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News / Business / Clark County Business

‘Almost romantic vibe’: East Vancouver Farmers Market open for the season

The East Vancouver Farmers Market has been going for years now. What's it like?

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 20, 2024, 3:40pm
6 Photos
Thai Lee, left, and wife Bao Vang of Mountain View Farm display bouquets of colorful flowers for customers at the East Vancouver Farmers Market on Thursday morning.
Thai Lee, left, and wife Bao Vang of Mountain View Farm display bouquets of colorful flowers for customers at the East Vancouver Farmers Market on Thursday morning. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

After 10 years, the East Vancouver Farmers Market has gained a following among the city’s east-side residents looking to grab a few market items and play at the nearby Columbia Tech Center Park.

While the downtown weekend market is huge with more shoppers, vendors and products, the weekly market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays in east Vancouver “is smaller and just has this really calm, almost romantic vibe to it,” said Market Manager Kate Reudink.

With shady trees and blooming lavender lining the market path leading to live music at 17701 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., it’s easy to understand why someone might describe the scene as romantic, especially on a sunny day.

Reudink said the environment is more leisurely but the market still has a good selection. It’s a great alternative for those avoiding the big crowds at the downtown market.

If You Go

What: East Vancouver Farmers Market

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays through September

Where: 17701 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver

Information: www.vancouverfarmersmarket.com

About 850 people visited the Thursday market each week on average last year, compared with 4,000 to 8,000 per weekend in the summer at the downtown market. This year, the weekly average at the east-side market has been around 950.

The east Vancouver market struggled for the first couple of years, said Stephanie Clark, director of partnerships and programs at Vancouver Farmers Market.

“We started out here in East Vancouver when there was almost nothing here,” Clark said.

The original market ran in the evenings, and Clark had a tough time finding even a dozen vendors to come. Those that did come saw few customers.

Clark’s team did some market research and decided to change the hours to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and run the market primarily when kids were out of school.

Now it draws retirees, people who work from home, young families and caregivers with children.

“We actually have almost the same participation at this market in our kids programming that we do downtown,” Clark said.

The market sits amid Columbia Tech Center, a verdant business park that serves as the headquarters for PeachHealth and houses many other businesses from a variety of industries. Several local businesses encourage employees to attend, Clark said.

Immediately adjacent to the expansive park are two apartment buildings and an extended stay hotel.

Khloe White popped by the market Thursday morning while staying at the hotel. Iced coffee in hand, the Seattle-area woman praised the market’s fresh food and flowers.

“It reminds me of back home,” White said.

Jocelyn and Will Stauffer sell their Windy River Livestock products at both the downtown and east Vancouver markets.

Some vendors have more sales at the east Vancouver market than the downtown one, although that’s not the case for Windy River Livestock, which has seen sales decline, despite market attendance increasing.

Joceyln Stauffer says the business is still profitable even though they don’t come every week.

“We have high hopes every year,” Jocelyn Stauffer said. “It’s a great little market.”

Forty-six vendors are participating in the market this year, 40 of which returned from last year. The downtown market has about 175 vendors in the summer months.

Vendors include those selling fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, prepared foods such as hummus, ready-to-eat lunch options and handmade artisan goods.

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Krissy Kadri runs Amilkar Hummus. She also operates at both the downtown and East Vancouver market.

Kadri said the east Vancouver market is smaller and more tight knit than the downtown market.

Expanding their customer base to the east side of the city means nearby customers or those who might struggle with the crowds can pop by to stock up on her hummus.

The East Vancouver market has live music scheduled nearly every market day this year. It will run through September.

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This year the market also introduced a punch card, offering a reward to those who fill their punch cards with purchases from the market.

“It’s really different than downtown and both are great in their own ways,” Clark said.