A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A noisy time at the farmers’ market

Written June 16th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

[youtube video=”1Hd7uG1twJs”]

What’s a little extra noise when you’re at the Albany Farmers’ Market?

When I got there Saturday, something was making quite a racket. Turns out the emergency generator outside City Hall had turned itself on, and its diesel engine was pounding away.

As you know, the Saturday market is held outside of City Hall, in the parking lot and on one block of Fourth Avenue. The city administration is kind enough to keep the doors of City Hall open while the market is going on.

I walked inside and talked to the private security guard on duty. Seems the power in the building went off shortly before 11 a.m. and the generator kicked in right away. When I checked back later, he told me the generator had shut off again about half an hour later, evidently when it was no longer needed.

As you can see on the video, if the vendors and customers at the market minded the unexpected noise of the generator, they didn’t show it. Even the musicians played bravely on. (hh)

The woman in orange is walking past the big generator at the farmers’ market Saturday.


7 responses to “A noisy time at the farmers’ market”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    Hasso, the NatSound you included with your B-Roll footage captured the Farmer’s Market mise en scène perfectly. It is a rarity when the market’s upper-middle class patrons (folks who can easily afford $7/dozen eggs or $4/bunch for “free range” spinach) were violently shocked out of their shopping stupor. I was in mid-slurp at the Market wine vendor’s tent (who doesn’t love a tall glass of Chardonnay at 11AM) when the Emergency Generator roared to life. The thundering engine rattled my nerves, as well as the general comity of the place. Your presence – with camera in hand – seems almost serendipitous.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “””$7/dozen eggs or $4/bunch for “free range” spinach”””

      Someone has to pay for their unbearable singing jingles on commercial radio. Every time I heard them, I knew the markets were a commercial enterprise no more worthy of my business than the farm-supply store with even worse musical intros. Past tense, my AM radio broke and hasn’t been replaced. Result: more useful work accomplished and lower blood pressure (no more Rush and Lars).

    • Rebecca Landis says:

      Your comment reads like a failed Portlandia script. The show is history; don’t expect a phone call from the producers.

      If you were slurping chardonnay that day, it was at a different market. Maybe you brought a blender and made you own green smoothie out of swiss chard? Or was it a green Slurpee?

      There was no wine that day, and alas, no spinach either.

      JJ and Avid, if you paid any *non-smarmy* attention to the farmers’ market you would know that we expend a lot of effort making fresh and local food accessible to people of all incomes. And if you carefully priced comparable product at local grocery stores, most of the produce would be pretty close in price.

      On the day in question, we were giving out free tokens to 121 kids 5-12 in our Power of Produce program. A lot of those kids were not from chardonnay-swilling households.

      • J. Jacobson says:

        MS Landis argues that Farmers Market prices are “pretty close in price” to comparable goods in Freddie’s and Safeway. But pretty close in price is akin to the earth being “pretty close” to the Sun. In galactic terms, MS Landis’s claim may have some small ring of truth to it. However, the Sun is 93-million miles from earth. Just like the Sun, with few folks able to afford the journey there, the Farmers Market is unaffordable for the bulk of Albany residents. I do so enjoy the wine vendor. Too bad they don’t take SNAP.

    • Shawn Dawson says:

      mise en scène :

      I had to look that one up. As stage and theater are not my domain, I was unfamiliar with the term. Thank you for improving my vocabulary.


  2. Brad says:

    I live next to the phone company building and theirs turns on every time the power flickers, which it did yesterday, and stays on for exactly 40 minutes. If the wind is just right, I get the strong smell of diesel fumes in the upstairs windows.

    • Avid Reader says:

      I live on fringes of West Albany, and the power has flickered off at least 4 times recently, and we haven’t had any hot weather (until today, Sun., 6/17) to stress the power system. I wonder how many outages we have in store for us at the rate of 4 already during rather mild weather. I agree about it being the elite who can afford the farmer’s market prices!
      Thanks, J. Jacobsen, for telling it like it is.


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