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By Kelly Merrick

And so begins market season

And so begins market season

Springtime is my favorite time of year. I love it when the weather starts to warm up, the days get longer and the daffodils start peeking out of the ground. But I especially love it because it means a new farmers market season has just begun.

Every new season brings something to be excited about. And this year is no exception. The 2014 market season offers a lot to boast about, so I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things I am looking forward to at Portland Farmers Market this year:

Lovely creations from My Wreaths

Lovely creations from My Wreaths

1. Seeing some fresh faces. The PSU Market has 10 new vendors this year, offering up goods like bread, juice and spirits.
2. Checking out My Wreaths, a new venture by Kenyon Growers, a longtime flower vendor at the market. If you’ve been to the Portland State market this year, you probably saw their beautiful wreaths and other decorative branches. If you hesitated and didn’t stop by last week, you better hurry. They will only be selling the wreaths at PSU for March and April before they return in October.
3. Grabbing a bite to eat at every single one of the hot food vendors.
4. Visiting the neighborhood markets. I’ve got a summer packed full of weekend getaways, so that means I’ll get to visit the smaller neighborhood markets.
5. Volunteering at the information booth and at other fun market activities. Have you heard how much fun it is to volunteer at the market?
6. Attending my first Farmer’s Feast dinner. If this is something you’ve wanted to try too, you can check out the next dinner on April 25 (tonight’s Buckwheat dinner is sold out). It’s part of the Whole Grain Supper Series at Tabor Bread. If you’re interested, visit click here for more information.
7. Taste testing new and exciting foods, like the unique salt flavors with Jacobsen Salt Co. and the creatively cheesy creations available at Fraga Farms. Don’t be afraid to sample!

Plant starts at Sun Gold Farm

Plant starts at Sun Gold Farm

8. Buying my vegetable starts. Did you know many of the produce vendors sell vegetable starts? I suggest you look for them next time you’re out shopping. I bought my tomato starts from Sun Gold Farm last season and got some growing advice straight from Farmer Charlie himself!
9. Tapping my foot to market music. I love to grab a bite to eat in the middle of my shopping trip and sit down to enjoy the music floating through the market. Here’s who’ll be playing this Saturday.
10. Buying real, good, local food. Do I need to say any more?

What about you? What are you looking forward to this season at Portland Farmers Market?

By Deborah Pleva, Weinstein PR

psuOn Saturday, March 15, Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University returns for Season 23, promising locavores week after week of peak-of-the-season produce and other locally produced foods including baked goods, meats, cheeses, seafood and more.

More than 100 farmers, food producers and artisans will start the season off, and this number will grow to 120 vendors as the days get warmer and more local produce ripens.

In addition to many familiar farmers and producers, Portland Farmers Market welcomes 10 fresh new faces to the vendor mix. The list below includes new vendors that will be making appearances at the PSU market, plus other weekly market locations where they will be selling their wares.

