Corvallis Indoor Winter Market opens Jan. 16

The  7 “dark” weeks without any farmers’ market open in Benton or Linn counties are over!

Jan. 16 is opening day for the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market. It runs every Saturday for 13 weeks from 9 am to 1 pm at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Guerber Hall. With our 32 weeks outdoors, that makes 45 total market weeks in Corvallis.

As you may know, CAFM does not run CIWM. But to us it’s all in the family, and that collaboration extends to the smaller farmers’ markets in Linn County.

This year CIWM is asking customers to park in the large gravel lot south of the Fairgrounds (access it from Reservoir Road) and walk through covered sheds to the new main entrance on the east side of the building.

You might be walking a few feet further, but it will be a calm and dry experience. The large red Arena hosts events most weeks these days, and it’s good to see Fairgrounds facilities well utilized. Yet the combination of an unstriped parking lot, horse trailers and market customer vehicles has become less manageable.

The market will need to do a little re-arranging of outdoor vendors to fit the new entrance, so be sure to look around for your farmers.

CIWM will be getting not one, but two new food programs this season.

First, it will be one of four markets statewide to pilot the new Double Up Food Bucks program where SNAP redemption will be matched up to $10, allowing up to $20 a week in spending. (The DUFB currency is in a $2 denomination, so exact matches occur at even dollar amounts.)

SNAP tokens will still buy everything they have in the past, but these new bonus dollars, which will look like a colorful playing card, can be spent only on fresh, dried, or frozen whole or cut fruits and vegetables without added sugars, fats, oils, or salt — and including mushrooms, herbs, and dried beans. We think even farmers of non-qualifying products will benefit, because SNAP families will have more spending power overall.

 CAFM will have DUFB at the outdoor markets in 2016, and it will largely replace our purple incentive tokens, which we’ll use for special events.

And secondly, Samaritan’s Cancer Resource Center announced plans to run its That’s My Farmer veggie Rx program at the winter market, starting in mid-February. This program also has been operating at outdoor markets — expanding in 2015 from Albany to Corvallis and Lebanon.