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MailTribune.com
  • Sweet addition

    Growers markets will offer prepared foods along with the usual bounty of local produce
  • Sweet Stuff cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cake pops and pie pops will be brand-new Thursday to the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market.
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    • If you go
      What: Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market
      When: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Nov. 25, and Thursdays, March 13 through Nov. 20
      Where: Tuesdays at the Ashland Armory, 1420 E. Ma...
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      If you go
      What: Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market

      When: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Nov. 25, and Thursdays, March 13 through Nov. 20

      Where: Tuesdays at the Ashland Armory, 1420 E. Main St., Ashland; Thursdays at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway, Medford.

      For more information: See www. rvgrowersmarket.com. For an interactive map of market locations, see www. mailtribune.com/growersmarket
  • Sweet Stuff cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cake pops and pie pops will be brand-new Thursday to the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market.
    But to some market shoppers and vendors, baker Rebecca Hill is a familiar face. The market was an outlet for Hill's baked goods more than 15 years ago, before she became known for top entries in the annual GingerBread Jubilee and opened a downtown Medford baking-supplies boutique. When Sweet Stuff closed in late 2012, Hill lacked a venue for cupcakes and cake pops that were then the leading dessert craze.
    "The growers market was a logical direction to go in," says Hill, 44, of Medford. "It was a lot of fun, and it's a way to get my stuff out there."
    Sweet Stuff is just one among a field of new prepared-foods vendors at the farmers market, says manager Mary Ellen DeLuca. Barbecue, baguette sandwiches, gelato, Chinese dumplings, even Peruvian food is on the bill of fare, joining purveyors of pizza, burgers, tamales, fresh doughnuts and other goods.
    "It adds a spirit of festivity, liveliness and community," says DeLuca of the availability of ready-to-eat foods at the market. "People like it to be one-stop shopping."
    Taking orders for custom cakes is one of Hill's goals for attending the market. Her single-serving desserts should stand out from other bakers' at the market for their refinement and creativity, says Hill. With an active social-media presence, Hill closely follows the trends in treats and adapts her baking to suit. Bite-sized desserts, including miniature tiramisu, continue to be in high demand, she says.
    While one of her basic, 9-inch, 4-layer cakes costs $30, cupcakes can be had at the market for $2 to $3, says Hill. She plans to price most items between $1 and $5, rotating them seasonally.
    "If it's 100 degrees outside, I'm not doing buttercream."
    Piping icing onto elaborate wedding cakes triggered carpal tunnel syndrome in Hill's wrists at the height of her professional baking career, which dates to the early 1980s. She opened Sweet Stuff with the notion that catering to other local bakers wouldn't be so taxing on her health. When she closed the store, located first on East Main Street, then North Barlett Street, for personal and financial reasons, Hill reentered the kitchen to make a living.
    "I just kind of fell into the field and stayed with it," she says. "Taking some time off from doing it has helped."
    Refusing to scrap the concept of Sweet Stuff, Hill moved her inventory of baking supplies to American Mercantile on Medford's Court Street and continues adding more products to the mix. The months leading up to November's GingerBread Jubilee bring in bakers looking for hard-to-find tools and adornments to give their entries the edge on the competition.
    "I just had so many people begging and pleading," says Hill.
    Hoping to serve the time-pressed customer, Hill recently started stocking cake-pop balls pre-rolled and ready to decorate, along with her buttercream frosting.
    For more information and special orders, call 541-772-4439.
    Reach freelance writer Sarah Lemon at thewholedish@.gmail.com.
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