Jon Berlin is the man behind the Gresham Farmers Market – and the pro driving the new Fairview Sunday Market right in his backyard.
Jon has lived in Fairview for 17 years, raising his two girls at Silent Creek Mobile Park on NE 205th near Sandy. In Gresham, Jon has built a regional gem. The Gresham Farmers Market has grown to about 100 weekly vendors over the years, and features a big, rotating selection of food carts and folks selling everything from produce and flowers and fruit to jewelry and jellies, candles and cosmetics, fresh-caught salmon and fresh-made salsa, baked goods and BBQ ribs. That market attracts sellers and buyers from around the region (its Facebook page has over 6,000 followers) who love the friendly feel, the live music, and the splash pad for kids.
Our market opened a few weeks ago with about 30 vendors at the Fairview Food Plaza, home of the new food cart pod on NE Halsey Street. Jon said the market opener was a home run, with a huge turnout and happy vendors.
The history-making rain this spring has dampened subsequent Sunday markets, but when I’ve gone by, it’s been joyful. I got chocolate-dipped pretzels from Dynasty, exotic mushrooms for my stir-fry from John, and fresh asparagus and cherries from Luis at Martinez Family Farms.
Jon wants to grow the Fairview Sunday Market to include dozens more vendors, so it spills out onto Arata Road. He’s looking forward to the full opening of the food cart pod, including the indoor bar, which he expects will act as magnet. “It’s a three-year process,” he says. “We’ll make it or break it by the end of the third year.”
I want our Sunday Market to succeed. Farmers markets are fun and promote community – and are diversity, equity, and inclusion in action. Everyone is welcome to sell or buy, and everyone can afford to buy. Or you don’t even have to drop a dime! Come for some music and walk around and see your neighbors. I’ve spent $4 at a market and I’ve spent $400 (that was for my custom cooler from Ed’s Custom Woodworking!). Jon raised his girls as a single dad, and feels the same way about how markets invite in everyone, regardless of their race, age, or means.
“I’d give my girls $5 for cookies and we could walk around and listen to music,” he said. “Markets are non-political places. Everyone is welcome. Come in. Be happy. Sit down or walk around or order yourself a smashburger. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest or the poorest, markets are where we all go to be in a fun, safe place.”