Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: May 19, 2010

Farmers Market doubles offerings in 2010

Of the Keizertimes

Our very own farmers market is back at Keizer Station for 2010.

And its manager, Paul Dunbar, expects this year to be bigger and better than ever.

Now in its fourth year, the market has found at least a semi-permanent home, after migrating from the city hall parking lot to River Road and finally to Keizer Station. It will have a location near Bed, Bath and Beyond. [MAP: 1]

Last year, Dunbar said, the market started out with about 10 vendors. This year it will be closer to 20, he said.

It kicks off Iris Festival weekend, and will be open the same hours as the festival grounds. After that, it will be every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. – an extension of about an hour from last year’s times.

“This year we’re staying open per the request of the public … with a proviso that we can stay open until 3 p.m. at the latest,” he said.

Audrey Yokota, director of marketing for Keizer Station owners Donahue Schriber, said it makes sense for Keizer Station to assist in “bringing the local community the agriculture known in the valley to the people of Keizer.

“People in the area appreciate homegrown, slow-grown locally-raised produce and other food products,” Yokota said. “They really value that, and we’re happy to help provide that desire for them.”

Seasonal produce, of course, will be available as the crops come in. Dunbar said some local greenhouses will be bringing fruits and vegetables in the meantime.

“More produce, more berries – everything,” Dunbar said. “They’re hoping they’ll have some available on our opening weekend, but if not they will probably be in around the 1st of June.”

Dunbar’s P&C Woodcrafts will be on hand, offering a full line of furniture and custom woodturning. He hopes to have toys available at some point.

Some other attractions will be the Edgemaster – John Heidt’s mobile knife sharpening service – The Honey Depot and a vendor offering balsamic vinegars and cooking wines.

When the crops came in last year, Dunbar said, “we had pretty much anything and everything: Berries, marions, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, corn apples, peaches, hot peppers.”

A vendor from Scotts Mills is expected to bring in between six and eight different varieties of apples.

And if there’s something missing, Dunbar wants you to tell him.

“All they need to do is get with me and put in a request of something they’d like to see,” Dunbar said.

Other attractions throughout the year – although not yet confirmed – may be embroidery and radio control car demonstrations.

And if you’re having trouble keeping track of all this, just visit within the next couple of weeks. The site will be launched with a list of vendors and links to their own websites.

Park is a bonafide birdland

Of the Keizertimes

Since its inception, Keizer Rapids Park has gotten an amphitheatre, miles of trails and even a dog park.

The birds were there before. But soon the park will be getting significant recognition for its ornithological diversity.

Joel Geier, a project coordinator for the Willamette Valley Birding Trail, said Keizer Rapids Park will be added to its next map as an officially-endorsed designation.

Geier was there last Wednesday, May 5, as part of a National Park Service tour of the park.

The Western tanager, shown above, is a species that can be spotted at Keizer Rapids Park. Photo courtesy

“What I noticed being there was actually what I heard,” Geier said. “When you’re in the forest you’ll hear  lot of bird songs, which happens in that kind of habitat – a multi-layered high canopy forest.”

The gravel bar on the Willamette River will likely be of the most interest to birdwatchers, Geier said. Among the more spectacular bird species there are the bright-yellow Western tanager, and he said the black-headed grosbeak makes itself known.

“It’s extremely loud when it sings,” Geier said.

Councilor Richard Walsh, who has championed the park for almost a decade, said such a designation has tangible benefits. According to the federal Departments of Commerce and the Interior, some 23 million people are active birdwatchers, going away from home to do so. In addition, their statistics show a birdwatcher spends an average of $37 per day on trip spending, and the industry contributes $45.7 billion per year overall.

“That’s important because, along with Keizer Compass, the vision is we’re trying to bring tourism to Keizer,” Walsh said. “And the birding industry is one of the fastest-growing recreational industries out there.”

Earning praise

Keizer Rapids Park has become something of an example “of how to do it right,” Walsh said, when it comes to federal assistance with local parks.

Last week officials from the NPS from the Pacific West region – which includes California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada – stopped by the park.

The National Park Service contributed some $250,000 from its Land and Water Conservation Fund for the park, and provided architects for a community charette, where attendees told officials what they wanted in the park.