  • Fairlight Farm – Gaston, OR – PSU – Specializing in 33 varieties of heirloom apples, many not found in the grocery store. applesandart.blogspot.com
  • Greenleaf Juicing Company – Portland, OR – PSU, Kenton, King, Buckman, Shemanski – 100% pressed fresh daily USDA organic fruit and vegetable juices. www.greenleafjuice.com
  • House Spirits Distillery – Portland, OR – PSU, King – This distillery incorporates old-world philosophy into its products for the savvy new world palate. They offer well-balanced and flavorful spirits that embody complexity and timelessness. www.housespirits.com
  • Merry Meat Pie Company – Portland, OR – PSU, King – Merry Meat Pie Company offers premium and diverse meat pies.
  • Minto Island Growers – Salem, OR – PSU – Certified organic, diversified vegetable, blueberry and tea farmers. www.mintogrowers.com
  • Mio’s Delectables – Portland, OR – PSU, Pioneer Courthouse Square – Mio’s Delectables offers hand-crafted pastries perfected with French tradition and Japanese refined simplicity. miosdelectables.com
  • New Deal Distillery – Portland, OR – PSU, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Northwest, King, Buckman, Shemanski – This craft distillery offers hand-made vodka, gin, ginger liqueur, locally-inspired coffee liqueur, small-batch rums and infused vodkas with a distinctive culinary flare. www.newdealdistillery.com
  • Ole World Oils – Ritzville, WA – PSU, King, Northwest – They produce, press, and bottle camelina oil, a cold pressed, naturally raw product very high in omega 3s and vitamin E. Camelina is an ancient oilseed crop and is a versatile oil that can be used anywhere olive oil is used. www.camelinagold.com
  • Oregon Aqua – Portland, OR – PSU, Buckman – A local and completely environmentally sustainable aquaculture farm, raising Oregon White Leg Prawns without the use of GMO feed, hormones, antibiotics or chemical treatments.
  • Starvation Alley – Long Beach, WA – PSU, King – This organic cranberry farm and juice company, located on the Long Beach Peninsula in Southwest Washington, crafts delicious unsweetened, raw cranberry juice. In the fall, it will add fresh cranberries to its Market offerings. www.starvationalley.com

 

See you all on Saturday!

By Kelly Merrick

Here in Portland we’re lucky because we have an abundance of farmer’s markets. In fact, with the exception of a few weeks during the holidays, hardly a week goes by without a market.

But there are a few times a year when market staff, volunteers and vendors get a little break. In fact, there is just one last market left to stock up on food from your favorite vendors at our Winter Market at Shemanski Park.

After the last Winter Market for the season, there will be a two week hiatus and then the PSU Market will reopen on March 15th, so be sure to stop by this Saturday, February 22, from 10am to 2pm to stock up on the farm fresh produce and other goods you’ll need to get yourself through the next few weeks.

Once the market reopens at PSU, staff, volunteers and vendors won’t take a break until winter, which means there will be nearly nine months of activities, great food and fantastic music for market-goers.

Having been a volunteer for a full season now, I have had a glimpse into the work that goes into coordinating all of the details, and let me tell you that market staff work really hard to make the market the fabulous place it is. And the truth is, they couldn’t do it without the help of volunteers.

So as we approach the busy season, I encourage you to sign up to be a volunteer and help support the wonderful programming already available.

Here are some of the ways I have lent a hand and how you can too:

  • Take a shift at the information booth and help sell merchandise, answer customer questions and manage the veggie valet
  • Sign up to help with customer counts and do some people watching at the same time
  • Get to know Portland chefs by volunteering to co-host Chef in the Market
  • Assist with the Kid’s Cook in the Market activities and prepare fresh meals with some of Portland’s junior chefs-in-the-making
  • Get your hands dirty with kids and adults during the Halloween pumpkin carving contest
  • Refine your writing skills and contribute to the market’s blog
  • And if you’re really lucky, they may even let you ring the opening bell!
This is me ringing the opening bell!

This is me ringing the opening bell!

If you’re interested in volunteering, it’s easy to get involved. Just click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to contact Abby Warren, volunteer coordinator for Portland Farmers Market.

Market Soup for the Soul

By Kelly Merrick

This time of year, when the air is chilly, the rain is falling and the wind is blowing, my favorite meal to prepare is by far soup. There’s just something about a big bowl of soup that warms me up the way no other type of food can.

The great thing about soup is that you don’t need a recipe to make it. All you need are some basic ingredients and some time to chop up the veggies or protein you want to be the star of your soup.

Luckily, the market provides the perfect place to find the ingredients for whatever soup you want to create. In fact, if you plan it right, you can find everything you need without having to step into a grocery store.

