Backyard Brilliance

Looking for a little backyard inspiration?  This weekend, Sustainable Overlook is holding its 3rd annual pesticide-free neighborhood garden tour.

SustainableOverlookPosterSustainable Overlook Garden Tour

Saturday, June 28, 2014

All gardens open from 10am to 3pm

Self-guided tours include a map and begin at either 3908 N Concord Ave. or 5929 N Curtis Ave.

Suggested Donation $5

This tour features yards in the Overlook neighborhood of North Portland that express Sustainable Overlook’s mission of ‘Building Community and Resilience’ in a variety of clever and inspiring ways.

In just one neighborhood you’ll discover parking strips converted into edible gardens, green roofs, low-water use plantings, backyard honeybees and chickens, aquaponics units, a celebrated winery in a garage, and five Backyard Habitat Certification Program landscapes.

Living_roofIn addition, the historic W. C. and Adeline Elliott House will open its doors to welcome a tour of the stunning first floor restoration of this classic Victorian home with its flower-filled, bee-friendly front yard.

Tour-goers will also have the opportunity to learn more from these esteemed organizations: East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Metro, Xerces Society, Backyard Habitat Conservation Program, Bee Friendly Portland, Growing Gardens, Right to Know Campaign, and Friends of Overlook Bluff.

For more information and profiles on the gardens included in the tour route please visit Sustainable Overlook’s website.

by Bruce Pokarney, Oregon Department of Agriculture

Whether it is selling at farmers’ markets and roadside stands or marketing through community supported agriculture (CSAs), Oregon producers are more likely than their counterparts in other states to cut out the middle man. The latest Census of Agriculture shows Oregon farmers and ranchers are among the nation’s leaders in farm direct marketing.

According to the Census of Agriculture, Oregon ranks sixth in the nation with 6,274 farms reporting direct sales of agricultural products to individual consumers. Only California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio have more farms with direct sales. The value of sales by farm direct marketing in Oregon has eclipsed $44 million, ranking ninth in the nation. The numbers include sales from farmers’ markets, roadside stands, pick your own operations, door-to-door sales, and CSAs.

While the census does not tally the number of farms participating specifically in farmers’ markets or roadside stands, it does break out farms marketing products through CSAs where Oregon ranks 10th of all states with 391 farms.

The growers behind the numbers agree there are advantages to farm direct marketing. The middle man is eliminated, which gives the farmer a better profit margin. Other advantages of selling directly to customers include better price and getting the money sooner. For the consumer, it’s easy and satisfying to know that the product being offered directly from an Oregon farm and locally grown.

Board of Agriculture member Barbara Boyer co-founded the McMinnville Farmers’ Market. She isn’t surprised by Oregon’s high rankings in farm direct marketing.

“The consumer is getting more educated and I think they want to close the loop from when the produce leaves the field to when it makes it to their plate,” says Boyer. “There’s a comfort level with food purchased directly from the farmer. I think the consumer enjoys meeting the farmer and having that conversation. That experience is just as important as the purchase.”

When the McMinnville Farmers’ Market started in 2001, it had 600 shoppers. Today, that number exceeds 4,000.

Laura Masterson is another Board of Agriculture member not surprised at Oregon’s standing, especially given the increased interest by consumers wanting to know where their food comes from.

“The opportunities for people to buy direct, the growth has been exponential in farmers markets, CSAs, in all of those areas” says Masterson. “We’ve been reaching into new markets, reaching new people, reaching suburban audiences that didn’t have access before, and all that equals more opportunities for more farmers.”

A look at the census shows that CSAs generally follow the same pattern of distribution around the state. CSA subscribers pay at the start of the growing season for a share of the harvest to follow and receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruits. The arrangements are particularly popular in Oregon’s urban communities.

As an urban farmer operating the 47th Avenue Farm in Southeast Portland since 1994, Masterson has been supplying fresh local produce primarily through a community supported agriculture program. Initially having an intense interest in agriculture but no real experience or ties with agriculture, she thought a CSA was a good way to start small and try it out with no major capital outlay. The decision for her proved to be a good one.

“I love farming and would want to farm no matter what,” says Masterson. “But the weekly interaction with the CSA customer is a huge benefit to me. I’m able to visit, share recipes, and have my food appreciated by our customers– just having that direct, heartfelt and thoughtful interaction on a regular basis means so much.”

More farmers and more consumers in Oregon are seeing the value of the farm direct relationship.


Interested in joining a CSA?  View this awesome map created by the City of Portland.

Wondering what to do with all that kohlrabi from your CSA or the late summer bumper crop of zucchini from your garden?  Below you’ll find a message from our friend Katherine Deumling about a wonderful new service she is providing to our community.


Cook With What You Have has just launched its Seasonal Recipe Collection! Now you can cook even more, eat better, and never waste any of those precious vegetables you buy or wished you bought but didn’t because you weren’t sure what to do with them.

