If you’ve noticed that you’re leaving the Farmers Market less hungry than you have in previous years, it might be because the number of hot food vendors is on the rise.
Bakery by the Sea, a Brookings-based vendor of tasty sweet buns and the ever-popular pesto rolls, is the first stop for many market-goers. Del Norte Triplicate / Melea Burke
Whether you’re interested in barbecue, Mexican food, Eastern cuisine or just a plain old American hot dog, the Saturday Farmers Market — and increasingly the Wednesday downtown market too — can help you find what you’re looking for.
“There’s at least four every week, and sometimes there’s as many as six — and that’s just hot food,” Ron Phillips, coordinator of the Crescent City Farmers Market, said. “And then there’s the bakeries and fudge and other cold foods. People have just started lining up.”
Katie Lo, who started selling egg rolls at the Saturday market this year and has since expanded to the Wednesday market, agrees.
“There’s a lot of food vendors now and a lot of customers,” Lo said. “And they come from all over, too. In the beginning there weren’t that many people, just us and the Filipino place. And now all of a sudden there’s everyone else.”
Lo said that she decided to give her egg roll stand a whirl because despite the prevalent Hmong community in the area, there wasn’t really an equivalent presence of Hmong cuisine.
“I just decided, why not make some Hmong egg rolls?” Lo said. “Everybody’s had Chinese and Thai egg rolls, and there’s a big community of Hmong people here, so it makes sense.”
Phillips said part of the increase might have come from a small business class that the Small Business Development Center put on last year that helped some vendors — like Lo, who took the class — get started.
“It’s a good way to start out and see if you even want to get into this kind of business,” Phillips said.
Mostly, however, he thinks people just saw a chance to make some money, as well as the fact that food vendors beget more food vendors.
“We’ve been running between 50 and 60 (total vendors),” Phillips said. “What I think it is, is the diversity. It used to be a lot of jewelry and those kind of things, but now with the food, it’s becoming a lot more popular. The food items at the market have become very diverse.”