Southern Oregon Journal: Grower’s market faithful are a hardy lot

My curiosity bone got to throbbing this morning when I noticed the temperature, black clouds and feisty wind conspiring against all outdoor activities.

Being Thursday, I wondered just how many crazy Grower’s Market sellers would set up a tent in weather like this and stick around until closing time at 1:30. Plus, would one lone park pigeon and I be the only wanderers through? There seemed only one way to find out.

I grabbed my umbrella with the dog-head handle in case of a deluge and made it to Hawthorne Park by about noon. By then the thermometer had risen to a toasty 47 degrees plus wind chill. The sun emerged, so I left the dog-headed brolly behind.

It looked like about the same number of booths I’d seen a couple weeks ago, and I was impressed. The Grower’s Market is a great place to go when you’re hungry. My mouth watered from the aroma of handmade fresh tamales from Tamales Rosa Maria, owned and run by a Grants Pass couple.

One man of obvious experience represented B&B Gardens. He sat wrapped in a colorful Pendleton jacket, beneath a patio umbrella, a bit meager for the circumstances, I thought. His smile warranted a cheering visit at the least. He sold plants — daffodils, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and other lovely green growing things, which all cowered when they saw me approach.

Grower’s Market scuttlebutt is that Peggy’s gardening skills prove detrimental to plants. This is not entirely true, but it’s difficult to squelch ugly rumors once they take flight within such a tight community. The friendly gentleman’s name was Ed Brett, and a more congenial cold person I’ve yet to meet.

“We always have to call the day before and let them know we’re coming or not coming. I just decided I was coming. Silly me. I was just this side of an icicle this morning.”

As we admired Ed’s fawn lily, a woman arrived on the scene who had one. The two continued the discussion as I moved on to Heavenly Fire Salsa. I reasoned that if anyone here stood to be resisting the cold bite of a spring storm it would be Mark Anderson, the salsa man who is celebrating three years at the market. Mark warmed me to his product.

“We have an artisan crafted, premium salsa that is all natural. No sugar, gluten free, non-GMO and no artificial preservatives. The real secret to our salsa is, as good as it is on a chip, (it was smoky good) it’s even better when you cook with it.”

You can check out their delicious-sounding recipes at www.heavenlyfiresalsa.com.

I couldn’t resist stopping to meet Lily and Bodie, the Welsh terriers, who had come from the vet and were getting lots of pats while walking their human, Ashley.

Feeling right at home with a squall, fisherman Trevor Michel had blown in from Charleston with a load of canned, fresh, troll-caught albacore, product of the fishing vessel Roma. He took orders for whole fresh fish, as well, and judging by the number of names on his list, Grower’s Market shoppers are fans of seafood. Delivery is available.

Before leaving, I downed a free sample of coffee from Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters, which hit the spot. The mini-donut people would have made an ideal pairing, but I kept my distance. I’ve learned how addictive those can be.

I didn’t go on a buying spree but wanted to highlight a few of the faithful who brave weather extremes so that we can be assured of product availability. I appreciate that we can trust them to be there, rain or shine.

Don’t allow a little weather to keep you from supporting these hard-working local suppliers. Every week is vital to their livelihood. They believe in their products, and have much to offer.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.

Share This Story