When Portlanders Paul and Lauren Lambert decided to visit Cannon Beach on a beautiful afternoon, they had no idea it was opening day of the Cannon Beach Farmers Market.

“We happened to be driving by; this is an area of town we don’t usually visit,” said Paul Lambert, while their son, Isaiah 4, sampled a product from a booth. “It was a nice little surprise.

“It’s very festive, very fun,” he added.

With a new slogan, several new vendors and a new children’s program, the Cannon Beach Farmers Market is off to a sunny start this year.

Nearly 1,200 people visited the market, which started its eighth season June 16. The market runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sept. 29 at the City Hall parking lot, on the corner of Gower and Hemlock streets in midtown. Music begins and lunch is served by vendors offering prepared food at 1 p.m.

“It’s a perfect place to shop for organic produce,” said market Manager Philomena Lloyd. “Come early, eat lunch, listen to the music and then go shopping.”

This year, 28 vendors, including four booths where prepared food is served, plan to sell at the market. Products range from fresh produce to salad dressing and also include hummus, flowers, fruit, hard cider honey, cheese, pastries, meats and candy.

Several vendors are new to the market this year. Among them are Hello Waffle, selling sweet and savory waffles; Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, providing hand-crafted ciders; Seaside Kombucha, brewing a fermented beverage of black tea and cane sugar; Columbia River Smoked Salmon, caught by local Native American fishermen in the Columbia River; Nature’s Wild Harvest, featuring wild mushrooms; and Sleepy Monk’s cold press coffee, available at the Dough Dough Bakery booth.

Bob Neroni, from EVOO Cannon Beach Cooking School, also will demonstrate how to use products from the market. He will be stationed at the Gales Meadow Farm booth.

“It’s opening day, and opening day is the best day for a farmers market,” said Bill Cole, wild mushroom gatherer and operator of Nature’s Wild Harvest.

“People have been in hibernation all year and they’re ready to come out and shop,” Cole added.

Although this was Cole’s first day at the Cannon Beach market, the Vancouver, Wash. resident sells his wild mushrooms, as well as syrups made from wild berries, at several other markets.

Also new to the market is the Taste of Place booth, operated by the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Miki’ala Souza, nutrition educator for the extension service, whipped up a radish salad, with radishes from Kingfisher Farm, which sells produce at the market. She supplied visitors a taste of the salad, as well as recipes for other radish dishes.

“Hopefully, we’re inspiring people to cook for themselves,” Souza said. “It’s a collaboration between the extension service and the farmers. The farmers are selling the produce, and we’re using what they have and getting new ideas for recipes.”

A new slogan, “Between the Rock and a chard place,” tells visitors where the market is: between Haystack Rock and local produce stands where the leafy green vegetable is sold. Submitted by Allison Short, who works in Cannon Beach, the slogan won a contest conducted by the Cannon Beach Farmers Market Committee.

“Ultimately, the slogan will be on the next set of T-shirts for the farmers market,” said Lloyd, who picked up the idea at a recent conference. A conference presenter suggested to farmers market managers that they should develop a short phrase that described what made their markets unique. Haystack Rock Cannon Beach’s icon, Lloyd noted.

Lloyd is especially excited about another new offering this year: the Children’s Passport Program. Beginning in July, Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn; his children, Jasmine and Jackson; and Capt. Matt Gardner, of Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue, will conduct activities for kids, ages 5 to 12, to show where their food comes from.

Those involved in the passport program will be given $2 worth of tokens every week to buy food from the vendors. Money for the program will come from a drawing where the prize is a two-night stay at Hallmark Resort. The resort donated the gift in honor of employee Darrel Christians. He and his wife, Margaret, are farmers market volunteers. Tickets for the drawing are being sold for $5 each at the market every week until the drawing, slated for the weekend before Labor Day.

This is Lloyd’s second year as market manager, a part-time position she calls a “dream job” that combines her interest in food and enjoyment of working outdoors. She is assisted by 27 volunteers and a five-member committee, headed by Sandi Lundy. The market is sponsored by the city of Cannon Beach. To volunteer for the market, visit cannonbeachmarket.org

If the other seven seasons are any indication, an average of 1,400 people will visit the market every week, with more than 2,000 per market in July and August. Of those, about 60 percent are local residents, acccording to previous surveys.

With the sun shining, visitors swarming the City Hall parking lot and vendors showing off their products, the market’s opening day pleased Lundy.

“I think we’re off to a real good start this year,” she said.

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