The farmer’s market at Orenco Station is on Sunday, which I think it a pretty good time, most of the other farmers markets seem to happen on Saturday and this one happening on Sunday always to seem really well attended by both customers and vendors. The parking is very adequate and despite the market’s proximity to nearby large stores there was available close parking when I arrived.
Luckily I’d planned carefully so I was able to use the bronco to visit the farmers market. It was a pleasure driving it as I’m normally a bit nervous driving it given the long history I have with the local towing agencies and the bronco when it has an issue (not starting, melted lead battery connectors – this actually happened!, and other mysterious issues) however it has been working fine lately, so I was pretty sure that it would at least work alright in Hillsboro. It’s always a pleasure to sit a little higher in traffic, the three hundred is the normal height of a sedan so nothing really interesting there, but the bronco sits a little higher so its much better for me.
From my parking spot just around the corner the view toward the farmers market was pretty good – it looked like there were quite a few people there (which is nice!) and lots and lots of tents as well – it’s always good to have a nice selection of offerings. I got to the entrance on the south west corner and wanted to point out some of the local businesses who area located in the area. I’ve eaten at Yuki Japanese Restaurant quite a few times (and there might be a future article about it too!) and have also visited Swagath Indian Cuisine as well – both area wonderful restaurants and have unique high-class offerings.
Just inside I saw the kettle corn trailer – I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s made locally and always smells wonderful.
For this series about some of the local farmers markets I’ve decided to only focus on a couple of the more interesting vendors I see. While there are a ton of vendors at each event I want to make sure I’m giving ample opportunity to the ones that seem particularly interesting and that I haven’t talked about before.
The first place I stopped was just after the kettle corn shop and the first thing I saw was Lady Bug Houses that provided natural aphid control. I thought that was a pretty good idea and as I read the instructions and information I was very impressed by how well made the houses were and how much creativity had gone into them. There is quite a bit of science that goes into the production of the houses and the bamboo supports the populations as well. There are also other beneficial insects like green lacewing and mason bees that will shelter in the lady bug houses – just fantastic!!
I then got to meet the proprietor of Neale’s Specialty’s. She was extremely knowledgable about the ceramics that go into her designs and mentioned that the colors are all natural (something I definitely appreciate and support!). As I walked through her booth I noticed there were many fascinating products that were made from ceramics and had beautiful colors. Things like mermaid busts, acoustic cell phone amplifiers, microwave oatmeal bowls (very ingenious there!), wall sconce flower holders, and other fantastic items – and this was just the first side I noticed!
On the other side were more of the mermaid busts, lots of different kinds of leaf shaped bowls, and other table sized flower vases. The colors and craftsmanship that go into the ceramic creations at Neale’s Specialty’s is remarkable and the colors are also fantastic. I definitely recommend that if you get an opportunity to visit the Orenco Station farmers market that you stop by and check out her offerings, they are just fantastic!
While I was looking for the next place to write about I did notice that there are lots of dogs at the farmers market – it’s a tribute to the owners there that their pets are so well behaved – there was no barking or misbehaving at all – I was super impressed. There are also several fresh food places at this farmers market – I saw Mama’s Minis which must have been a mini donut place by the sign. I also saw a barbecue place (whose name I didn’t get, sorry!) but had biscuits and gravy for folks. Lastly in the fresh food area I saw a greek gyro shop – which, with the kettle corn is a pretty good selection. There are also lots of places for hungry folks who just got food to sit down and enjoy their gyros or biscuits and gravy! As I was walking through I also noticed a bubble tea vendor called Bobablastic. I personally have never tried bubble tea, but I know folks who swear it’s the best thing ever – I do know that it is a drink with tapioca “bubbles” in it, and is pretty thick to drink, but like I said, some folks swear it’s the best.
The next place I decided to talk to the folks who were running the stand is called Bre’s Bakehouse. I really liked the idea that all of the snacks and food is made without gluten – I know that I feel much better when I avoid gluten, but it’s tough, seems like it’s in everything these days, so I admire a place like Bre’s Bakehouse. The folks working here were super nice and talked to me for a while. She said it was her first season at the farmer’s market – which I found hard to believe, they seemed like old pros! The had a great stand and very good attitudes. She said that her co-workers at her day job always said she should turn her amazing baking skills into a business and as far as I’m concerned they were absolutely right!
The menu they offered had all kinds of wonderful things to eat. I found myself having a staring contest with all of the goods in the display cabinet before I decided on one of the raspberry nectarine oat bars. Wow, just wow. Her co-workers weren’t kidding, this was wonderful!!!! I highly recommend everyone visit Bre’s Bakehouse a tithe farmers market the next time you are there, I can say for sure that it was absolutely fantastic, and I’m already looking forward to going back and finding more exquisite offerings!!
One of the nicer things I like about the Orinoco Station farmers market is that information booth – when I was there it was well staffed and provided lots of great information. If someone is interested in being a vendor or has questions, they know all of the answers! They were very nice and answered all of my questions.
The next place I stopped and chatted with the proprietors was called Wingham Farms, which really had two different offerings, meat products (including fresh organic eggs) goats milk soap, and regular unpasteurized milk (great for making your own cheese!!). The different meats they had were goat, pork, lamb, and beef. There was stewing chickens that could be bought and they also had different kinds of sausages: Italian and link. I really like the idea of consuming products farmed and supported by local farmers. I think the more connected we are to our food chain the healthier we will be.
There are also lots of different meats that can be ordered in quite a few different varieties – for the larger animals they can be purchased in quarters, halves, or whole. For the fowl offerings they have both ducks and chickens, kinda cool there, I had duck once during a thanksgiving I made and it was pretty good! Rather like dark turkey meat but better in my opinion, and I can imagine how wonderful local fowl would be. Wingham Farms also had lots and lots of eggs for sale and I’m not sure if folks realize it, but most eggs that are organic and are farmed naturally can be a variety of colors – from white all the way to dark brown and also blue and green. I always thought that was a little odd, but once I tasted a local organic egg and realized how much better it was than a store bought egg I hardly ever get eggs at the supermarket.
I didn’t get a chance to purchase any of the meat offerings, I was a little low in cash, but I knew Nic would appreciate some of the soap, so I got some some of the amazing smelling lemongrass soap. I did have a chance to sniff most of the soaps and they all smelled heavenly, but the lemongrass one – which was the first one suggested won me over in the end.
I had a really great time at the farmers market and it’s one of the things I look forward to in the spring, visiting all of the markets and gathering fresh veggies and fruits and finding all of the new things folks have designed and built over the winter. It’s not surprising to see some vendors year after year, but it’s always nice to see newcomers like Bre’s Bakehouse show up exciting new goodies. Orenco Station farmers market definitely deserves five Heywillamettes for being such a fantastic farmers market. I’m grateful I got a chance to talk to all of the folks at Neale’s Specialty’s, Bre’s Bakehouse, and Wingham Farms – they were all extremely nice and didn’t mind me asking lots of questions. I recommend you visit their stands and give them a try for sure.