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Archive for June, 2011

Original Albers Mill market, photo by Craig Mosbaek

It’s amazing to think that Portland Farmers Market has been bringing farm-fresh, local produce to the residents of Portland for 20 years.  Established in 1992 by three founders – Craig Mosbaek, Ted Snider and Richard Hagan – the original market was held in a parking lot along the Willamette River at Albers Mill with just 13 vendors that later grew to 22 that first year. Since then, Portland Farmers Market has blossomed into a thriving network of over 180 vendors at six weekly markets in diverse neighborhoods throughout Portland.

To celebrate this momentous occasion and to thank Portlanders for supporting our markets for 20 years, we are throwing a big birthday party this Saturday, June 18, at the PSU Market. Here are some of the festive activities we have planned for you:

PUBLIC CEREMONY AT 11AM

  • Keynote speakers Congressman Earl Blumenhauer, Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Nick Fish
  • New PFM logo designed by FRANK Creative revealed
  • Market founders, sponsors and other key contributors honored
  • Winner of COUNTRY reusable bag design contest announced
  • Market picnic samples provided by Adam Sappington, chef/owner of The Country Cat, Market chef Kathryn Yeomans and Ellen Jackson, co-author of The Grand Central Baking Book
  • Musical guest 3 Leg Torso plays from noon-2pm

ALL DAY ACTIVITIES

  • Dunk tank for shoppers to dunk their favorite PFM farmers, vendors and staff
  • Birthday hat-making activity for kids
  • Signature books where shoppers can write a note or share memories about the market

Remarkably, the 22 founding vendors that kicked off the inaugural 1992 market season are still with us today! The following original vendors will be identified by a special booth sign, so stop by and thank them for providing our community with fresh food and flowers for the past 20 years:

  • Baird Family Orchards, Dayton, OR
  • Early Mom, Aloha, OR
  • Favorite Produce of Oregon, Aloha, OR
  • Gabriel’s Bakery, Portland, OR
  • Gathering Together Farm, Philomath, OR
  • Hummingbird’s Flower Farms, Salem, OR
  • Kaleng Produce, Canby, OR
  • Kenyon Growers, Forest Grove, OR
  • Liepold Farms, Boring, OR
  • Lucky Farms, Gresham, OR
  • Market Fruit/Packer Orchards, Hood River, OR
  • Oregon Walnuts, Beaverton, OR
  • Osmogaia, Woodburn, OR
  • Persephone Farms, Lebanon, OR
  • Philleos Premium Pak, Eltopia, WA
  • Rick Steffen Farm, Salem, OR
  • Rogue Creamery, Central Point, OR
  • Salmon Creek Farm, Battle Ground, WA
  • Spring Hill Farm, Albany, OR
  • Springwater Farm, St. Helens, OR
  • Thompson Farms, Damascus, OR
  • Viridian Farms, Dayton, OR

Join the party this weekend.  We’ll see you there!

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Chard, Hazelnut, and Strawberry Salad

By Ken Rubin, Chef Director, International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Portland

Serves 4 as a salad

1 bunch swiss or rainbow chard, de-stemmed and cut into thin ribbons (a.k.a. chiffonade)

2 Tb. Hazelnuts, toasted, chopped

2 Tb. queso fresco or (or other white crumbly cheese)

½ cup sliced strawberries

1 tsp. sherry vinegar

1 Tb. Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

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Two Season Meal

Article and Pictures by Elizabeth Miller

During this time of the year, it is often just as difficult to figure out what to buy at the farmers market as it is to figure out what to wear while braving the indecisive weather one must face while at the farmers market.  The occasional ray of sun that bursts through the sky’s thick cover of clouds may tease you with thoughts of warmer days, but you can still count on steady rain showers to douse your mental pictures of backyard grilling and lazy weekend afternoons spent swinging in a hammock.  Your heart wants to wear a light jacket and short sleeves, but your brain tells you to stick with boots and a raincoat.