Keeping that in mind, here are some of my favorite market combinations that make excellent soup:

If you’re a veggie lover:

  • You might consider making a kale and potato soup,
    10190_10153690393970123_1679884325_n

    Waiting to become soup

    as both are at the market in abundance this time of year. My favoriteversion of the soup includes sautéing chopped mushrooms as garnish. Winters Farms, Raymond Kuenzi Farm and GroundworkOrganics and Springwater Farm should have the key ingredients for this soup.

  • Try out a squash and apple soup. My favorite squash is butternut, but if you can’t find that variety, delicata or acorn works too. If you can’t find those either, ask one of the vendors for a good substitution and they’ll be happy to help. For extra creaminess, puree the soup and add some grated goat cheese on top just before serving. Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Packer Orchards, Groundwork Organics and Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese should have the key ingredients for this soup.

If you’re a carnivore:

  • Throw together hamburger soup, with a variety of veggies, like celery, potatoes, onion and carrots. I like to bulk up soup like this by adding a grain of some type. My current favorites are millet and wheat berries. Gee Creek Farms, Pine Mountain Ranch, DeNoble Farms and Greenville Farms should have the key ingredients for this soup.
  • Experiment with a chickpea and chorizo soup that features lots of garlic and spinach. A loaf of bread and some goat cheese would complement the soup well. Gee Creek Farms, Tails & Trotters and Fressen Artisan Bakery should have the key ingredients for this soup.

While you’re mulling over these soup ideas, there are a few other non-soup related things you can find at the market this week. Cascade Naturals and Honey Mama’s will both be at the market for their monthly visit. But if you’re looking for some pre-prepared fare from The Farmer’s Feast, you’ll have to wait another week. Chef Kathryn Yeomans will be away preparing for their special truffle dinner that evening. If you just can’t go another week without some of Kathryn’s tasty food, there are a few seats left and menu and reservation info can be found on their Facebook page here.

Now that we’re done with official business, back to the soup. The first step to making a successful pot of soup, in my humble opinion, starts with the soup base. For a few years now I’ve been making my own vegetable stock from scraps leftover from previous meals, and I highly encourage you to do the same. Not only does it taste better, but it has no preservatives, unhealthy amounts of sodium and it’s practically free!

Here’s how you can do it yourself:

Kelly_Stock

Making your own stock is a cinch!

1. Start saving!
As you chop your vegetables throughout the week, save the scraps and store them in a one-gallon bag in the freezer. Once you have a full bag, you’re good to go!

2. Boil, boil, toil and trouble
Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a boil add your veggie scraps (no thawing needed) and let it return to a boil.

3. Simmer and season

Let it simmer for about 25 minutes.

4. Strain
Carefully scoop out the large veggie chunks with a slotted spoon.  Once you’ve removed the large pieces, use a fine-meshed strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth and pour the rest of the broth into the strainer and into another pot.

5. Cool it
Let the stock cool to room temperature.

6. Store it
Pour it into freezer safe containers, label and store.

7. Enjoy it
Thaw your stock 1-2 days before you need it to make one of your amazing soup recipes with ingredients procured from the market.

If you’d like more complete instructions for how to make your own vegetable stock, you can check out the recipe on my blog, Kelly’s Sustainable Life.

Happy soup making!

Winter Marketland

By Deborah Pleva

Apples

You’ll find these

Portland Farmers Market welcomes 2014 with the opening of the Saturday Winter Market at Shemanski Park, where local vendors greet market-goers with booths overflowing with seasonal produce, including purple and green kale, carrots, parsnips, beets, fennel, apples, pears, potatoes and onions, plus meats, seafood, eggs, artisan breads, cheeses and sweets – everything shoppers need to create seasonal meals from our local bounty.

The Winter Market, now in its third season, runs from 10 am to 2 pm on eight consecutive Saturdays, through February 22, 2014.  You’ll find over 35 vendors at Shemanski Park each Saturday, located on the Park Blocks between SW Salmon and Main.

