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What The Raab!?

This post originally appeared on our Facebook Page

rapini

Raab isn’t controversial. Florida, circa 2000, that was controversial. Christian Laettner not getting ejected for his stomp; that’s controversial depending how seriously you take sports or Duke-hating. Something being sold as “arugula raab” or “kale raab’ doesn’t even doesn’t even rise to the level of contentious.

Calling something/anything raab or rapini or worse ‘rabe’ may provoke the purists’ ire, but that taxonomy tells a raaboconsumer that they’re looking at the early growth of a cruciferous veg. Even if it is not turnip raab, there’s nothing to get upset about: Raabs taste good and…we should be excited about delicious, leafy green things.

My recent favorite is raab-centric meal, is raab, sausage from Salumeria di Carlo and penne. Unsure how to cook it? Treat it like a leafy green. Still unsure, fold it into an omelette, it’s a seasonal pizza ingredient, but good enough that it just needs to be drizzled in olive oil – the real good [stuff] on this Jim Dixon of Real Good Food and I agree.

fred

Farmers Market Fund, an independent 501(c)3 charitable companion organization to Portland Farmers Market dedicated to providing increased access to healthy, locally grown food for low-income, elderly and underserved populations, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program for an Oregon SNAP incentive program called Double Up Food Bucks. This new comprehensive program will provide cash incentives to low-income Oregonians who receive benefits through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), for purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and through community supported agriculture.

In 2016 and 2017, the Oregon SNAP incentives program will benefit 46 farmers markets, managed by 35 different organizations, serving a mix of rural and urban communities. These markets are located in the Portland metropolitan area, the Willamette Valley, the North Coast, Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, and Eastern Oregon. The population in the beneficiary counties totals 3.5 million people, which represents approximately 90 percent of the state’s overall population.

“Encouraging low income families to put more healthy food in their grocery baskets is part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to improving the diet and health of all Americans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These creative community partnerships also benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants.”

“I am so gratified that Farmers Market Fund has earned this grant, which will provide thousands more low-income Oregonians with the opportunity to receive tasty and nutritious food at farmers market statewide,’’ said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). “Working families are often struggling to put healthy, quality food on the table, and today’s good news both helps to combat food insecurity in Oregon and boosts our local farm economy.”

How SNAP Works

For five years, Farmers Market Fund (FMF) has operated a SNAP incentive program called Fresh Exchange at Portland Farmers Market’s neighborhood markets. SNAP benefits are distributed through the Oregon Trail Card, an electronic benefits-transfer card similar to a debit card. Portland Farmers Market processes SNAP card transactions at market information booths, debiting the Oregon Trail Card in exchange for $1 tokens that shoppers can use at vendor stalls. Fresh Exchange has increased the buying power of SNAP recipients by providing a dollar-for-dollar cash match up to $5 to purchase fresh food at certain Portland Farmers Market locations.

Those matching funds have helped many Oregon families eat a lot more fresh produce, according to a survey of shoppers of Portland area markets in summer 2014. In the survey, one shopper at the Woodstock Farmers Market wrote, “Shopping at this market with SNAP matching funds is vital. Otherwise I could not afford to eat healthfully –  which is very important as I have medical concerns and need to stay healthy. The market is a weekly habit now thanks to the matching funds.”

Growing Impact of Farmers Market Fund

In 2012, FMF began convening all of the farmers markets that offer SNAP incentives in the northern end of the Willamette Valley. They regularly share best practices and have been working to bring their individual SNAP programs under a single umbrella so SNAP shoppers can use the incentives at any of these area markets.

The new Oregon SNAP incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks, allows FMF to achieve that goal for a comprehensive statewide program. The expansion allows FMF to take the next steps to ensure farmers market-based SNAP incentive programs reach their potential by creating a common program and increasing dollar-for-dollar matches for market produce up to $10 per visit.  The statewide program will increase the number of participating farmers markets and boost data collection about the impact these programs have on increasing the amount of local fruits and vegetables purchased.

