South Valley Farmers Market continues into winter season

The South Valley Farmers Market held one of its winter events on Nov. 20 at the Covered Bridge Brewing Group. The next (and last) winter market of the season will be held Dec. 11 at the same location from 11 – 3 p.m.

For its second winter a row, the South Valley Farmers Market is holding its winter market at Covered Bridge Brewing Group. Shoppers last Saturday filtered through the market while taking in live music and food and beverage options on the business side of the event.

“People can come shop, eat, drink and support several local businesses all in one place,” said Covered Bridge Brewing Group co-owner Chrissy Chapman.

For several consecutive years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Valley Farmers Market had found a way to keep running into the winter by setting up in the Cottage Grove Armory.

Last year, public health rules prevented the market from using the Armory, but organizers found a work-around by partnering with Covered Bridge Brewing Group to hold an outside market that complied with state restrictions.

This winter would have seen the market in the Armory if not for scheduling issues in the building, said organizers.

“And then having the food trucks on site is something that everybody wants a market to have,” said Karen Bentson, market organizers and owner of Rocky Point Farm. “But if you’re not a certain scale market, you don’t attract big vendors like that.”

The next and last winter market this season will be on Saturday, Dec. 11 at Covered Bridge Brewing Group from 11 – 3 p.m. After this, the farmers market will not return until at least May.

In the meantime, the winter market has found a symbiotic niche with a business that serves its own brews, coffee, holiday drinks and hosts a line a of food trucks out back. The market lines the side of the building, allowing shoppers to experience a full circuit through the business, dining area and market.

“There’s a lot more going on here where we can just show up and do our pop-up thing,” said Bentson. “I think [Covered Bridge Brewing Group was] excited to use this extra space that they had to kind of foster more of a community event. So, it’s been a really good give-and-take where we’re bringing some of our people here and then at the same time their clientele is getting to visit the market. … We’re both seeing a lot of new faces, so that’s really been a perk.”

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