In case of inclement weather, Portland Farmers Market staff will provide a covered seating area for shoppers to gather and visit. Market-goers can come visit their favorite vendor stalls, fill their baskets with fresh, local food and stay to enjoy freshly-brewed coffee and hot breakfast and lunch items such as bagels, egg dishes, soups, sandwiches, pizzas and tamales.

Prizes for Loyal Shoppers

Winter_Bounty

And all of this too

Did you know Portland Farmers Market offers incentives to shoppers who frequent the market three or more times each month? These shoppers will be entered in a monthly prize drawing for a basket of market goodies and the winning name will be drawn at the end of the final market day of each month. Stop by the information booth for additional details.

Winter Market Vendors (vendors new to Winter Market this season are in bold print):

Everyone worries about the turkey, but if you get the mashed potatoes and stuffing right, no one will even notice if a turkey is on the table. Add a good pumpkin pie and rich coffee and you’ve pretty much stuck the landing.

King and PSU are both in session this weekend to help take the worry out of the holiday production. First PSU 9-2 on Saturday:DSC_0045

  • Happy campers gluten free bread; gluten free stuffing.
  • Pearl Bakery – recently named one of the 10 best bakeries in the US, will have bread for stuffing.
  • Natural Valley Poultry – stock for better stuffing. Broth? No, you want stock, hearty, a building block for better foods. Ditto for eggs.
  • Corn meal stuffing. Gee Creek has corn meal. Cooking tip – baking powder become less effective over time, make sure your canister is less than 6 months old.
  • Brussels sprouts, those wee cabbages of love – all over the market.
  • Potatoes. Prairie Creek has lovely golden potatoes, which are the best for mashing (opinions may vary). Art at La Terra Vita has a great selection for roasting, mashing or baking.
  • PSU has mushrooms, vegs for roasting, sugar pumpkins for pie-ing. Butter, bacon and cheese for making everything just a bit better. Heidi ho is bringing the vegan, live cultured Chevre. 2 for $10.
  • Freddy Guys has wild rice and filberts for the NW take on Pecan Pie. DSC_0043
  • Eagle Organics, cranberries.

Sunday is the last market of the year at King on NE 7th & Wygant. We have a few more reasons to shop at King:

  • Weather – cold but dry.
  • Happy Campers on hand.
  • Unbound pickling.
  • Apples from Kiyokawa and the Draper Girls.
  • Picture perfect veg from Mudjoy & Groundworks.
  • Night Owl Roasters.
  • Troutdale Sprouts, which are much like Brussels sprouts only without the Euro attitude, from Winters farms.

Join us this weekend – make your Thanksgiving a little more local. Our markets are great places to show off Portland to visitors, guests and people you need to get out of the house for awhile.

DSC_0059

Spaghetti Carbonara recipe from our friends at Tails & Trotters. Thanks to Aaron Silverman. Guanciale and pancetta are different yet interchangeable for the purposes of carbonara. pancetta roll

Time: 30 minutes

1 pound spaghetti
1/2 pound Tails & Trotters guanciale (pancetta works too), cut into 1-inch x 1/2-inch
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons parsley
salt to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & cook the pasta to your taste.
  2. Bring a large skillet to medium heat and add guanciale. Cook to a very light gold, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat & oil, and set aside.
  4. Put eggs in a large serving bowl & whisk them lightly. Whisk in cheese & pepper.
  5. When the pasta is cooked, drain but leave a little water clinging to the noodles. Add the hot noodles to the bowl with the eggs & cheese and toss well until all the noodles are coated. Reheat guanciale (if necessary) and add to pasta with parsley & toss again.

Because our pork is so rich in hazelnut-oil, the fat has a much lower smoking-point than is typical. Cooking
over lower heat to render out the fat before heating slightly to crisp up is an easy way to avoid burning, which
causes some bitterness.

Be careful not to overcook the guanciale (or pancetta) – a lesser-done lardon will have far more flavor, and
over-cooked lardons can become hard nuggets when they cool.

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