By Jennifer M. Nice
McMinnville, situated in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country, offers a memorable daytime outing this winter even when many wineries close or limit their tasting room hours. And you can even taste wine on this excursion. Where, you ask? The McMinnville Public Market, a cozy and amiable Saturday market operating year-round, proffers wine tasting at The Market Wines. Climb on a stool and sip a complex pinot noir or a crisp pinot gris. Wine tasting is just the beginning at the Market….
The McMinnville Public Market boasts the status of Oregon’s only year-round Saturday market. Open every Saturday from 10-4, it will expand to Sundays during the holiday season (November 24-December 22, 2012.) The Market welcomes locals and visitors alike with small-town friendliness and global appeal. Over 40 vendors make their home in the cheery and warm building, constructed specifically for the Market in 2009, in the historic Granary District near fabled downtown 3rd Street.
Farmers, artists, musicians, bakers, and photographers are just a sampling of the artisans displaying their creations. When you enter the market, a smoky aroma of fresh- roasted coffee beans will lead you directly to Mud River Coffee Roasters. No doubt a steamy cup o’joe is just what you’ll need to power through a morning of shopping. As you browse each booth, don’t hesitate to chat with individual vendors. Hearing them passionately discuss their craft is just as much fun as perusing their wares.
Know what else you’ll hear? Live music. Musician Larry Brown grooves on his guitar, crooning folksy-rock throughout the day, amplifying a jubilant mellowness throughout the Market. Buy a CD to take home as your auditory memento of the Market.
No matter what’s on your holiday shopping list, chances are you’ll find that something special among the cheery booths. Several highly skilled woodworkers craft old- fashioned wooden toys, bowls, lamps, even chainsaw art. No custom order is too complicated. The Queen of Green creatively reconstructs fashions according to her motto of “Recycle, Resale, Upcycle.” Books by Claire showcases beautiful, handmade journals. If you love singular, handcrafted jewelry, this is the place. The Public Market features several distinctive jewelry artists. You may not be able to resist picking up a few gifts for yourself!
For inspired gastronomy of the freshest kind, visit Denison Farms for organic produce, Blue Acres for locally grown berries, and Seasonings…and More for wondrous herbs and spices. Tessa’s Menagerie offers pasture-raised chicken. For breads and pastries Great Harvest Bread and gluten-free Be Happy Bakery satisfy. And this is just a start!
Specialty foods include Hot Rocker Salsa, guaranteed to knock your socks off. Visit the Rocker early, as this popular salsa often sells out by afternoon. The Bard’s Confectionary and Somali Tea for Two set up camp in the same neighborhood of the Market. Nibble a dark or milk chocolate square and melt it down with a swallow of toasty tea. Mmm, so many samples to savor….but this could make choosing what to buy all the more challenging!
Be sure to save room for some mid-day sustenance. Head to the World Food Village, adjacent to the Market for a lunch break. Incredible India, Yamhill County’s only Indian food, features authentic southern Indian cuisine like dal, vegetable curry, and chicken biryani. If you’re in the mood for something more mainstream, try The Chicken Coop, where all the chicken is cooked to order. Sides like French fries, choice of salad, and a roll round out this substantial meal.
Development of the McMinnville Public Market three years ago spurred new growth and interest in the historic Granary District. Be sure to take some time and explore the other businesses like Real Deals on Home Decor, Ruby Cakes, and Buchanan Cellers. Just like its name proclaims, Real Deals features fun and affordable home furnishings and accents. Ruby Cakes started out as vendor at McMinnville’s seasonal farmer’s market and achieved a loyal following for its scrumptious vegan, gluten-free and nut-free cupcakes. Ruby Cakes opened up its bakery in the Granary District in 2011 and expanded to offer breads, custom cakes, and pastries, all allergen-free. Buchanan Cellers has been continuously operating as livestock feed and pet supply store since 1979, but the notable building and grain tower (the area’s namesake) dates back to 1892.
The McMinnville Public Market truly personifies buying local. It’s your gateway to the best that the Willamette Valley has to offer: wine, coffee, produce, culinary delights, and unique gifts and crafts. No wonder their motto proclaims, “Get Fresh with the Locals.” Check out the Market this winter and chances are you’ll return real soon.
755 NE 8th Street
McMinnville, OR 97128
McMinnville Public Market
Saturdays, year-round 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sundays, Nov. 24-Dec. 22, 10:00-4:00 p.m.
Aii A Woodworks
The Bard’s Confectionary & Chocolatier Be Happy Bakery
Books by Claire
Chainsaw Carving by Jesse Leavitt Creative Jewelry by Janna
Growing Wild Farm
Harmony Haven Farm
Homemade by Sandra – country folk crafts
Hot Rocker Salsa
The House of Sutton
James Jaillet Photography
Joey Gill Photography
John Stromme Photos on Canvas
Karin Watkin Nature Inspired Jewelry
The Market Wines
The Mint – Change You Can Wear Monk’s Fudge
Mountain Jewel Farm
Mud River Coffee Roasters
Out of the Box handcrafted jewelry
Over the Hill wood carving
Queen of Green
Sisters of the Osage
Somali Tea for Two
Sue Z Designs
Woodcrafts by Dean
Jennifer Nice lives in McMinnville and is owner of Write Nice, SEO & web writing services. In 2011 she circumnavigated the globe for 4 months and started her travel blog Experiential Passage (www.expass.wordpress.com.) When not writing or traveling she loves to hike with her family and hit the yoga mat.