Area growers and crafters were showing off their wares Thursday, May 27, on the opening day of the Maxwell Market.

For Diana Bork of Irrigon, it was her first time at the market as a vendor instead of a customer. Her table featured a variety of jars and plastic bags full of colorful freeze-dried candies under the label Diana’s Freeze Dried Goodies.

“I’ve been freeze-drying things for about five years, and candy became something that everyone loved,” she said.

The freeze-drying process uses extremely low temperatures in a vacuum to remove all the moisture from a food, preserving it. Bork said freeze drying candy intensifies its flavor. It also gives the candy a different texture. Freeze-dried gummy worms at Bork’s table, for example, had a crunch similar to biting into a Cheeto. She cautioned if people are planning to eat a bag of freeze-dried candy, “you’re gonna need a drink of water.”

Freeze driers retail at about $2,000 to $3,000 apiece, so Bork said it’s not something people can easily make at home. But freeze-dried foods can stay good for up to 25 years.

Nearby, Cecilia Lopez of Hermiston had set up a table for Cecilia’s Arts and Crafts. Her crafts ranged from custom-made mugs to painted succulent pots, complete with a live succulent. She said it was her second year at the market, and she was glad to be back.

“Everyone is friendly, and the community can get together and have some fun,” she said.

Veronica Delgado of Pasco echoed the same sentiments, and said she loved getting to talk to people while at her booth, Veronica’s Fresh Produce. She has been at the Maxwell Market since its first summer under a tent across the road from its current location at the Maxwell Pavilion.

On May 27 her table included fresh garlic, asparagus, cilantro, radishes and more. She said the selection will change as new crops are harvested.

Next to Delgado was the Segou Shea booth, run by Dieleka Kone of Kennewick. Her business sells homemade, organic, chemical-free skincare products made with shea butter and other natural ingredients.

She said she started the business after she had trouble finding a skincare product that she liked.

The farmer’s market will run every Thursday through Oct. 7, from 4-8 p.m. at the Maxwell Pavilion at South First Place and West Orchard Avenue.

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