“What started as a group of Northeast Portland neighbors coming together to get more farm-direct produce into the hands of low-income residents has sprouted into an Oregon-grown movement.  We are thrilled to have the opportunity to connect more Oregonians with fresh fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers” said Rosemarie Sweet, co-founder and board president of Farmers Market Fund.

The Oregon SNAP Incentive Program aims to:

  • Increase sales of fruits and vegetables at Oregon farmers markets purchased through SNAP by $790,000 over 2014 levels.
  • Increase the number of SNAP recipients redeeming their benefits at participating farmers markets by at least 25 percent from 2014.

“It is impossible to overstate the positive impact this grant will have on the health and agricultural economy of our communities as more Oregonians gain access to fresh, local food. It’s an investment whose returns will be felt into the future,” said Merianne Myers, who serves on the board of directors of North Coast Food Web,

Impressive Statewide Support

As a requirement of the grant application, the FMF team needed 100 percent local matching funds from foundations and partners. Support for the proposal garnered pledges of cash and in-kind support from about 50 partners, totaling more than twice the matching funds required.

The largest pledge of $175,000 came from the Meyer Memorial Trust. “Meyer Memorial Trust’s support for this project, combined with the Trust’s investment of $3.4 million in the state’s food system landscape since 2012, helps broaden the reach of the Farmers Market Fund’s Nutrition Incentive program,” said Doug Stamm, Meyer Memorial Trust’s CEO. “We look forward to improved access and health for low-income consumers through this important program.”

Long-time FMF supporter New Seasons Market has pledged $90,000 to the program. This is in addition to the financial support of SNAP at farmers markets that they have given over the past eight years, which exceeds $250,000. Their foundational and loyal backing nurtured the budding of FMF and many other farmers market’s SNAP incentive programs.

“New Seasons Market is committed to ensuring that healthy, local foods are available to everyone. We are pleased to support the Farmers Market Fund as they provide much needed resources to farmers markets in Oregon. We believe that farmers markets are a crucial component in our regional food economy. Using these funds toward matching SNAP dollars benefits not only food insecure families and individuals, but also our small farmers,” said Wendy Collie, New Seasons Market CEO.

Other key funders and supporters include Kaiser Permanente Hospitals, Portland Farmers Market, Friends of Zenger Farm, Oregon Food Bank, and numerous farmers markets and food systems organizations around the state.

Programs to Further Increase Access to the Bounty of the Region

CSA Benefits: As part of the grant, FMF will partner with Friends of Zenger Farm on an innovative community supported agriculture (CSA) approach to SNAP incentives. Friends of Zenger Farm has developed and trained numerous CSA farms on redemption of SNAP benefits, and will expand that work as part of this project to reach more households and benefit more farmers across the state. This model has great potential to be replicable across the country as an additional means of directly connecting fruit and vegetable growers with SNAP recipients, with all the benefits a weekly box of produce affords

The goal is to increase the purchase of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables by SNAP recipients by providing dollar- for-dollar incentives for CSA shares by at least 80 percent. This represents a 45 percent increase in the number of households using SNAP benefits and redeeming SNAP incentives for fruits and vegetables.

Farmer-based electronic benefits: The program expansion also allows FMF to field test new farmer-based electronic benefit technology (EBT) redemption methods that may prove to be the future of federal benefit redemption at farmers markets. This technology holds promise in the smaller rural markets with limited staffing capacity to manage token distribution that is common across Oregon.

Staffing Up for Launch

Portland Farmers Market’s executive director, Trudy Toliver, who also acts as FMF’s director, led the pursuit of the grant. With funds from the grant, Portland Farmers Market will soon hire a program manager.

Toliver said, “Double Up Food Bucks will help to feed Oregon families in two ways: by putting food on the table for low-income families, and supporting Oregon’s family farms.”

