Franklin Street Farmers Market debuts in downtown Vancouver

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

Published:

 
Photo Gallery

If you go

• What: Franklin Street Farmers Market

• When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 30

• Where: Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver

Stephanie Legg spent her lunch break Wednesday grabbing some recently picked berries, local goat cheese and fresh roasted nuts. She doesn’t typically do much shopping at farmers markets, but when a market pops up on your doorstep, it’s hard to pass it up.

The new Franklin Street Farmers Market debuted Wednesday afternoon in the plaza outside the Clark County Public Service Center — right next door to Legg’s office at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s a great idea.”

About a dozen vendors offering a variety of local goods — including fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, coffee, hot sauces, cheeses, milk, eggs and meat — set up stands at the new farmers market. All of the vendors are familiar to local market shoppers — they all take part in the Vancouver and Salmon Creek farmers markets — and nearly all are located in Clark County.

The market will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through August. And, if all goes well, organizers will bring the market back next year, said Jordan Boldt, Vancouver Farmers Market executive director.

The Franklin Street market is a collaboration between the Vancouver market, the Salmon Creek Farmers’ Market and Clark County. The Vancouver market had a long-term vision of adding a midweek, lunchtime market, but making that plan a reality was likely still a few years out, Boldt said.

That is until Scot Brantley with Clark County Public Works started lobbying for a market a few weeks ago. Brantley, who is a member of the county’s wellness committee, saw a presentation about the Salmon Creek market and approached its organizer, Ann Foster, and Boldt about bringing vendors to the Vancouver government district.

“I’ve always had a vision of having a market downtown,” Brantley said.

The goal, he said, was to provide the employees working at the county and other downtown Vancouver businesses — as well as the residents in nearby low-income and senior living complexes — with fresh, healthy foods.

‘Pleasantly surprised’

Planning for the market started right away, but Brantley never expected to see the market kick off this summer. And he certainly didn’t expect to see a line of people waiting to shop when the market opened at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” he said.

Vendors were also surprised by the turnout.

“I think people are excited to have something for them,” said Theresa Jones of NW Nut. An hour into the market, Jones had already sold out of toffee and had a steady stream of shoppers sampling and purchasing sweet and spicy varieties of almonds and walnuts.

Fred Thomas, owner of Fred’s House of the Rising Buns Bakery, had to call back to the bakery for more scones, bread and cookies by noon. The turnout for a market debut was phenomenal, he said.

“I way underestimated it,” Thomas said. “I could have doubled it.”

Marian Croteau, who works in Clark County’s information technology department, checked out the market with her daughter, Melissa Thomas-Croteau, who was vising from San Francisco. The pair sampled goat cheese and picked up bottles of hot sauce and pieces of fragrant lavender.

“It’s a nice way to bring the community together,” Thomas-Croteau said.

Her mom agreed.

“I think it’s awesome,” Croteau said. “I’m very happy to see this.”