It’s officially spring. The days are getting longer, the trees are blooming and a sunny warm summer is just around the corner. This time of year also marks the reopening of the Rogue Valley’s Growers Markets. There are numerous markets spread across the valley which can be found on most days of the week. The growers markets are a popular valley attraction. Many area residents enjoy strolling through the market in search of the freshest brightest fruits and vegetables while listening to local musicians and sampling local gourmet treats. If you haven’t stopped by one of the Valley Growers Markets before, now is the time to give them a try.
There are a variety of reasons to shop at our local growers markets. When you buy locally grown fruits and vegetables you get food picked at its peak. The food is fresh and simply tastes better. Farmer’s market food is different than commercially produced food in more ways than you might imagine. According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture www.cuesa.org the average American meal travels about 1500 miles from farm to your dinner plate. This affects the consumer and the planet in a variety of ways. The long distance our food travels consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels. When thought of in terms of energy produced, every 1 calorie we consume takes 10 times that amount of fossil fuel energy to transport. Obviously this is not the most effective use of energy not to mention the large amount of carbon emissions produced. Then there is the quality of the food to consider. In the time it takes to ship your food those 1500 miles it would be nothing but a pile of mush if it were picked fresh. Due to this much of the commercially produced food is picked before it is ripe and then chemically gassed with ethylene to ripen it.
Shopping at the local growers markets also helps the community economically. For every $100 you spend in your community at a local business $68 of it stays in your community compared with only $43 when you spend the same $100 at a major retailer. The local farms, gourmet food makers, artisans and crafters you find at our local growers markets employ people in our community. By supporting them you support the Rogue Valley as a whole.
The Rogue Valley Growers Markets are not just limited to fruits and vegetables. This past weekend I spotted a wide variety of goods including jams, jewelry, dog treats, handmade wood furniture, breads, tamales and plants to name just some of the offerings. If you live in the Rogue Valley you have multiple choices of growers markets in your area. The first three markets opened this month with more to follow in the coming months. So, if you’re looking for ingredients for dinner, shopping for plants for the yard or hungry for some local gourmet food, grab the kids and find your local growers market.
The following is a list of Rogue Valley Growers Markets.
Tuesdays at the Ashland Armory
March 15 – November 22
Ashland Saturday Market – Lithia Way & First Street
9:00 – 1:00
May 7 – October 29
Thursdays at the Medford Armory
Open from 8:30 – 1:30
March 17 – November 17
For info on both the Ashland and Medford markets see www.rvgrowersmarket.com
Grants Pass Markets
Saturday’s downtown at 4th and “F” Street
Open from 9-1
March 5th – Thanksgiving
Summer Market at Riverside Park
Wednesdays, 9am – 1pm
June – Sep
Rogue River Sunday Market
110 E. Pine St.
Sundays, 9am – 1pm
May – Oct
Talent Evening Market
110 E. Main St.
Fridays, 5:30 – 8:30pm
June – September