The collection is 500 + recipes, organized alphabetically by vegetable, from the common to the lesser known. For $25/year you have access to tips and techniques and recipes for the bounty we have at our fingertips, with new features every week.

I have been cooking with our local produce for years while writing recipes for CSA farmers and their members. I have come to love the garlic scapes and fava beans, the giant purple mustard greens, the cauliflower and winter greens as well as the more common peppers, tomatoes, green beans, snap peas and corn and so much more.

I feel fortunate to live in a climate that allows year-round cultivation and even more fortunate to have skilled and dedicated farmers who provide a staggering bounty of vegetables, herbs and fruits and make the most of each month of the year. Learn more about my background and approach to making the most of our bounty.

So what do you do with the lesser known items or when you’re in a rut and want new ideas for your favorite vegetable or a way to preserve it, pickle it, stretch it or move through a mountain of it? Let me help you! Join the Cook With What You Have family and my collection of 500+ recipes will become your recipes.


Fennel Frond and Garlic Scape Yogurt Sauce

fennel frond garlic scape yogurt sauce IITry this sauce with grilled vegetables or seafood.  I served this recently with grilled fennel and garlic scapes and grilled salmon.

Makes about 3/4 cup sauce


½ cup (or more) finely chopped fennel fronds

1 garlic scape, minced or 2 cloves new/green garlic with some of the stalk, if attached and tender, minced

Generous ½ cup Greek yogurt (full fat preferably)

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ a lemon (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon good olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning. It should be good and lemony and a bit spicy from the garlic.


duemlingKatherine Deumling is the owner and operator of Cook With What You Have – a small business devoted to making cooking a regular, delicious, and creative part of people’s lives. She partners with area farmers markets to promote local produce and works with non-profits, public agencies, and businesses to empower people to create healthy, delicious meals.

Katherine is the chair emeritus of the Board of Directors of Slow Food USA. She previously served as a Slow Food chapter leader in Portland, OR. Katherine is a Sister on the Planet Ambassador for Oxfam America. She was the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship that allowed her to study food and culture in rural Mexico and Italy for a year in 1996. Katherine is active in the food community in Portland and is an avid gardener and cyclist.

By Kelly Merrick

tomatostartsIs it just me, or is everyone’s schedule packed full of activity? These days I feel like I am constantly moving from one thing to another, with hardly a moment to breathe in between.

But if the market activities planned for the next month are any indication of how busy market staff have been, then no, I am definitely not the only one, because wow, is there some market news to be shared!

First, let’s cover what’s happening this weekend:

  • Julie Merry of The Merry Kitchen will host the Market Play Zone at the King Market this Sunday, June 1. Bring your little ones by to make and sample strawberry swirl dip!
  •  In other news, three of our very own market vendors have been nominated for Local Hero Awards, hosted by Edible Portland. The awards honor businesses who are transforming how they engage with the community, source ingredients and care for their employees, animals, land. This year, 24 local businesses were nominated, including Starvation Alley in the beverage artisan category; Sun Gold Farm in the farm category; and Tails and Trotters in the retailer category.

If you’re a fan of these three vendors (and you should be!) you can visit www.ecotrust.org/project/local-hero-awards/ to cast your vote. But hurry, because voting ends May 31.

Several vendors will also be making their first appearance of the year at this week’s Portland State University Market:

  • IMG_6223Unger Farms (berries!)
  • Baird Family Orchards (cherries!)
  • FoodWaves
  • Eva’s Herbucha

While a few others will be making their monthly appearance:

  • Cascade Naturals
  • Jacobsen’s Salt

Second, let’s cover what’s happening at the market in June:

  • Three markets opening: Northwest on Thursday, June 5, Kenton on Friday, June 6 and Pioneer Courthouse Square on Monday, June 16.
  • Kids Cook at the Market also begins in June and runs through the end of August. The cost per child is $5, and market staff asks that you sign up prior to visiting the market, as class sizes are limited.
  • Chef in the Market will also make its debut June 7, kicked off with Chef Todd Koebke of Sabin Schellenberg Center. Chef demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. on the center stage at the PSU Saturday Market, each Saturday from June through September, and are a great opportunity to get to know local chefs and try freshly-prepared market ingredients.

And third, let’s cover just a few of the delicious and seasonal goodies you can get at the market this week:

  • IMG_6214Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries!
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Asparagus
  • Fava beans
  • Tomato starts
  • Herb starts

Happy shopping!

group photo 5-14


A partnership between Sisters Of The Road, Portland Farmers Market and New Seasons Market

From Kris Soebroto, Cafe and Development Co-manager, Sisters Of The Road

Sisters Of The Road (Sisters) has always been at the forefront of challenging a food system that does not prioritize the right to “good food” for those experiencing homelessness and poverty. Throughout the summer 2014 farmers market season, Sisters is initiating Healthy Plate Project, a collaboration with Portland Farmers Market and New Seasons Market, that will show another innovative way for healthy food to be truly accessible for all.

robert kathy 5-14

A Sisters of the Road volunteer picking out fresh local produce from the farmers market

At Sisters, volunteers are “paid” in punch cards for work done to help the Cafe serve its 250 daily meals. Volunteers do anything from serving food and drinks to bussing tables, plating food, hosting bathrooms and handing out timeslot reservations. A half hour of work at Sisters is paid with a $3.00 punch card – enough for a meal and drink for two. For the past 35 years, these cards have been earned, shared and traded between Sisters customers; often a volunteer will give cards they’ve earned to friends and newcomers.

