PENDLETON — The Pendleton Farmers Market was recently recognized for excellence — receiving the 2020 Oregon Farmers Market Association award as the outstanding Small or Rural Market of the Year.
Hal McCune, Pendleton Farmers Market president, accepted the award during the OFMA annual meeting, which was held Feb. 21 in Corvallis. McCune said the statewide association provides support to 106 farmers markets across the state, including about 45 that fall into the “small or rural” category. The award recognizes the market’s efforts in supporting local agriculture and healthy communities.
“We are grateful for the vendors and patrons who make the Pendleton Farmers Market what it is, a great community gathering place that provides fresh, top-quality produce and homemade crafts in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere,” McCune said in a written statement. “This award honors all the people who make the market happen each week and the many people who show up and support our vendors.”
Angie Treadwell, SNAP-Ed program coordinator through the Oregon State University Extension-Umatilla and Morrow Counties, submitted the nomination, highlighting the market’s efforts in developing partnerships to benefit the community. She said working with OSU Extension, the Umatilla-Morrow Head Start/WIC programs and the Umatilla County Health Department to secure grant funding and fundraising efforts has resulted in the ability to offer a SNAP match program of up to $15 each week at the market. In 2019, Treadwell said the program matched $4,000, which facilitated access to produce for families with limited incomes.
“The Pendleton Farmers Market is deeply committed to providing all community members with equitable access to fresh, local, health-promoting produce,” Treadwell wrote in nominating the local market.
Treadwell also applauded the market’s efforts in creating a welcoming atmosphere that helps in strengthening individual and community connections. She praised community partners who rotate through a mobile kitchen each week, which was purchased by the PFM to offer space for nutrition education and food sampling at the market.
“Community members get a chance to try unfamiliar produce and get ideas for tasty ways to prepare local produce in their homes,” Treadwell said.
The Pendleton Farmers Market season runs from May through October. It’s open each Friday from 4 p.m. until dusk on Pendleton’s Main Street. In addition to offering top quality locally grown produce and homemade crafts, it features a food-sampling kitchen, kids’ activities and live music.
The market typically has 30-50 vendors, depending on the time of year, and each market attracts an average of around 2,000 visitors. Also, the total vendor revenue is close to $300,000 each season. The market is entering its 18th season this year.