July 23rd, 2021

Shop the Downtown McMinnville Farmers Market like a local

It’s impossible to capture the entire farmers market in a single picture.
It extends to another block and around the corner to a parking lot.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more magical place on a Thursday afternoon in McMinnville than our local downtown farmers market. A pillar of our Thursdays for over 20 years, it’s so much more than a place to stop for produce.  Whether you are staying in a vacation rental for the weekend and plan on cooking your meals in, are planning a picnic for your biking adventure, or are just wanting a few snacks or local gifts to take back home, the McMinnville Downtown Farmers Market is a MUST stop on your next visit.

First: If you want the true local experience, try to get to the market close to the opening bell at noon. As you meander through the booths, getting a glimpse at fresh peaches, figs, berries, macrame, pickles, hot sauce and more, you’ll see a line starting to form outside of the Bodhi Bakery tent. Don’t question it for a moment, just get in the line. I promise you will not regret you did. Though it may take 15 minutes or so to get to the front (which is why you should stop here first before your arms, bags, or bicycle baskets are full of other market treats), you’ll be thankful you stopped.  Even if you aren’t in a place to take home one of their special sour-dough loaves (that make the most scrumptious BLT’s, or pair amazingly well with another market favorite Alchemist Jam) you will surely enjoy a morning bun – a croissant dough pastry rolled in super fine sugar – with you first cup of coffee on Friday morning, or perhaps you need a ham and cheese pastry to nibble on while you browse the rest of the market.

Next: Do a lap. You’ll be greeted with smiles, but you’ll also be getting a delicious preview of your next dining-out experience in McMinnville. Whether it is the perfectly ripe peaches you might find on a pizza, some of the most coveted salad greens in the valley, or brunch specials involving zucchini, shishito peppers, or a myriad of the other things currently in season, a stroll through the farmers market ensures you are getting a genuine farm to table experience while you are here. Think of a trip to the market as the most delightful foreshadowing of what your weekend has in store.

For those who are traveling or not necessarily on the hunt for produce or snacks, the Farmers Market is still a must stop on the itinerary for carry-on friendly take-homes and gifts.

  • Free Wild She makes amazing teas and bitters. (Think outside the box. Aromatic bitters in your morning iced coffee is an unexpected delight.)
Shandrea, owner of Free Wild She, finishes up a macrame piece at her booth.
  • Alchemist Jam: Award winning flavors like Raspberry Rosehip Cardamom are sure to make your mouth water.  Available in regular or small sized jars, perfect for packing light, or maybe for spreading on a crusty baguette before happy hour.
Don’t even try to narrow it down to one flavor; take home three to get a special deal!
  • Get the supplies you need to stay hydrated: If you are anything like me, I never drink enough water when I’m traveling. I’ve found the solution is to make myself “spa water.” Pick up fresh berries, herbs, a cucumber, nectarines, or other in-season items to add to your water bottle for a refreshing and vibrant infusion of flavor.
  • Eat lunch at the market: Arguably the best burger in town can be found from the Renegade Food Truck. Also, you want the smashed potatoes… trust me.  Another favorite is La Casa Del Taco: I like to get a veggie & chicken quesadilla, and yes you do want the salsa and sour cream.   (Local Tip: Take your food to go and walk a block down to The Bitter Monk for a beer or kombucha to accompany your meal.)
Plan ahead: If you’re grabbing lunch between noon and 1:30 or 2, there’s likely to be a line (but it’s so worth the wait!).
Got questions? Great! The folks at Whole Circle Farms love to help you find the perfect remedy.

Finally: With the Dine Out(Side) extending to Thursday evenings for the rest of the season, why not add on the full alfresco experience to your weekend? Browse the market, have an amazing lunch, wander downtown, dine out, and bask in that McMinnville Summer glow.

Tayler Brisbin  is a wordsmith, yoga teacher and creativity enthusiast. Her love affair with McMinnville began in 2003, and she has spent the last 18 years here savoring life in this community.