Wavra Farms opens winter farmers market in Salem

Diane Wavra wanted to keep her greenhouse bustling in the winter — typically the slow season for nursery and garden businesses.

Her southeast Salem farm is now home to a winter farmers market, with a rotating selection of vendors selling fresh apples, coffee, jewelry, art, smoked fish and more.

“When the other markets run out in the summer, there’s nowhere for them to go,” Wavra said.

She thought the Wavra Farms greenhouse would be ideal as a covered, warm location that’s paved, making it easier for people with mobility aids and strollers to traverse.

Wavra’s Indoor Winter Market runs every Saturday through March 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the farm, 7882 Jordan St. S.E. It’s off Highway 22 just southeast of Salem.

Apples for sale at the Wavra Farms Indoor Winter Market on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

She charges vendors a fee, which allows her to stay open and covers costs like having portable toilets on-site.

The market started in October and a typical weekend draws about 375 customers, she said. 

She has space for 32 vendors each weekend, who rotate week to week to keep things varied, with about 10 staying on. A list of participating vendors and their dates is on the Wavra Farms website.

“Every time you come to the market it’s a different scene, different vendors,” Wavra said.

It’s the second winter farmers market that’s opened in Salem this year. Several prepared food vendors worked to start a market at the 45th Parallel building in northeast Salem, also wanting to give regular farmers market vendors a place to go during the off-season.

Wavra said people want to get out of the house to do something fun, but there are fewer options available in the winter.

“People are social,” she said. “People want to get out, people aren’t going to malls any more.”

Several vendors are offering workshops or classes as part of the season. On Jan. 20, traveling art company We Make Art will hold a workshop making ink coaster tiles. A December class focused on making festive table centerpieces.

Wavra Farms is in its 24th season, growing from a small garden store to a larger farm and nursery. Wavra said she enjoys being able to connect people to gardening.

“It makes a lot of people happy,” she said.

Diane Wavra rings up a customer at Wavra Farms greenhouse on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023. The farm is hosting an indoor winter market until March (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

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.