Baker’s Bumper Crop

Written by LISA BRITTON, Baker City Herald September 26, 2008 12:00 am

Harvest Festival Saturday at Geiser-Pollman Park


Autumn is here, but Baker County gardens and farms are still bursting with vegetables and fruit.

“It was such an incredible bumper crop season,” said May Heriza, who has been busy preserving food and has sold produce all season at the Baker City Farmers Market.

This Saturday celebrates the season at the market’s Harvest Festival, with live music by Johnny Starr and a gourmet meal featuring local produce.

The market will be extended by one hour, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The location, as always, is in the northeast corner of Geiser-Pollman Park.

The menu will include roasted squash soup with garlic baguette and apple cider for $4; a side of Sexton Ranches lamb sausage for $1; caramel apples made with certified organic apples from Eagle Creek Orchards for $2.50; and pumpkin bread for $1.50.

The food, especially the soup, will also be available in take-home containers.

Also, a raffle will be held for Whit Deschner’s photograph (professionally matted and framed) that was used for this year’s market poster. Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

Proceeds from the meal and the raffle will support the Baker City Farmers Market.

After this week, smaller markets will continue through October, on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at the park.

The extended season will offer fall produce — apples, pumpkins, squash and other fruit — as well as vegetables grown in greenhouses, including tomatoes.


Market season was a good one

Despite a cool spring — and a snowstorm in June — this year’s market is deemed a success by organizers and vendors.

“I think it was a great season — lots of fun, good fruits and veggies, interesting crafts and very festive at many of the markets,” said Ellie Feeley, market manager.

Though the Thursday markets started slow, Feeley credits a watermelon giveaway by Val Tachenko as stimulating that mid-week market.

Also slow to take off was the food stamp program, which was new this year thanks in part to a $150 grant from Oregon Rural Action.

“The use of the food stamp program was slow at first but got utilized considerably more after mid-season,” said Ramon Lara, who staffed the food stamp machine at nearly every market.

“Comment from some of the food stamp recipients was that they wanted to buy local, quality food and keep the money here in Baker County when they could,” he said.