PENDLETON — The 2022 Pendleton Farmers Market opens for business Friday, May 13, a week later than it planned.
The market operates on the 300 block of South Main Street in downtown Pendleton. The volunteer-run nonprofit operates 4-7 p.m. on Fridays from May to October. The open-air market is closed only on the Friday of Round-Up week. Masks are not required this year.
The market was scheduled to open on May 6, but was cancelled due to a thunderstorm. Vendors sell produce, eggs, baked goods, crafts and other products. Live music at the market is common.
Cheryl Montgomery manages the Pendleton Farmers Market and described how the market weathered the pandemic.
“In 2020 we were able to still operate at a different location, the former Elks Lodge, now Electric Sundown,” she said. “The owner (Lance Leonnig) graciously offered his parking lot. We were still able to operate as farmers markets were considered an essential business.”
Montgomery rated that year “respectable” for the market financially, with mixed comments from shoppers about the temporary location.
“The pandemic did affect our vendors and shoppers, just like everywhere else,” she added, “as we had to modify how we operated with sanitation and social distancing put into practice.”
In 2021 the market was able to return to downtown. Normal operations resumed among the outdoor pod seating, which enhanced the social atmosphere.
“Looking at this year, we have returning and new vendors scheduled,” she concluded, “so come down to the market.”
The market participates in Oregon’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. It uses a wireless terminal to transmit transactions from a SNAP recipient’s Oregon Trail swipe card. Small $1 wooden tokens are issued to recipients to purchase fresh produce, vegetable starts and packaged bakery items. Vendors collect the tokens at the end of the market and return them to staff for reimbursement in cash the same day.
SNAP tokens are $1, with no minimum purchase or surcharge. Customers can spend the tokens only at the Pendleton Farmers Market. They can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, beans, herbs, vegetable starts and packaged bakery items. There is no expiration date on the wooden tokens.
The Double Up Food Bucks program of Oregon’s Farmers Market Fund provides a match of up to $20. The program gives recipients who spend 20 SNAP dollars at a participating farmers market another $20 to buy more locally grown produce.