Battle Ground hosts its first farmers market of the year

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A variety of vendors sold their wares as Battle Ground kicked off its first farmers market of the year at the Battle Ground Community Center on May 12.

The event was coordinated by Mike Stewart, who co-owns Sweet Bloom Farm in Battle Ground with his wife, Melissa.

One vendor at the market was Green Grocers, which makes a variety of fresh savory foods, including a breakfast burrito. The business was started by Aaron and Aryn Fellbaum, who moved from northern California and started selling their product at the Vancouver Farmers Market when it opened this year.

“The main business model is supporting local farmers markets, support the local community, and show how good the local meats and produce are,” Aaron said.

Conan’s Hot Sauces and Marinades was also at the event. It was started by Conan Miller, who came up with the idea when he lived on the Caribbean island of Saint Croix. His market manager Fawn Hogue sold their items at the booth, which featured bottles of hot sauces, marinades and dry rubs.

“When (Miller) moved to Vancouver, he decided he wanted to bring island juju taste here, so that’s what he’s done,” Hogue said.

She noted how the hot sauces can be used not only as a condiment, but can also be paired with mayonnaise to make aioli, or sour cream to make a dip or bagel spread.

Bethany Hamby, a nurse, started Cozy Home Co Candles out of her home when the COVID-19 pandemic started.

“I started making candles just trying to recreate a couple candle scents I bought at boutique stores that didn’t have anymore,” Hamby said. “During the trial-and-error phase, my friends all tried them out, they loved them, and it just snowballed into a business.”

She aims to make candles that are health conscious and environmentally friendly, with scents ranging from maple latte to wild honey nectar.

Jennifer Hope worked the booth for Pet Wants, which is an organic pet foods franchise with various locations in the Pacific Northwest.

“We offer amazing all-fresh, all-natural dog and cat food,” Hope said. “We’re 100% filler-free, so all of our treats, chews, and supplements are just all intentional ingredients for your dog or cat’s health. We’re really proud of what we do, we love what we do, and I think the communities that we are in for our farmers markets are seeking out higher-quality nutrition for their pets and that’s where we step in.”

Throughout her research, Hope found many dog and cat foods are held in storage for up to eight months before they are sold in stores, which diminishes the nutritional quality in the process. Hope also said she has a cart in the Vancouver Mall which will soon expand into a storefront.

Stacey’s Sweet Temptations, headed by Stacey and Awi Beatty, also originated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stacey said she has loved baking ever since she started helping her grandmother in the kitchen when she was 5 years old.  She is a nurse as well.

“We make all of our stuff from scratch with homemade recipes that have been passed down from my grandma, and all of it is organic with no preservatives, extracts, or anything like that,” Stacey said.

The booth had cookies with chocolate, caramel, and pretzels along with dark chocolate and peanut butter pancakes. Her booth featured sugar cookies which honored mental health awareness month. They were crafted in the shape of a butterfly and had a semicolon, which symbolizes a person’s sentence, or their life, is not over yet. The butterfly symbolizes mental freedom, Stacey said. The proceeds of the cookie sales were set to be donated to various mental health facilities to help people who are struggling.

Tara Angvall, co-owner of Brush Prairie Farms, sold various meats at her booth, which featured lamb shoulders and goat shanks.

“I’ve raised livestock for 15 years, and we decided to raise meat for ourselves and expand it into the community, especially when the pandemic hit,” Angvall said. “It was an opportunity for us to share and provide a local source of meat for the whole community.”

She said they also grow all of their own hay and feed, which the animals consume. Their waste is then used as manure in their garden. A new product of theirs is lamb breakfast sausage, which she said people have enjoyed. Brush Prairie Farms is also one of the few places that sells goat meat, she said.

Mohammad Alordi worked the Hummus Stop booth, which he started the day before the farmers market was held.

“It’s really nice working here. (Hummus Stop) has really nice products,” Alordi said.

They sell a variety of hummus, with his favorite being the black bean. The company makes their own pita chips as well.

Farmhand Katie Suoja was also on site working the booth for Sweet Bloom Farm, which sold dahlia flowers.

“Dahlias are our main focus this year,” Suoja said. “So far, we’ve sold daffodils, narcissus, tulips and ranunculus. In the summer, it’ll be primarily dahlias. We’re doing roses for the first time this year also.”

The roses they grow feature up to 63 varieties to choose from. Suoja said she enjoys her role because it allows her to be outside regularly.

“I came from an office job sitting at my desk 40 hours a week, so it was quite refreshing. Even if it’s rainy, it’s nice to be outside working with my hands and on the land,” she said.

Since the weather prevented a few vendors from appearing, Stewart is hopeful there will be more activity at the farmers market in the coming weeks.

“The weather today was a little rough, so we had half the vendors not show up, but we’re expecting it to be a much bigger market next week and grow as the summer grows,” Stewart said. “We should have a gyro place and a philly cheesesteak food truck. We’ve got vegetable vendors who couldn’t make it today, as well as another bakery. We’re hoping to round it out with a good mix of vendors.”

The Battle Ground Community Center is located at 912 E. Main St., Battle Ground.

The market will run from 3 to 7 p.m. every Thursday throughout the summer.

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