Talent holds Friday growers market

TALENT — Rebuffed in attempts to get a Saturday market for their town, organizers have created a Friday evening growers market tied into "Evening on the Commons," a city-sponsored concert series.

The market will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the space between the new City Hall and the library every Friday through September. The market kicked off Friday.

"It was great seeing all the local people around. It was a good evening for the small town of Talent," recalled Aaron DeSilva of Rising Sun Farms, which sold cheese tortas at the market and plans to return. "I definitely see it getting bigger and bigger."

Despite triple-digit temperatures, there were 18 booths and a good turnout of people who shopped, visited and listened to the music of Monk.

"It's a nice option for people who can't make the Tuesday and Thursday morning markets" in Ashland and Medford, said Cynthia Moscaritolo, one of the organizers. She was inspired by a Thursday evening street fair held in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

"What makes it unique is they have music and entertainment there," said Susan Muller of Rogue Valley Brambles. She sold raspberries, eggs and olive oil and will be back.

"We made a proposal to (Rogue Valley) Growers Market to get a Saturday market in Talent. We had great support from the city," said Sharon Anderson, who worked on the effort. "They obviously preferred Ashland, and that's where it ended up."

Anderson and others saw the city concert series, that started July 11, as an opportunity and teamed with Moscaritolo. City officials are not charging a fee since the effort is on a trial basis, but they do require site cleanup. No fees are charged to vendors.

Among the vendors last week were three growers who are regulars at other markets, three home gardeners with produce to sell and a children-run produce booth. Other booths included a book vendor, a body and bath supply dealer, food vendors and artisans. A face painter and a juggler also entertained.

"It was very hot, but we had a good turnout and I had good business come from it," said Tika Weeks, who operates Barefoot Books, which offers children's literature over the Internet. "I thought it went well for the first time. To be able to get a booth for free was a huge, huge thing for me and it's advertising as well."

Music will be featured at all the markets, Anderson said. Montana Soul will appear Friday. A market won't be held Sept. 12, Harvest Festival weekend.

Space reservations can be made with Anderson at 535-9055 or Moscaritolo at Cynthia@vmeng.com.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.

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