Salem is months away from prime farmers market weather, but Kirsten Bachmeier isn’t letting the rainy days slow her plans.
The new executive director of Salem Community Markets is adding a fourth farmers market to Salem and expanding the footprint of the signature Saturday Market as the nonprofit prepares for its 25th season.
This year, Salemites will be able to buy produce, plant starts and other wares on Wednesday evenings at the Chemeketa Community College agricultural complex. Bachmeier said people at the college approached her about the idea in October.
“They have a lot going on at their agricultural center so I’m excited to see what they produce,” she said.
The new market will give the college’s horticulture and agriculture programs a chance to sell their products, as well as bringing in outside vendors. It opens May 3 and will run from 3-7 p.m.
Like Salem’s other weekday markets, the Chemeketa addition will be smaller. So far, about six vendors have signed up.
Weekday markets will also continue at Salem Hospital on Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and along Northwest Edgewater Street in west Salem on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m.
Bachmeier said the evening markets are geared toward people who might stop by on the way home from work and pick up something for dinner. Though they have fewer vendors than Saturday, they aim to offer a variety of foods, including fruit, vegetables, meat and baked goods.
Salem’s signature Saturday Market will return March 4, the third year it’s opened in March.
The state of Oregon is repaving the parking lot where the market takes place at 856 Marion St. N.E.
Bachmeier said that will change the market layout and allow it to grow. She’s expecting to have about 300 vendors sign up for the season, which runs through October, though many don’t attend every week.
Bachmeier worked as market manager starting last April and took the helm of Salem Community Markets in June after longtime executive director Lisa Sherman stepped down.
A California native, Bachmeier moved to Salem about a year ago and said she grew up attending the Santa Barbara farmers market, which had a huge variety of local items available.
Bachmeier said she appreciates the size and variety of Salem’s market, which includes agricultural products like plant starts, honey and produce, as well as jewelry, crafts, baked goods and prepared foods.
“It’s just a passion of mine to create a place where community members can come find all of that in one place,” she said.
The variety of Oregon berries available was new to her last season and a highlight compared to California.
“The marionberry was pretty delicious,” she said.Salem Community Markets is now hiring a market manager and coordinators for the 2023 season and taking vendor applications for all four of its weekly markets. Vendor information and applications are available on the website. Those interested in the manager and coordinator positions can email [email protected] for more information.
Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.
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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.