Sisters punch cards can be turned in for delicious meals in the Cafe, but until now, there has been no other location to redeem these hard-earned cards. This summer, customers will be able to redeem their punch cards at area farmers markets. With a grant from New Seasons Market, Sisters customers will be shopping at a number of Portland Farmers Markets both downtown and on the east side.

angel 5-14

Punch cards can be used to purchase herb and vegetable starts too

Healthy Plate Project coincides with Sisters Of The Road’s summer matching gift challenge, Full Plate Project, that celebrates the work done in their Cafe to fill both the hearts and plates of Sisters community. Donations to Full Plate Project make an extra special impact because during June and July, every donation will be matched $1-for-$1 by a pool of generous donors. Only when healthy food is available to everyone will all our plates be filled. Support Sisters work to bring healthy food to those who need it the most by donating here.

ABOUT SISTERS OF THE ROAD: Founded in 1979, Sisters Of The Road uses nonviolence to support community driven solutions to the calamities of homelessness and poverty. Sisters’ Cafe is open to everyone, serving low cost, hot, nutritious meals. Sisters also provides job training, support to parents and children, and innovative solutions to the issues surrounding poverty and homelessness through self and community advocacy.


jgf 012

Pierre & Family

Pierre Kolisch began selling his Juniper Grove cheese directly to customers a long time ago, back when our market was located in the Albers Mill Parking lot, roughly 1997. Then he was part of the vanguard, one of the visionary farmers and artisans who believed there was an audience looking for cheeses that weren’t individually wrapped. At the time there were only a handful of farmers markets in Oregon and fewer than under 2,000 in the entire US. Pierre will be wrapping up his tenure at Portland Farmers Market, leaving us with a disproportionate number of award winning local cheesemakers and a vibrant market culture that now features over 8,000 registered Farmers Markets in the states.

Besides the move to Portland State, Pierre, who began studying cheesemaking in France a dozen years before he sold at PFM, has seen changes galore in the local food culture says, “The number of cheese makers has increased, and the quality of cheese has improved. I applaud the Portland Farmers Market for maintaining its focus on farmer produced food, and for striking a balance between entertainment and an outlet for serious small scale producers.”

PFM’s Operation director, Jaret Foster says, “Juniper Grove has always delighted our shoppers with their fine cheeses; Buche, with it’s characteristic wheat straw, the Pyramid and Tumalo Tomme to name a few. I know many chefs as well that have created dishes centered around Juniper Grove’s cheeses, especially their delicious fromage blanc. They will be missed!”

Next up for Pierre? He will continue to live in the Bend/Redmond area with his family and will be engaged in, “Doing management intensive grazing of my sheep flock, growing hay, and growing potatoes for the local fresh market.”

Come and say goodbye, thank Pierre for helping build the market we see and enjoy.  And don’t to forget to pick up some of Juniper Grove’s cheese while you still can. Saturday at our Portland State Market between 8:30-2.

IMG_1276Food is on the agenda this weekend, well a little more than usual anyway. Friday night – the dynamic, fun, knowledgeable, vegan, book writing vegetable lover and all around good guy, Bryant Terry will be in Kenton to talk about food as part of his life journey. Details are on this very blog below or click this.

If Friday night is movie night and you’ve already seen The Lego Movie, and improbably don’t want to see it again, the equally awesome and not just because everything is awesome, Growing Cities is playing in town. The documentary is a fundraiser for PSU’s (our Saturday Market host) Learning Gardens Laboratory. You can watch the trailer here or learn more about why high density urban environments might be the new agrarian ideal by learning more about the garden lab at this link.

DSC_0478Speaking of PSU…The big show, with over 150ish vendors runs this and every Saturday through Christmas. Breakfast, lunch and stuff for dinner with the possibility for eleveneses and brunch thrown in. Everything you can grow, ranch, fish, bake, artisan or monger in the pacific NW; all in one spot. All sales go directly to farms and vendors who have worked so hard to give Portland such a good reputation for its foodism.

Sunday is our King Market. Think of it as 1/5 the size (but not 20% of the Market) of PSU, tucked in N/NE Portland offering a chance to meet and mingle with friends and neighbors. King runs every Sunday until Thanksgiving. Join us between 10-2. If four hours of local foods aren’t enough for you? Team PFM, will be at the Kenton Street Fair this week between 10-6 sampling, strawberries from, I believe, our market bike – and it’s a sight to behold. The fair, despite metrological predictions to the contrary will weather worthy of the neighborhood this year. PFMProducePedaler


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,168 other followers