About Farmers Market Fund

Founded in 2012, as the charitable companion to Portland Farmer Market, Farmers Market Fund provides low-income, elderly and underserved populations in the Portland region increased access to healthy, locally grown food. The Fund supports and operates Fresh Exchange, a SNAP-matching program available to low-income Portland residents receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Fresh Exchange increases the buying power of SNAP recipients by providing additional funds to purchase fresh food at various Portland Farmers Market locations. The Fund is currently building a collaborative effort among farmers markets in the region to expand SNAP matching programs region-wide. Leaders of the organization also aim to further serve those in need by providing education about nutrition, and helping to remove the barriers to accessing fresh, local food. For more information, visit farmersmarketfund.org. Farmers Market Fund contracts with Portland Farmers Market for professional services.

Urban Gleaners

Gleaning is a second collection of food that happens after a harvest. Gleaning has its roots in common law and doctrine, but the act of using food to feed those in need is still practiced in modernity. Urban Gleaners is a local organization who triangulate a waste not/want not perspective, action and thoughtfulness and Portland is better for it. Diana Foss, Urban Gleaners’ Director was kind enough to share the following post and pictures with us. 

Urban Gleaners connects hungry kids to edible, surplus food.  We collect food that would otherwise be thrown away, food that is still wholesome, and deliver it to students and their families through our Food to Schools program. We have been gleangleaning at PFM markets for the past 7 years. Every week, Urban Gleaners’ volunteers stop by at the end of market to remind vendors about our program and to ask whether there is excess produce to donate. We leave bags to fill, plus a donation receipt, and then come back to pick up the filled bags.

We bring the donated produce back to our refrigerated warehouse in the Central Eastside, where it’s sorted and cleaned, then pack it up along with donated bread, dairy products and prepared foods to bring to pantries at 17 elementary schools in east and north Portland and Gresham. These are schools where 75-95% of the students rely on free school lunches for what may be the only meal they receive in any given day.  Food from Urban Gleaners helps entire families with fresh, nutritious food that they can count on.

Portland is surrounded by incredible bounty, some of the most productive gleanagricultural land in the world. Yet in the midst of this foodie culture that celebrates the fresh, seasonal and organic, there is also incredible privation and want. Studies have shown that up to 40% of the fresh produce in this country is thrown away without ever having been tasted. Urban Gleaners fills this gap, getting fresh food directly to hungry kids and their families. We’re very grateful for the ongoing support of the Portland Farmers Market, and look forward to another productive partnership this season.

The Cabbaging

People will occasionally ask what’s my favorite type of food. Afterwards, no one likes my response. I believe, my polite inquisitors would be far happier with a nationalistic answer of Italian or Thai or would possibly accept a categorical answer like cheese. I’ve yet to meet the person willing to accept my prima facie response of “food stuffed in other food”

I don’t know what’s so hard believe about this. Egg rolls, pierogi, sandwiches, ravioli, tacos/burritos, dumplings, pie (PIE! people, pie) and today’s dinner, stuffed cabbage leaves, just to name a few.

CabbageTake Cabbage: It’s so ready to be filled with other ingredients plus it’s good, in season (inexpensive) and you can find it at the PSU Market in Napa, purple, green and my favorite kind to stuff, Savoy. Stuffed cabbage leaves can be filled with anything, ground beef, pork or lamb, mushrooms, sauerkraut, chopped up bacon – it’s the ultimate what’s on hand dish. Today, I filled the blanched leaves with ground turkey, rye bread crumbs, grated onion, rice and about the only 3 items I would say are necessary – caraway, garlic and paprika. DSC_1763

I always make more than I need, because what’s the point of making one stuffed cabbage leaf? I give the extras away and lest you think my gift of stinky cabbage filled with sundry ingredients is spurned, people crave them. Stuffed cabbage leaves end up being the single most requested dish people ask that I teach them: Because they’re good, because they’re just the type of recipe that our parents would have skipped and grabbed the box of mac and cheese instead. One friend ended up being such a natural, she was able to roll the leaves with one hand, a skill she claims she acquired quite innocently.

