usually ready around the end of May.  This year, I would have to say that they’re right on schedule so you’ll have to hold on for just a few more weeks.  Have the markets always been here?  No, not always.  But we have been in Downtown Hillsboro for 32 years.  We started in 1982 with just a few farms and the booth fee at that time was a whopping $3.00.  Believe it or not, there were a few farmers who wouldn’t pay the $3.00 and instead decided to park their trucks across the street and sell.  They eventually determined that it was beneficial to them to be a part of the market instead of off on their own.  I think we’ve come a long way since then.  And as for that favorite vendor that you are looking for.  Yes, it’s likely they will be back, but just check in with the information booth.  We have a list of all the vendors attending for the day and we can even tell you where they are located at the market.  If they aren’t currently at the market, check with me (the Market Manager).  I have a pretty good handle on all the various vendors that have applied and that have been approved to attend the market.  So, chances are that I’ll be able to tell you whether or not the vendor you are interested in is coming back.

The Staff at our information booth is new this year and they’re doing the best they can to familiarize themselves with the market and all its rules and guidelines.  They can answer most of the general questions (location of bathrooms, where a particular vendor is, the name of the band playing, etc.) and it’s good to test them with harder questions from time to time, but go easy on them, they’re still learning.

So, what do we have on tap for this coming week?  More stuff than I can even mention.  I do know that each week, New Seasons Market will be hosting a cooking demonstration at both the Downtown Market and the Orenco Market.  Using produce that is currently available at our markets they will be giving out samples and recipes cards each week.  Every week is something different and is always cooked fresh at the market.  The last two weeks they have focused on asparagus and I must say I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

That about wraps it up for this week.  Remember to check out our website, www.hillsboromarkets.org for more information and while you’re there sign up to get our new market newsletter, you won’t want to miss it.

See you all down at the markets!

Patrick Rossetti

Market Manager

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