Farmers market takes off

Gwen Pedro, left, and Gayle Benthin, show a customer their monster cookies at the Pilot Rock farmers market. Benthin made the baby clothes and pillow cases in the foreground. <BR><I>Staff photo by Samantha Bates</I>

The lot behind Rocket Espresso was buzzing with activity Monday evening as Pilot Rock's weekly farmers market got under way.

Yes, Pilot Rock has a farmers market.

It started May 11.

It happens on Monday evenings from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Shelbey Wait, one of the organizers, said the market started with about six vendors, but had grown to 15 this week. There's no charge to set up a booth for this first year, Wait said.

Wait makes and sells bread at the market. She and co-founders Jim and Nancy Hinkle, who own Rocket Espresso, chose Mondays because that's the night restaurants are closed in town.

Also, they didn't want to compete with Pendleton's farmers market on Fridays or Hermiston's on Saturdays.

"It's fun," Wait said, "a social gathering."

Wait and Nancy Hinkle have been working to get vendors interested and have been putting up posters to let people know about the market.

Booth operators Penny Whitehall and her daughter, Jamie, found the Pilot Rock market easy to transition to after selling their jewelry and wood-burned artwork at other events, such as summer festivals.

Gwen and Joe Pedro, along with friend Gayle Benthin, had another booth. Gwen brought baked goods and pickled asparagus, Joe brought wooden bowls and picture frames and Benthin brought baby clothes, pillow cases and pot holders she'd made. Gwen said the Hinkles contacted her because they knew she did things like baking.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the Pilot Rock farmers market can call Nancy Hinkle at 541-377-7625 or 541-377-1950, or they can call Wait at 541-561-0467.

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