Farmers Market returns home, moving into a new pavilion and plaza

Philip Smith describes it as “super-duper” to be back at the original Lane County Farmers Market home.

After about a year and a half of relocating to East Fifth Avenue, the market returned Saturday to its location on Eighth Avenue and Oak Street and moved into its new permanent home – the completed Farmers’ Market Pavilion and Square.

Smith, who started selling in the market with Blessed Bee in 1992, has seen the farmers’ market grow, gaining vendors and a greater variety of produce.

He said the completed pavilion “seems like a great improvement” and doesn’t miss the horns of passing trains like they did when the market was on East Fifth Avenue.

The Saturday and Tuesday Farmers Markets will now be the Pavilion and the Square.

Alexis Molinari, the market manager, said the time behind the 5th Street market has been “positive and welcoming” as an interim location.

“We are grateful to 5th Street Market and all of the surrounding businesses for not only hosting us, but for working together to create a vibrant environment that has positively impacted our vendor and customer experience, as well than on the 5th Street Market area,” Molinari said in a statement.

Although the market was a success on Fifth Avenue, vendors and staff couldn’t wait to be back and on Eighth Avenue and Oak Street, where the city’s first farmer’s market took root more than a century ago 100 years, according to a press release.

Dan Schuler has been selling in the market for a few years with Moondog’s Farm and said the space was both different and similar to previous markets..

“It looks a lot like the market in the past, but it also looks like a good level,” Schuler said.

Fresh vegetables sit on tables at the Moondog's Farm stand in the new Farmers' Market Pavilion in downtown Eugene on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

There are obvious differences, he said, like shelter from the rain. Schuler also noted an increase in traffic and excitement and said it was nice to have some ambient light – he was one of the few vendors inside the pavilion who didn’t have lights installed. attempted.

Antonina Kuznetsov, who has been selling in the market for 15 years with Northwest Berries, was also optimistic about permanent residency.

It was a big change moving to Fifth Avenue, she said, and she likes that everything is on one block with the move back to the original location.

“I hope it’s going to be great,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s really good and open, and it’s a really good atmosphere.”

Construction of the pavilion began in August 2021 after a land swap and planning for a new town square comprising the pavilion and plaza.

Mike Sullivan, who served on the Farmers’ Market board for nearly 10 years and witnessed much of the process, said the move into permanent residence took “so many years of preparation and that city and county support has been key.

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“The new market house can help us accomplish so many things: supporting local farmers, supporting market expansion, extending the market season, improving community access to local, fresh and healthy produce, and supporting vitality of downtown Eugene,” Sullivan said in a statement. “We are very grateful for the vision and leadership that made the new market house a reality.”

Market staff are thrilled to be in the pavilion and to be next to Eugene’s Saturday Market again, Molinari said.

“Combining the two markets, side by side, is a strong part of Eugene’s identity and a collaboration that much of the community has missed,” she said in a statement.

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Molinari said the pavilion will also serve as a space to host community-focused events and allow the market to actively promote health and eventually create a dedicated space to increase awareness of agriculture, ecology and sustainability. the environment. The organization also hopes the space will serve as a place where people can feel safe to visit and congregate even outside of market days, she said.

There will be a grand opening celebration from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 26 at the new Farmers’ Market Hall and Plaza. The free event will include live music, food trucks, speakers, information from partner organizations and family activities.

Register-Guard photographer Ben Lonergan contributed to this article. Contact City Government Watchdog Megan Banta at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MeganBanta_1.

James V. Payne