Numbers up at farmers’ market

Malheur Nursery’s booth at this summer’s Payette Farmers’ Market was one of those which were conveniently situated for drive-up customers.

PAYETTE — Payette already has one well-established farmers’ market operating one day per week in summer, and for 2019 it appears there will be two weekly markets.

Travis Evanden, the newly hired executive director for the Payette Chamber of Commerce, announced that group’s plan to launch a Saturday farmers’ market at Bancroft Park. The announcement, made at the March 4 meeting of the Payette City Council, didn’t actually become official until the council voted to approve the Chamber’s request to use Bancroft Park. The city government’s approval was unanimous, and also covered the Chamber’s request for use of downtown’s historic style lampposts for a banner and flower basket program.

Evanden said the Chamber’s Saturday farmers’ market season will start June 15 and continue through Sept. 15. Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Councilor Kathy Patrick and Mayor Jeff Williams both cautioned that difficulties could arise while trying to hold the farmers’ market during the September weekend of Cruise Night.

Payette’s existing farmers’ market, operated by Payette Valley Food Connection, typically runs a somewhat shorter season than the one the Chamber has proposed for the weekly Saturday event downtown. The 2018 season for the Tuesday market was July 10 through Aug. 28. During its three years the Tuesday market has had three different sites, but organizers and patrons were most pleased with last year’s location — in a tree-shaded area of Kiwanis Park — and there are no plans to move the Tuesday market yet again.

The Chamber’s lamppost and banners program would draw support from downtown merchants who wanted to “adopt” a lamppost for $100. Evanden said the Chamber hoped the city would help with “installing and watering the flower baskets.”

Payette school students would use the school district’s greenhouse to start the flowers in the baskets. Councilor Kathy Dodson, a downtown business owner who has taken a personal interest in the Chamber project, said that process is already underway.

Banners could “promote events, areas, historic landmarks involving local businesses,” Evanden said.

Councilor Craig Jensen asked Evanden if there would be any advertising or other recognition for a person or business that adopted a lamppost.

“I don’t think the goal is to advertise specific businesses. I think the goal is to advertise the city and city events,” Evanden answered. “One of the ideas would be to highlight some of the historic buildings in town. It would be of great benefit to the business to have a nice lamppost outside their business.”

ROB RUTH  is a reporter at the Independent-Enterprise and Argus Obser-ver. He can be reached at (208) 642-5258 or by emailing robr@ind-ent.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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