While attending a concert by the Little River Band at Washougalfest a couple of weeks ago I gained a new appreciation for downtown Washougal and the brightly welcoming Reflection Plaza area. I was impressed by the way the space at the corner of Main Street and Pendelton Way, was used to support a crowd of several thousand. This newly updated space in downtown Washougal came across as a great location for community gatherings and special events.
One of the events it hosts is the weekly Washougal Main Street Market featuring “high quality local produce, flowers and one-of-a-kind artisan creations." Having recently discovered this inviting venue I decided to stop by the farmers market in Washougal while I was out shopping for produce this weekend. I'm glad I did.
Parking was simple, in a space right beside the plaza area. In the plaza I found a dozen or so booths surrounding an area with tables and space for local musicians to play. I scanned the booths for the fresh produce and baked goods I was looking for. The weather was cool and gray on Saturday, a little sleepy for an August morning, but there were still enough customers when I arrived that I waited in line to buy some bread from Julia Bakery. I bought a delicious triple berry scone for my own breakfast and a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread to take home.
At the same table I bought some beautiful leaf lettuce and yellow squash from Hargrave Gardens and then moved down to the peach stand. There I bought some beautiful ripe peaches from Maryhill, east of Washougal in the Columbia River Gorge. There it is warmer and brighter than in the Portland area and the peaches are ripe and juicy, perfect for a short cake later this week.
Mac’s Garden had a stand selling fresh and dried herbs along with some zucchini squash, onions and beets. On a whim I bought a bunch of beets. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them but they are photogenic in an earthy sort of way. I have never much liked beets but lately, especially after viewing Karen’s gorgeous beet salad at Family Style Food, I am thinking I should really give them another try.
By then I had collected all that I could carry and so I walked past homemade tamales and Kindred Spirit Soap Company as I headed toward my car. Perhaps I can check them out on my next visit.
I did stop to ask some of the vendors and market coordinators what makes the Washougal farmers market special. They told me it was the friendly local atmosphere. They were delighted that, with an exception or two, the produce there is grown in the Washougal area and the artisans are local too. Even the music is by local musicians. Around 11 am they say the market is usually at its busiest with people showing up to eat lunch and visit with friends and neighbors. On the other hand, if you are looking for the best selection of fresh produce, I recommend arriving early. The market is open on Saturdays 9-3 through August 30, though I heard that they are considering extending the market into September.