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Tillamook Coast Life Blog

Manzanita Farmers Market: Showcasing the taste of the Tillamook Coast

This article was originally published in July, 2015 and updated in July, 2018.

The cadence of a hand drum calls out the opening of the Manzanita Farmers Market. The gathered shoppers fan out like a stream, released to the paths between market booths, encircling a cedar tree and down 5th street in Manzanita.

In its 13th season, the Manzanita Farmers Market has expanded to over 50 vendor booths. Stop by on Friday evenings, June through September, from 5pm to 8pm at the intersection of Laneda Avenue and 5th Street.

Live music every week adds to the festivity. Across the market path, young face painters accept donations in exchange for a colorful tiger face or a butterfly on a kid’s cheek.

Lance’s Farm Vittles has pasture-raised lamb, pork, and beef from their 3rd-generation family farm along the Miami Foley Road, and I pick up hamburger for the grill. Piled high at R-Evolution Gardens the onions look like giant pearls from the earth. Yellow summer squash at Green Fork Farm sit like sunshine orbs next to bundles of rainbow carrots.

Around the corner, the Community Supported Fishery is serving up oyster shooters with slices of lemon. Conveniently located across the market path is a booth featuring a rotation of breweries and wineries; this week I sampled a lovely regional white.

A little of everything

The magic of a farmers market is how much fresh, wonderful stuff you can find. You may even discover totally new-to-you produce or flowers! For instance, summer is the perfect time to try exotic honey, beyond the regular clover variety you’d find at the store. Try the sweet stuff made from orange flowers, blackberry blossoms or lavender sourced in-state. Creamed honeys offer a different texture; they’re an out-of-this-world rich spread that can elevate something as simple as morning toast to a memorable meal! Try cinnamon-flavored or peach creamed honey for their flavor and creaminess.

The warmer months also signal a bounty of sweet fruits, aka “nature’s candy”! Through June and July, find tender, yellow-orange apricots, peaches and nectarines ripe enough to bite into right off the farm stand. You can also take them home to make jam or dry them out in the oven for trail mix. And don’t miss the rich variety of berries: boysenberries, marionberries and huckleberries are all unique emblems of the Northwest.

You can also try out farm-fresh and nutritious options that are hard to find on a typical grocery run. Garlic scapes, celeriac, fiddleheads, kohlrabi and nettles are all in season while the farmers market is in session. Embrace foods you haven’t tried before and look up instructions online for how to handle, clean and prepare them. Talking to the farmers selling them is a great first step! The folks who grow this stuff know what they are talking about and are happy to share their knowledge with curious customers.

Musical guests

The Manzanita Farmers Market gives a number of talented artists a platform. This market prides itself on featuring a different musician or band each week. Past talent has included a pan flautist from the region, a one-man didgeridoo band and a traveling blues duo!

The market strives to be earth-friendly and close to zero waste

All prepared food at the market is served on reusable dishes and real silverware. When done with your plate, visit the recycling corner where a Farmers Market volunteer makes the process smooth and tidy.

A Picture of Emily Vollmer
Emily Vollmer
Emily Renee Vollmer has farmed, studied, and taught in the field of sustainable agriculture for the past 15 years. Her work in Tillamook County has focused on providing support for local diversified farms. She’s also a fresh-cut flower grower and floral designer, and finds delight in dancing, cooking with friends and playing in the ocean. Emily Renee lives in Nehalem and calls the Oregon Coast home.