A few years ago, Holly Hansen opened the Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub in Salmon Creek as a centralized area for year-round aggregation, distribution, marketing and sales of locally produced foods. The business includes a center for farmers to bring their produce, a commercial kitchen and an online marketplace for farmers and artisans to sell their produce.
“My job is to strengthen these ties between farmers and artisans, to be a matchmaker,” Hansen said. The selection of Hansen’s suitors slowed down during the pandemic because people could not gather on Second Mile, 11819 NE, Highway 99, and establish these personal connections. She also found it difficult to get artisans who are just starting their small business to use local products because they can be more expensive. In addition, farms in Clark County are small, so it’s hard to get them to produce enough for business development.
However, Hansen believes that as farmers ’markets open, the growing season begins, and the pandemic weakens, allowing more personal encounters, these connections can be adjusted over time.
“The mission of the Second Mile,” Hansen said, “is to identify things that grow well in Clark County with a high market value, and find farmers who would grow them.” Hansen believes that berries, herbs and greens can be used in products made in commercial kitchens.
During the winter she used local cabbage in soups. She created pasta recipes using beets grown in Clark County, roasted red peppers, pumpkin and ravioli stuffed with pumpkin. Hansen also met with farmers to talk about what they plan to grow this season, and share with them the needs of the market.