My debate about food follows a similar train of thought.  Gloomy weather still encourages me to want to roast and braise things, making hot food that will warm my soggy bones.  The sun, however, makes me instantly crave fresh, light fare that I can eat outside in the sunshine while holding a chilled beverage.  My heart wants to have a picnic, but my brain tells tells me to turn on the oven.  In an effort to satisfy my entire being, I decided that this weekend I would do both.

Stopping off at the Delphina’s Bakery stand, I picked up a crisp baguette.  A few steps later, I was cradling a huge bulb of fennel in my arms from Spring Hill Farm.  The size of the produce I was seeing at the farmers market today ran the gamut from impossibly huge to improbably tiny.  When I picked up an enormous parsnip from DeNoble’s Produce, it positively dwarfed all the bunches of petite beets and carrots I saw spilling off of various tables.  At the Deep Roots Farm stand I grabbed a generously sized bundle of incredibly aromatic basil that, I swear, I could smell from nearly five feet away.  While standing in line, I held the basil to my face and breathed in as deeply as I could.  The air outside was cold and the sun had yet to emerge even briefly from behind the clouds, but in my hands I held the promise of summer.

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Roasted Fennel and Parsnips with Lemon Basil Bruschetta

Serves 3-4

Roasted Fennel and Parsnips

1 large parsnip (roughly 12 to 16 ounces), peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick sticks, with the tough inner core removed

1 large bulb of fennel (roughly 8 to 10 ounces) sliced into ½-inch thick ribs

2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed or roughly chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place an oven rack on the lower middle shelf.  Combine parsnips, fennel, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper on a large baking sheet.  Toss together until parsnips and fennel are evenly coated with olive oil and seasoning.  Roast in lower third of oven until parsnips and fennel are tender, caramelized, and the edges are browned, 20-25 minutes, turning once, about 15 minutes into the cooking time.  Serve warm.

Lemon Basil Bruschetta

3 cups loosely packed basil leaves

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 French baguette, cut into slices roughly ¾-inch thick

1 large clove of garlic, peeled

In food processor or blender, combine basil, lemon zest, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Process or blend until ingredients are evenly incorporated and basil is completely chopped, about 20 seconds.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside while you prepare the bread.

Heat a heavy skillet or grill pan over medium heat.  Using the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lightly brush one side of each slice of bread.  Place each slice of bread, oiled side down, in the hot pan.  When the oiled side is crisp and lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes, remove bread from pan and rub the still-hot, oiled side with the clove of garlic.  Repeat with all remaining slices of bread.

Top each slice of garlicky grilled bread with 1 teaspoon of lemon basil spread.

With her 3rd Contribution to our blog, Elizabeth has been promoted to our contributors page. You can read her bio here.

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By Amanda Frankel

The supermarket is an active place—people pushing their wheeled plastic carts up and down the fluorescent aisles, weighing fruits and vegetables, comparing calories on the backs of cereal boxes. Here at the supermarket I can find almost any fruit or vegetable I want, no matter the season. However, I can’t help but ask myself: From where do these out-of-season veggies come? Even, where do these in-season veggies come from? How far must an asparagus stalk travel to make it to my plate?

Portland Farmers Market is almost always bursting with energy and action; like the supermarket, shoppers are feeling the fruits, inspecting meats and cheeses, and buzzing about one another like bees around a honeycomb. But the personal interactions, the sights and smells of the market, the personality of the market, are what set it apart. There is a constant conversation between vendors and shoppers, comments exchanged as market-goers cup the belly of an eggplant, sample a sun-ripened berry or indulge in a hot tamale or baby quiche.

Marven Winters, center

Here, I can know exactly where my asparagus comes from. Today I have chosen to purchase from Winters Farms. Winters is a family farm located in Troutdale, Oregon, which means this asparagus has traveled roughly 20 miles to make it to my abode in North Portland.  Comparatively, the asparagus at my local supermarket has traveled from Pasco, Washington– just about 218 miles.  Not bad considering the distances other produce must voyage, but this spring asparagus crop is just one of many produced year-round by this particular importer/distributor. During the rest of the year, their asparagus comes from farms as far away as Mexico, Chile and Peru.

