Monday, April 9, 2018

Newport Farmers Market: A Review

All signs point to the Newport Farmers Market!
Last month, blustery weather on the Oregon coast escorted me hurriedly through the door of the Newport Farmers Market. Set in an exhibit hall on the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, the winter version of this community event was a perfect way to spend a last, rainy morning in this coastal town.

Dede and the best sweet rolls on the West Coast.
We stepped through the door and shook off our wet hoods to find a bustling market well underway. Our first stop was Dede Mettle's booth where beautiful breads and pastries had people waiting in line. One look at her cinnamon rolls, reminiscent of my grandmother's caramel version, was enough to get us to add ourselves to the queue. Dede, a long-time resident of Newport, previously owned a local restaurant, Volta Deli, but smiled and shook her head when I asked about it. "I don't open it anymore,"she said as a customer got ready to state their order. Her bakery business at the market seems to keep her busy enough. Her tarts - cream cheese and raisin, chocolate pecan and pecan - along with basil and feta cheese scones left nearly as fast as she could set them out for display.

Herb and Gary working up good brews at Old River Coffee Roaster Company.
Just next to Dede's both is the Old River Coffee Roaster Company, which seemed a logical place to find something to pair with Dede's amazing cinnamon roll. Herb Jennings, owner and founding roaster, brewed fresh cups for us on the spot as we chatted. Herb started roasting organic fair trade beans about ten years ago and selling at the market a year after that. "I started for fun," he said, eyes focused on the next round of coffees underway. He offers a range of blends and roasts that customers can find at the market or buy via his website. Customers came in a steady stream to buy whole beans, order a coffee or simply chat with Herb and Gary, a friend who helps out during the market to keep things running smoothly. "Loggers, fishers, and artists live here in Newport," Gary said as he handed me my coffee. "Everybody gets along."

Kelly and J.D. smiling with the Spring.
Kelly Greer, Newport's market manager, nodded in approval of my finds so far at the market when I stopped to talk with him and J.D., his assistant. (My notes get a bit sparse here as I was thoroughly enjoying a very sticky and delicious roll along with my coffee.) Started in 1978, the Newport Winter Market, Kelly told me, has about 33 vendors, but the number blossoms to 55 in the summer. All the vendors grow and produce what they sell, which means everything is fresh and handmade.

Kevin and Carie of C and K Orchards and the bread I loved.
Fresh and handmade is the name of the game for Kevin and Carie of C and K Orchards. Purveyors of scratch artisan local breads and sweets, the pair offered a table of treats too lovely to pass up. "We bake everything on the farm," Kevin said me as he handed me a sample of his Russian Black bread. Dense and flavorful without being overwhelming, the loaf had a pleasant heft as I eased it into my bag. Their ingredients all come from their farm or the area. Kevin uses heirloom wheat grown by his neighbor, Belle Mare Farm, for all of his breads and got the recipe from a Russian woman he used to work with, he told me. Carie uses their duck eggs and berries from the farm for her treats, too. While it's only their second year at the Newport Market, it certainly seems like they have a good thing going.
Veun and Sadie of Veun's Gardens and those amazing mustard greens.
It seemed a good time to hunt up some vegetables to go with all of that bread, so I drifted around a bit. To my pleasant surprise, Gathering Together Farm also has a presence at the Newport Market; however, since I saw their beautiful veg at the Portland State University Market, I kept going. The table for Veun's Garden caught my eye with their lovely mustard greens, broccoli, cilantro, onions and duck eggs, and I headed over. Veun and Sadie travelled from Corvallis to be at the market that morning, and while I loved the zippy flavor of their mustard greens, I was pretty sure my mother-in-law would be much less excited. "I'm just the sales guy," Veun laughed as he handed me the broccoli that we would have for dinner that evening. "My mom and sister do all the seed buying."

Marja Drum and her amazing work.
A separate room hosted the prepared foods - tacos, tamales, and German food - that my husband ran off to "research" while I kept perusing the main part of the market. Jewelry, seedlings, toys, pickles, and jams were all there, and I thought this would be a perfect place for buying local souvenirs. However, it is Marja Drum's stunning handmade rugs that pulled me in for a closer look. Originally from Finland, Drum sat at her loom working while the market buzzed around her. "I moved to Newport because of the market," she smiled. "I love it. You meet so many people." Place mats, coasters, bags, and rugs of varying sizes and colors were welcome splashes of color on this rainy spring morning.

A close-up of Marja's work.
For visitors or new-to-the-area folks, the Newport Market is a real gem of local food, craft, and culture. Don't be shy about stopping in. You'll feel right at home within moments!

Newport Farmers Market 

Winter Market
November through April
Lincoln County Fairgrounds (follow the signs)
9am - 1pm

Summer Market
May through October
Corner of Angle and Highway 101
9am - 1pm


marya said...

Thanks for your kind words.
Newport winter market has been awesome.
Marja D.

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

You are most welcome, and I'm glad to hear the market is going well. Let me know if you have a website for your work. I'll happily add it!