Farmers markets have a way reflecting the culture of the places they are in. Bustling and noisy or tranquil, hippies or white shirts, rural or urban, farmers markets also have a way of improving the health of their communities in so many ways. The market in my area is a really good example of that.
Lane County Farmers Market is straight-up one of the reasons I live where I do. If the circumstances of my life were to require a move, having a robust farmers market would be top-of-the-list relocation criteria.
LCFM began in 1915 with 20 producers in the same location as its permanent home today. The market grew to be not just a place to buy fresh, local products, but a community meeting place that drew together people of all walks of life. In 1929, the market expanded and moved to another downtown location. It endured through depression era financial challenges and beyond until 1959 when it closed.
In 1978 the market was brought back to life and returned to its original location. Since then, the farmers market has grown to over 100 vendor-members. For 105 years, this market has been a vital part of the community, and a strong source of income for local farmers and food producers while providing access to healthy, affordable food for consumers in our area.
After 43 years in one location, things are a little different this year. To make way for a new Eugene Town Square-- a re-envisioning of our Park Blocks, City Hall, and year-round Farmers Market Pavilion-- this year Lane County Farmers Market will temporarily relocate to 5th Street between High and Oak Streets. Two weeks into the new locale, and things are as lively and operating as smoothly as ever.
No matter where the market sets up, it is a place where the community gathers not just to purchase farm-fresh produce, locally grown meats, seafood caught 60 miles away as the crow flies, honey, baked goods, and other delicious foodstuff. The market is a place where social and community ties are made, and where our economy is made stronger.
Additionally, Lane County Farmers Market is part of the Southern Willamette Valley Food Trail.
Check out farmers markets near you, or visit one next time you get close. You might just come away with more than a basket of food.
Do you know where the farmers markets in your area are located? Markets across the US are searchable by zip code in the "Find a Farmers Market Near You" links in the footer of this website.