You should try this at home. Pick up your ingredients at the PSU Market between 9-2 while the chilly weather lasts.

Pickled [stuff] would be in second place, followed closely by sour cream. No shame in the bronze here, sour cream. DSC_1803

 

 

You’re thinking I’m going to say Sun, right? I respect you to much to lie to you. All the good things under the grey. Cabbage

In Season: Cabbage, kale, crab, potatoes, winter squash & beets. 

One of the best things about last week’s market was the reminder of seasons. I was at the market on Saturday, on the store on Monday. Market stuff is way less expensive when you stay in season. Granted, that’s easy since all the leafy, rooty, cabbagey things are my favorites. I even have a dog that loves roasted cauliflower (and tennis balls). This is a good season to buy veg. DSC_0806

About three weeks ago I thought I knew how farmers work to bring crops to market in all months. Then I started interviewing people for this Oregonian article, turns out I don’t know as much as I thought I did. I’m constantly amazed at the generosity of people who work with food for a living. The kindness, the knowledge the willingness to share their expertise with me for no other reason than I emailed or dialed their number. I am awed and thankful.

Portland State President Wim Wiewel opened the Market’s new 12 month a year home, with PSU Alum and PFM Director Trudy Toliver: Watch below:

Shopping MioMarket at PSU tomorrow 9-2. Just in time, I just used my last market egg yesterday. I know the store sells them, but it’s not the same. A duck egg from The Dancing Chicken Farm, Tillamook white cheddar and bread – sometimes it’s from the Pearl; others its Dave’s Killer Bread – It’s my NW sandwich, and a damn good way to start the day. Long live local foods.

Believe it or not, there are more than eggs at the Market. Two Tarts Bakery or possibly 2.0 Tarts Bakery returns to where they started: making baked goods exclusively for the Market. They aren’t the only Bakery – Mio’s Delectables fusing Japanese flavors with Parisian DSC_0038technique.

It’s not all just cookies – Linda Brand Crab, for the new year – both Calendar and Lunar, the Year of the Goat (Sometimes Sheep) is a month away but it’s never too soon to start celebrating. Pono, Deck Family, Pine Mountain and Sudan will be there with roasts, steaks, sausages and maybe if mood strikes you Osso Bucco.

And what goes better with a roast than mashed or roasted potatoes. Thanks Rossi Farms.

All in all tDSC_0062here will be 60 vendors there selling everything from a bite for now and those hearty greens that you promised yourself would be the backbone of your healthy 2015. Eat your greens and eat what you enjoy; we’ll see you at Portland State on Saturdays this year, all year.

Thanksgiving the Local Way

by Kelly Merrick

I love this time of year because it means I get to spend more time with my family. However, the holidays can also tend to be a busy and hectic time. This can feel especially true for those who are hosting or responsible for contributing to holiday meals. Between meal planning and shopping, confirming the guest list and cleaning the house, there’s a lot to do to prepare for a holiday meal.

10550178_10154774448115123_4371178373523415165_o Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and if you’re playing the role of host or even if you’re just contributing to a meal, I’m sure you’re brainstorming ways to reduce the stress that comes along with those responsibilities.

I don’t have a lot of  experience hosting holiday meals but I can give you this tip: shop early and shop at one of the three Portland Farmers Market locations that will be open between now and Thanksgiving. The PSU Market happens this Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9 to 2, then there’s the King Market on Sunday, Nov. 23 from 10 to 2, and for the first time ever, the Shemanski Park Market will be open on Wednesday, Nov. 26 from 10 to 2.

10662033_10154667551985123_3877959342058569515_oThink about it – instead of navigating a shopping cart through crowded grocery store aisles, you could be walking leisurely through the market while sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with vendors to find everything on your shopping list!

For many people, Thanksgiving is all about the sides, but there will be plenty of protein options between the three markets too. You can pick up some seafood, poultry, and other things to roast. At this point, most vendors are sold out of turkeys, but if you act fast you might be able to scoop up one of the few remaining birds at Champoeg Farm. Tails and Trotters is taking orders for holiday hams.