Winters Farms provides more than just asparagus—fruit, flowers, jams, and honeys among their repertoire—to multiple farmers’ markets in Portland and Beaverton. By their own description, Winters Farms is about 150 acres large, and produces “sustainably grown products incorporating free range, IPM, drip and overhead irrigation using commercial fertilizers with no GMO or hormones.” Each week, I see Marven Winters, proprietor, farmer, and vendor, bagging the very produce he grows to hand to shoppers. Unlike at the supermarket, I can see the face behind the food I am buying.

I like knowing where my asparagus has come from and the practices by which it is grown. I tried contacting the distributor of the asparagus from my local supermarket, and have yet to hear back from them. In contrast, if I have questions about Winters Farms’ growing practices, I can visit their Facebook page, look at the PFM website or just ask a member of the Winters family personally at the market.

So as I bite into my asparagus tonight, lightly sautéed with a bit of garlic and lemon, I know confidently where my asparagus has been. I know it was grown locally by the Winters family, I know I am not putting genetically modified food into my body, and I know it was grown sustainably. I have no doubt that some of the best farmers anywhere are those I meet weekly at our local Portland markets, and that they are our very own environmental stewards providing us with healthy, in-season produce that they have grown and delivered to us with their own hands.

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A good Farmers Market needs good partners: Good neighbors, good farmers, good sponsors and a good home – With our new Thursday location at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral at NW 19th & Everett all the pieces are in place to build a vibrant gathering place for food lovers and NW community members. The Market kicks off its 2011 season this Thursday and will be open every Thursday between 3 and 7 pm, until the end of September.

Our host, Trinity Cathedral is an ideal partner. Not only for its location near NW businesses and homes, but because of Trinity’s longstanding commitment to promoting the greater good in Portland. Currently, Trinity is working to become the greenest church in the US. Communications Coordinator Pam Knepper, who worked with PFM to help find its new home sees a Farmers Market as a natural fit with the church’s outreach efforts, saying “Trinity is building a relationship with the local farmers and helping the local community put a face to the food they eat every day.”

Just as Trinity sees a Market as way to build on the good work they do,  Northwest Market sponsor Food Front sees the new Market location as an extension of what they already do, Food Front’s Jessica Miller adds, “Supporting local growers and producers and providing access to delicious food to our neighborhood is what Food Front grocery stores are all about”.

As exciting as new things are, it’s good to see familiar faces following us to our new home. Trevor Baird of Baird Family Orchards is excited about the new location, even though he can’t promise fresh cherries for the Market opening – they will be there as soon as the weather cooperates, adding, “I’m sure people are ready for some good fruit and sunshine after a long, long, long winter.”

Besides Baird Family Orchards and Food Front, the Northwest Market will have 2 dozen vendors returning for the 2011 season and 5 new vendors – veg from La Terra Vita, Feastworks and their sausages, Crust and Common Pie, plants from Willamette Valley’s KCK Farms and juices from Pure Simple Nourishment.

The Trinity lots will be available for parking but in keeping with its green ethos, Pam wanted to remind everyone that the Max (Blue and Red) stops a mere 3 blocks away. For bicyclists, there are designated bike lanes leading in almost every direction to and from Trinity.

Bonus: For the kickoff of the 2011 Northwest Market, Trinity’s grounds and bookstore will be open until 6 and there will be a mini-organ recital, which sounds like the organ is small, but it’s the program that is brief. The organ itself is a 54-stop monster that Bach himself would be proud to play. And that isn’t just me saying that 12,000 people attend music performances at Trinity annually – If you have never had a chance to hear music at Trinity with its wonderful acoustics and world-class organ, take the chance to enjoy one of the things that makes Portland special.

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