There is a light hustle and bustle within the relaxed open-air market that straddles Downtown Newberg on Wednesday afternoons. The large, emerald grass square that serves as a foundation for the local vendors to show their wares and food snugs right up to the main drag. But you would never know it as a boundary. The mixture of market dwellers and tourist commuters creates that yin-yang balance longed for in the middle of the workweek. It is a place calling you to come and rest, to sit and have a snack, or just to ask questions of the earth-touching farmers, and shoot the breeze with with a friendly fellow foodie. There is enough space to grab a picnic bench and chill out or get frisky with the kids on the fresh green lawn. People wander to and fro between the soothing tents of vegetables and berries, fruits and honey.
Soft music from the weeks featured musician, Kenny Lavitz, floats along the good vibrations in the air. It’s a nice place to stop and think about what it really means to visit a local farmer’s market.
There are all ages accounted for among the canopies. Young, eager growers who want to share their passion about the food they bring for you to enjoy and also senior market members who have a story or two to whimsically share. As you stroll, you will surely encounter them all. A friendly face does not lack here. A kind word is often heard within the buzz of the market chatter.
I have been to the market a few times now and have enjoyed some tasty treats varying from Tom’s cabbage rolls and gluten-free cookies to mystery honey and decedent chocolate cakes from Just a Dash. Mr. Tom of Tom’s Pies shared a bit of insider scoop knowledge with me. I was commenting on his savory, breaded -cabbage roll that my husband and I had previously woofed down upon my return home with this new side dish addition to my dinner menu, when he decided to share a secret about it. Well, I can’t tell you what it is, so you’ll have to ask him yourself when you visit. It’s a secret!
It’s truly a great place to people watch and make new friends as well. People love to share their stories on why they are at the market, or how they got into their trade. One kind lady dressed in beautiful brilliant azure with a deep, olive complexion of Native-American heritage told Sender and I all about her granddaughter in Thailand. She makes a point to visit once a year,and she helps fund her trip with jewelry that her daughter-in-law creates and is imported to Oregon. She also makes some of this charmingly elegant, body adornment. She was gracious enough to share photos with me, and I could see the echoed love reverberate from her soul for her long-distance family.
Heart 2 Heart Farms is one of my favorite vendors, as they always have a little piglet hanging around to promote their piglet adoption program. There is a cozy little playpen with a fuzzy bunny and piggy for the kiddies to adore. They are so informative and willing to share all about their passion for their sustainable-farm efforts. We tasted some alpaca sausage that my husband couldn’t get enough of. I find it such a kind gesture when there are samples to explore and plenty to purchase if the tongue longs for more.
There is a man I call Mr. Soapy Bear, whom I have also encountered on First Friday’s ArtWalk here in Downtown Newberg.
He is one of my favorite faces amidst small local business owners. His smile is so warm and he’s just as down to earth as you can get. He likes the soap he makes and has been making it for years. We chatted about the cost of Sandalwood essential oil, including the market fluctuations there of; the ingredients in his dragon’s blood soap recipe; and the most popular soaps he sells. They come simply shaped in a rectangle and have a cute Soapy Bear logo on the thick paper wrapping, ideal for a local artisan gift to a friend.
Then there is the honey, honey, and more yummy honey. You can taste, smell, and learn all about the bees at T’s Bee. They have honey of specific different flowers like blackberry or clover, and my personal favorite: Mystery Honey. I’m not sure if it’s the name or the deep, almost nutty flavor that immediately got me to purchase the largest glass-mason jar full of this incredible sticky delight. Mystery Honey is collected from bees that visit all the different kinds of flowers. I also noticed a fancy little jar called Ambrosia to the left of the table. Naturally, my curiosity peaked and I just had to inquire. Well, it is an amazing potion, creamy in texture, made of royal jelly, bee pollen, and honey. It has a shockingly strong, yet not unpleasant taste, if you are an amateur bee-product connoisseur such as myself. Describing the depth of the flavor is evasive to me, at least until I dig out my “palate thesaurus”.
I had burst my budget by the time I traversed below this tent line, so I will be returning another Wednesday to grab my blessed share of Ambrosia “Gift of the Gods”. I did however snatch up an informative pamphlet on the healing benefits of this natural concoction, stunned to see excerpts of cancer fighting properties. You can research that online all day your self, I’m just going to eat it and feel great about it entering my material body.
Sender, Nate, and I had a great afternoon bouncing in and out of the shade and sampling local treats and listening and learning all about people.
I’m so glad that it pops up around the corner from our house every week, smack in the middle of the Newberg Downtown, as it truly is a place requesting frequent return, to really take it all in.