Wandering around the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is one of my favorite things to do in the spring. I know there are others but this particular one has several options which is nice. If you miss one day, you can catch another pretty easily. I am LOVING the new Hawthorne Park location on Thursdays! It has a lot of energy, especially with the playground packed with kids.

8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Ashland Market
National Guard Armory
1420 E. Main Street
March – November
8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Ashland Saturday Market
Oak Street in the Heart of Downtown
May – October
8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Medford Market
Hawthorne Park
501 E. Main St.
March – November
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Medford Saturday Market
The Commons (6th & Bartlett)
May – October

As I combed through these pictures I took on a recent visit, I realized I was more attracted to the vendors who weren't growing anything at all. Whoops. In my defense, I was more than a little hungry. So, although the pics I'm sharing don't reflect it, I should tell you there were plenty, PLENTY of starter plants, worms for composting and all kinds of fresh produce to grow and to buy.

The French inspired Coquette Bakery that features local ingredients is there. The Applegate Valley's Pennington Farms is probably my favorite stop. On my last visit, I grabbed a chicken pot pie turnover AND an apple turnover. I couldn't resist. Rise Up! Artisan Bread's booth is full of their baked wood-fired artisan bread mostly made by hand—the slow way— with organic and local ingredients.

And what's all that gluten goodness without honey and jam? It's hard to pass up pure, local raw honey from Eagle Point's The Oregon Bee Store. In addition to Wild Bee Honey Farm honey, they also have amazing natural beeswax candles from Peace Blossom Candles, fresh local and organic produce, beekeeping supplies, equipment and instruction at their Eagle Point location. And then there's Pennington Farms' jam. Every Christmas I include it in my gift baskets. It reminds me of the jam my grandmother used to make.

Picked yesterday and on your plate today...MUSHROOMS! Mushrooms All Year is based in Phoenix (Oregon). If you go to their website, they have some pretty yummy recipes to try. There's one for Porcini Cream Sauce that would be great over, you guessed it, FRESH PASTA! Out of Jacksonville comes Sherry's Pasta. She has some really unique pastas in addition to the traditional. Sherry also makes pestos, chimichurri and marinara sauces. Ton Ton's Artisan Affections specializes in locally sourced, vegan, organic, non-GMO and gluten-free yumminess—fresh homemade hummus, vegan, grainless gluten-free cookies and chickpea snackers. Hummus is one of those quick go-to foods for me when I'm in a rush but want something healthy.

This next booth seduces you in with its aroma. Roasting organic, small batch coffee in Ashland for over 12 years, Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters is normally roasting between 12 and 15 different single origin coffees from around the world. They were also a pioneer selling cold brew in Oregon.

After my belly was satisfied, I was able to appreciate the fine work of the valley's crafters—treasures for two-legged and four-legged animals of all ages. I'm always drawn to the pottery but I'm also a sucker for anything that has to do with animals. Critter Cubbies has cat scratchers, cat perches, dog ramps, dog stairs, goat/sheep milking stands and stools, bird houses...all kinds of fun stuff! Ashland's Pop-Pop's Children's Furniture Company is a father-daughter business making wooden children's furniture that incorporates animals into many of their products. Their zools—"zoo stools"—are a great example of that. For a fleeting moment, they made me wish I still had little ones.

Tinctures, nutrient-dense microgreens, pretty flowers...these vendors make me feel better just knowing they're there to cure what ails me, enhance my food or brighten my mood. Here in this blog, I was only able to highlight some of the wonderful treats I encountered on my trip to the market but I swear I always walk away with a smile on my face.

There are others in the valley too that I enjoy. A few of them haven't started quite yet:

9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
295 NW F ST, Grants Pass, OR
March 1 - November 22
(First Market: Saturday, May 14)
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Robert Pfaff Park
635 Manzanita Street, Central Point, OR
Open thru October
(First Market: Monday, May 2)
4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sugar Loaf Community Association Land, Williams, OR
Just around the corner from the Williams Grange, second driveway on the right off Tetherow Road. This is the road between the Williams General Store and IPark.
Call Sarah 541-846-0776 for more information.
(First Market: Friday, June 3)

5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Across from 110 E. Main Street, Talent, OR
Open thru September 16

We are so blessed to have such access to locally produced foods and artisans! These markets represent the healthy, thriving community where we live.