Farmers Market now indoors at Armory

The South Valley Farmers Market has become the winter market, each Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Cottage Grove Armory.

The South Valley Farmers Market has moved indoors for the winter, occupying the Cottage Grove Armory for its fourth year running.

The winter market, which sets up every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. with the exception of Nov. 30, will run until Dec. 21.

As well as the familiar selection of local goods and crafts, the market’s organizers want to bring engagement and entertainment to its winter iteration.

“We’re working to fill each Saturday with kids’ activities and we want to bring in more music,” said Karen Bentson, a board member with the nonprofit market. “We’re actually looking for musicians — particularly acoustic musicians.”

A music performance is currently planned for Dec. 7, organized by local nonprofit Music Money 501c3.

The Dec. 7 music event will coincide with the city’s own Christmas celebration and ceremonial tree lighting downtown.

In a collaboration between Main Street Cottage Grove and EcoGeneration, a nonprofit community recycler which receives recycling material at the market, families are invited to bring their children to the Armory on Nov. 23 and Dec. 7 to participate in a luminary project.

Materials will be provided to decorate plastic milk jugs which will be filled with sand, illuminated by tea candles and lined along the streets of downtown from All-America Square to City Hall.

“We have more than enough milk jugs,” said EcoGeneration founder David Gardiepy. “Although if they want to bring milk jugs, we’re not opposed to that, either.”

The milk jug luminaries will be labeled so children can find them and take them home after the event.

EcoGeneration is also asking locals to bring more paper bags as part of a children’s Christmas gift wrapping activity.

While the market’s winter season brings some new activities, many of its staples such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and local produce will still be available.

“We have a really long growing season here,” said Bentson. “A lot of our growers have green houses and cold frames and they continue to have winter crops.”

Between 15 and 20 vendors are expected to regularly fill the space each Saturday, this year with the addition of local craft chocolate maker Sanity Chocolate.

“This is the first time they’ve joined us here and I think they’re going to be here every week,” Bentson said. “So that’s kind of a big deal.”

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