Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon

To market, to market, jiggety jig


I confess I couldn’t tell you the last time I visited our local farmer’s market on the Oregon Coast. I did make it to a handful out of town for a story last year, but in terms of visiting just for the pleasure of wandering from vendor to vendor to enjoy the food, sample the wine and admire the art, I’ve been completely negligent. Yet, the first place on my itinerary after landing in Vancouver, British Columbia, last week (True confession #2: In the 19 years I’ve been here on the Coast, this was my first visit) was the Granville Island Market. It was Easter Monday, pouring rain — and yes, I did feel right at home — but friends told me I had to go to the market and I boarded the water taxi intent on spending time in this touted place of local art and food.

The chocolate submarine that got away at Granville Island Market. Photo: Lori Tobias

It did not disappoint. I agonized over the decision to purchase of a pair of earrings made from Woolly Mammoth tusks, but well aware of the dent the trip was putting in my bank account, I passed, opting instead for a little box of handcrafted chocolates, almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. Outside the market, I dipped in and out of boutiques, where I found a stained glass crow I couldn’t resist. We’ve had bald eagles behind our house, and it’s the crows that signal us to get our small dogs to safety. I returned to my hotel room, patting myself on the back for my spending restraint – then days later, returned to the Island to buy a gorgeous wallet with art by First Nations artist Maxine Noel, and a gift for a friend.

Totems in Stanley Park, the great urban park in Vancouver, B.C. Photo: Lori Tobias

Another day, after hours strolling Stanley Park, I jumped on the sea bus for the Lonsdale Quay Market, and, because I’d been so well-behaved spending-wise, set out to find that one something I couldn’t resist. That something turned out to be phone cases with the most adorable renderings by a local artist of nature and animals. After much hemming and hawing – the pink swan? the blue-nosed rabbit? itty bitty mouse? – I decided it had to be the big-eyed owl, more owlet than owlish.

And so I returned home to the Coast, bags a little heavier, bank account a little lighter. Nonetheless, I smile every time I meet the owlet’s eyes or open my mostly empty wallet with the polar bear scene. Even better, I get the satisfaction of knowing I supported local artists. My only regret is that I didn’t buy more chocolate.

From the market: a polar bear wallet, “Mother Winter” or “Mere Hiver,” by First Nations artist Maxine Noel

I am reminded, also, that we have an array of local markets right here on the Coast, and ’tis the season when they are opening up or moving back outside, the perfect excuse to ditch the office and wander the great artdoors.

Here, a quick look at where you can do the same in on the Coast:



Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon

More than 100 vendors fill blocks of Astoria’s city streets to showcase all manner of goods every Sunday at the Astoria Farmers Market from May through October. All products are hand-crafted, grown, created or gathered by the farmers, craftspeople and artisans of the area. The market opens for the season on May 12. Get your own 2019 Market Guide Flipbook here.


The Roll & Bowl at Seaside Market.

The Cannon Beach Farmers Market opens June 11 and is held every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 24. Just a few miles south, you’ll find the Seaside Market happening Wednesday afternoons, June 19 through Sept. 25.

Neskowin Farmers Market opens its sixth season on June 17th, celebrating local art and food every Sunday through Sept. 30.

The Tillamook Farmers Market starts back up June 1 and runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 pm. On the corner of Laurel Avenue and Second Street, you’ll find locally grown produce, hand-made and artisan gifts, baked goods, live music and activities for kids.


Snack break at the Lincoln City Farmers and Crafters Market.

The Lincoln City Farmers and Crafters Market has been up and going since March, showcasing 65 local produce growers, farmers, bakers, wineries, creameries, artisan foods and one of a kind expertly handcrafted items.


Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon

And after its cool-season run indoors, Newport Farmers Market moves outdoors again on May 11 to the downtown corner of Angle and Highway 101. Every Saturday, more than sixty vendors will offer seasonal produce, art, fresh flowers, nursery plants, jewelry, photography, fresh pasties, honey, salsas, coffee, crafts. There’s live music and a hot food court, too.


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Photo Joe Cantrell

Lori Tobias is a journalist of many years, and was a staff writer for The Oregonian for more than a decade, and a columnist and features writer for the Rocky Mountain News. Her memoir “Storm Beat – A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast” was published in 2020 by Oregon State University press. She is also the author of the novel Wander, winner of the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Award for literary fiction and a finalist for the 2017 International Book Awards for new fiction. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Chan and rescue pup Gus.

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