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Farmers’ Market now ‘Sell Anything Night’

Staff writer

Homemade, homegrown, and home-baked goods are rarities at the weekly Hillsboro Farmers’ Market — so much so that the Chamber of Commerce has now declared every farmers’ market “Sell Anything Night” with hopes to encourage more people to sell and purchase goods.

But when Thursday’s farmers’ market filled Memorial Park with customers, it wasn’t for new offerings like Tupperware or garage sale odds and ends. It was for the food, just not homegrown tomatoes or homemade breads.

Rather, so many locals came for the fajitas fundraiser by Alexanderfeld Mennonite Church’s youth group that the church had to bring out more tables and chairs.

“I think most of us just come for the food and to support the fundraisers,” said Jon Wiebe, a frequent farmers’ market attendee.

Verlenia Hall, Chamber office manager, said she had noticed a drop in attendance, but she is hopeful more community members will spend their Thursday evenings out in the park.

“We’ve had a really low amount of vendors over the past few years,” she said. “The Chamber board made a decision to open it up and it’s really helped on our vendor amount — not really tonight — it just kind of depends on the week.”

The board made the decision about one month ago to make every week, rather than just the last week of every month, Sell Anything Night.

Since then, Hall said she has noticed 2-3 more vendors at the market, including LuLaRoe clothing. Vendors must provide their own tables and chairs, but there is no registration fee to sell any type of goods at the market.

“I think it’s had a really positive reaction,” Hall said. “I haven’t had anyone tell me they don’t like it. I think it gives a little bit more shopping for people when they’re down here.”

On Thursday, only three vendors attended, and all were homemade, homegrown, and home-baked goods.

Jenny Lind of Lind Family Farms has been selling fresh produce at the farmers’ market with her husband for about five years. She said she was happy to hear that every Thursday is now Sell Anything Night.

Over the last three weeks, Lind said she noticed an increase in customers and sales.

“That’s the only way it can be a farmers’ market,” she said. “I think the more people we can involve the more people it will bring out, and that helps our sales.”

Kathy Jantz, who sells homemade breads, said she has never missed a night since the farmers’ market started. She said attendance had been down for the last couple of years until the last few weeks.

“Tonight’s a really, really good night, and the last couple weeks have been really good too,” she said. “People come for the meals and the fundraisers.”

Jantz said she sees the merit in allowing more vendors to sell each week, but she wants to see produce make up the farmers’ market.

“We’re doing okay here, but I just wish we could get more people with produce here,” Jantz said. “Maybe next year I’ll do a garden because they come here and want some tomatoes and cucumbers, and this year it’s just been slow on that.”

Last modified Aug. 10, 2017

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