10431286_10154769930375123_4903487390623950539_oIf you’re following tradition and making stuffing, you’ll have many options to find bread, eggs, sausage, chestnuts, herbs, onions, celery and mushrooms. Speaking of tradition, if cranberry sauce is on your menu, head directly to Eagle Organic Cranberries (PSU and Shemanksi) or Starvation Alley Farms (PSU and King).  Canned sauce has nothing on these fresh berries.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without all of the sides, so it’s a good thing there are endless ingredients for nearly any recipe. You’ll be able to find a variety of winter squash (my current favorite: delicata), potatoes for mashing, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, celery root, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets and more for 10733830_10154728706590123_3032092836439876105_othe base of your sides. To lighten things up, pick up some lettuce or chicories for a fresh salad.  You can find salad dressing and vinegar at Blue Heron Herbary (PSU), and you might be surprised by the variety of sauces and condiments you can find at other vendors’ booths – just look around.

To drink, pick up some fresh apple or pear cider and perhaps a drinking vinegar from Blossom Vinegars (PSU) to try out a mocktail recipe. For the grown ups, real cocktails can be made with spirits from Stonebarn Brandy Works (Shemanski) and House Spirits (King and PSU) there is wine from Twist (PSU), mead from Nectar Creek (PSU) and hard cider from Wandering Aengus (PSU).

If you’re feeling up to making dessert from scratch with some mighty fine local ingredients, head over to Gee Creek (PSU) to pick up some locally milled flours. If you’re not the baking kind, then you’re covered there too. Market Fruit/Packer Orchard, Divine Pie, Lauretta Jean’s, Petunia’s, Black Sheep Bakery, and Two Tarts all offer an assortment of sweets that will satisfy a crowd of any size.

99580010And last, but certainly not least, there are the beloved appetizers, which in my family are almost as anticipated as the Thanksgiving meal itself. And, as you’d expect, the markets have you covered there too. You can find cheese (goat, cow, sheep, fresh, aged, vegan), hazelnuts and walnuts, cured meats, pickles, bread, jellies, and fruit to create a smorgasbord of snacks to tide you over until meal time.

Phew! That’s a lot to take in, so I suggest you stop reading, grab a pad and paper and make room on your calendar to visit one of the markets that will allow you to stock up on everything you need for your big meal.  To help with your planning, a lit of vendors available at each market are listed below.  Happy Holidays!

Click here to view an interactive map of vendors at the PSU Market for Saturday, Nov. 22.

The current list of vendors at the King Market for Sunday, Nov. 23:

Alsea Acre Alpines
Bushel and Peck Bakeshop
C & K’s Flower Garden
C’est Si Bon!
Dancing Chicken Farm LLC
Deck Family Farm
Enchanted Sun Breakfast Burritos
Groundwork Organics
Hot Mama Salsa
House Spirits Distillery
Kiyokawa Family Orchards
Linda Brand Crab & Seafood
Mudjoy Farm, LLC
Night Owl Roasters
OlyKraut, LLC
Starvation Alley Farms
Temptress Truffles
Tierra del Sol Cuisine
Willamette Valley Cheese
Winter Green Farm
Winters Farms

The current list of vendors at the Shemanski Park Market for Wednesday, Nov. 26:

Stephens Farm
Gathering Together Farm
Refuge Gardens
Salmon Creek
Gabriel’s Bakery
Pearl Bakery
Packer Orchards
Olympic Provisions
Two Tarts
Greenville Farm
Springwater Farm
Missionary Chocolates
Portland Creamery
Lucky Farm
C&K Flower Farm
Dancing Chicken
Wildhare Backyard Farm
Salvador Molly
Bingo Sandwiches
Tastebud
Honey Mama
Happy Cup Coffee
Eagle Organic Cranberries
Stone Barn Brandyworks

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