Farmers’ Market Finds (Part II)

Story by Jennifer Grafiada Photos by Tristin Godsey

Those who make the Saturday trip to the Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market will be richly rewarded. Fresh hummus samples and hot tea, late-season produce, new food trucks and a wide variety of gift ideas make it a year-round draw. 

While winter cold and rain sent Farmers’ Market vendors under cover, this spring the stalwarts and newbies will be back outside, looking for good weather and customers. Market manager Amanda Pastoria hints at several exciting new vendors and programs this season, so grab your cash, plastic or Oregon Trail Card and plan a visit to the Farmers’ Market. Your taste buds will thank you. So will the market’s vendors.

 

UMPQUA VALLEY FARMERS’ MARKET

VENDOR SPOTLIGHTS

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KALAPUYA HONEY
There is something beautiful about sunlight streaming through the golden amber of raw local honey in a glass bottle. Look closely and you can see different shades. Blackberry honey is darker and more robust than blueberry.

“We have an unscientific poll going,” says Dallas and Rhonda Amer, who run the honey booth every Saturday. “Red wine drinkers tend to like the blackberry, and white wine fans go for the blueberry, which is lighter and sweeter.”

Some years, the Amers offer a cranberry varietal after their bees pollinate coastal bogs. But in the honey business, there are no guarantees. 

“The conditions have to be just right for the nectar to come far enough for the bees to reach it, and the bees have to collect enough to make a surplus,” says Dallas, who calls himself a bee farmer rather than a beekeeper. “You take care of the bees first.”

Dallas has 46 years’ experience in the bee business and grandson Matthew Clark looks to be heir apparent around the hives. Keeping Kalapuya Honey in the family is good news for the products’ local fans.

 

WHAT THEY OFFER

  • Raw local honey

  • Beeswax and pollen

  • Starter colonies (“nucs”)

  • Pollination services to farms and gardens

 

WHERE TO FIND THEM

Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market

 

HOW TO CONNECT

Facebook.com/kalapuyahoney


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BLUE NILE AUTHENTIC HUMMUS
Garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, ground sesame seeds and salt. 

It might seem simple to make hummus. It’s making great hummus that requires the extra effort. 

Blue Nile Authentic Hummus uses non-GMO garbanzos (aka chickpeas) from Washington state and cooks them in small batches. Beans from a can are a no-go. The garlic is freshly chopped and the lemon juice hand-squeezed.

Tareck Wagdi, who produces and sells hummus with his wife, Tracie, learned this commitment to quality from his mother while growing up in his native Egypt. The couple’s love for authentic Mediterranean hummus goes back 15 years, when they shared it as an hors d’oeuvre at family parties. Today, they sell at several locations along the Douglas County coast as well as locally. Stop by their booth for a free sample on a pita chip. You might find yourself hooked.

WHAT THEY OFFER

  • Garlic-lemon hummus

  • Freshly baked pita chips

  • Mediterranean Tzatziki

  • Stuffed grape leaves, dried dates, marinated olives

  • Baklava

  • Spicy cheese dip

  • Loose-leaf herbal teas

 

WHERE TO FIND THEM

  • Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market

  • Bailey’s Health Food Center, North Bend

  • Recreation Station, Reedsport

  • Coos Bay Farmers’ Market

  • Pony Village Mall, North Bend and Coos Bay

  • Bandon Farmers’ Market

 

HOW TO CONNECT

Facebook.com/Blue-Nile-Authentic-Hummus
541-517-4147
BlueNileFoods@Rconnects.com


 Trevor Michel

Trevor Michel

FRESHLY CANNED ALBACORE AND SALMON
“I work 15-hour days and do the work of two men,” says fisherman Trevor Michel, who is proud of the freshly canned albacore and salmon he produces. “It is a dangerous job, but I am a risk-taker.”

Michel began commercial fishing as a summer job when he was 20 years old, then worked as a deckhand until he had saved enough to buy his own boat. He first sold his product through wholesalers, but now sells directly to customers in Southern Oregon. In the summer, he also sells fresh-caught fish and plans to have supplies on hand at the Farmers’ Market this season.

“Trolling is sustainable fishery,” says Michel, who holds a degree in natural resources from Chico State University. He uses hooks and lines instead of nets or pots, and processes his fish to ensure maximum quality.

“The canned albacore you buy at the store is not bled and it’s previously frozen and caught with nets in another country,” says Michel. “I take good care of my fish when I catch them. It is time-consuming to do it this way and hard work. But when I get compliments it makes it all worth it. Some people do not know albacore could be so delicious out of a can, but if everything is done correctly, the results can be gourmet quality.”

Michel plans to expand his canned fish sales soon, but until that happens, you’ll likely find him behind a stack of cans at the market. That is, when he’s not on the Pacific bringing in another catch.

WHAT THEY OFFER

  • Freshly canned albacore and salmon (salt or no salt; some with added garlic)

  • Fresh fish (seasonal)

 

WHERE TO FIND THEM

  • Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market

  • At Oregon coast marinas (seasonal)

HOW TO CONNECT

707-845-6884


WHERE ELSE TO WATCH

They hope to sell their products wholesale to local businesses and ask that any interested restaurants or retailers please contact them.