Dayton dishes up a foodie summer

Customers sample wine at Blue Mountain Station in Dayton.

Customers sample wine at Blue Mountain Station in Dayton. Photo by Michael Lopez.

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DAYTON — Foodies will have a few extra reasons to visit Dayton this summer.

The city’s regular farmers’ market, which opens this weekend, will be complemented by open hours at Blue Mountain Station for the artisan food center’s producers to sell the fruits of their labors.

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Melissa Weatherford, left, assists Steve and Sharon Feser at her local the Little Dipper Dairy located at the Blue Mountain Station in Dayton.

Since February, the Blue Mountain Station Co-op has been operating a Saturday winter market at Blue Mountain Station, selling goods produced on-site, as well as items from outside vendors.

That market will come to an end May 31, but Blue Mountain Station will remain open on Saturdays starting June 7 to sell items made by its food processing tenants, including Aardvark Granola, Little Dipper Dairy and Rey’s Roast.

The Port of Columbia will have an employee at the station’s visitor center to help facilitate sales from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and individual food processors may stay open later or open earlier.

“It’s almost more like a store than a market,” said Port of Columbia Director Jennie Dickinson.

The Blue Mountain Co-op is also planning to sell natural and bulk food items on Saturdays, providing it can find volunteers. Co-op President Tara Brenner said that the group is looking to expand its membership and create bylaws after the winter market winds down.

Several tenants have also been selling their wares on Tuesdays at Blue Mountain Station.

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Daergan Guy, a local from Walla Walla has been playing music at the Blue Mountain Station for the last three years.

Brenner said the co-op plans to join them from noon-6 p.m.

Meanwhile, the regular summer Dayton Farmer’s Market opens Saturday at the Dayton Depot courtyard from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

This weekend’s market coincides with the city’s annual Dayton Days celebration.

Brad McMasters, former Chamber of Commerce director, is helping to organize the market and said that this year it would feature several new vendors and growers. He expects the addition of Blue Mountain Station to benefit the downtown market by drawing more visitors to experience Dayton’s local foods.

“We’re trying to promote a culture or appreciation for quality food in the area,” he said.

“The farmers’ market vendors can send people out to Blue Mountain Station and the Blue Mountain Station vendors can send people to the farmers’ market.”

Rachel Alexander can be reached at 509-526-8363, rachelalexander@wwub.com or on Twitter.

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