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

In just a few weeks, on Friday, June 6th, our Kenton Farmers Market opens.  In the meantime, food lovers have something else to look forward to in the Kenton neighborhood.

61DUkUn680L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Bryant Terry, acclaimed chef, author and food justice activist, returns to Portland on May 16th to share recipes from his new cookbook, AFRO-VEGAN. Terry brings the history of these culturally rich recipes alive and adds his own twist to make them delicious and healthy. While demonstrating recipes Terry shares his ideas on food, culture, health and community.

Enjoy tastings by Chef Bradley and his crew at Po’shines, plus music and poetry round out the evening.

AFRO-VEGAN will be available for purchase – just in time to use those recipes with the abundance of farm-fresh produce available throughout the summer!

When: Friday, May 16th, 2014

Time: 7 pm – 9 pm

Where: Celebration Tabernacle, 8131 N Denver Ave., Portland, OR

Cost: $8 Slow Food & Celebration Tabernacle members $10/non-members

Tickets: Slow Food Portland

Seating is limited; reservations are required. There are some tickets available at reduced rates. Contact Cheryl Brock for more information.

In 2002, while studying the history of the Black Panthers’ free-breakfast programs, Bryant Terry became interested in how social injustices are reflected in urban food access, and he began thinking about how to use cooking to affect change. After founding the youth food initiative, b-healthy! (Build Healthy Eating and Lifestyles to Help Youth), Terry co-authored Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen with Anna Lappé. He also wrote Vegan Soul Kitchen, a cookbook of fresh, healthy and creative African-American cuisine. As a 2008-2009 Food and Society Policy Fellow, Terry has initiated the Southern Organic Kitchen Project, which works to re-create the foodways of traditional Southern and soul cooking in a healthy way. In his work and cooking, Bryant Terry is a tireless advocate for restoring the kitchen culture of under-served and excluded communities.


Meet your new ride
Meet your new ride

Portland Farmers Market Seeks Market Bike Coordinator

Portland Farmers Market (PFM) is in search of a part-time seasonal Market Bike Coordinator (MBC) to join our team for the summer. Returning for its second season on the streets of Portland is the “Produce Pedaler” market bike, our Dutch cargo bike outfitted to display and sell the bounty of the season. The MBC will sell fresh market goods from the bike on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays downtown June through August. The MBC will also bring the bike to occasional community events and festivals throughout the summer. The ideal candidate is fit, bike-savvy, has an open/flexible schedule throughout the summer, is a self-starter, has a strong sales background and customer focus, and an interest in fresh, local foods.

See below for more details and visit our website here to learn how you can apply for the position.

Position Description

The primary role of the Market Bike Coordinator is to ride and deliver market goods to locations around Portland on Portland Farmers Maket’s “Produce Pedaler” Dutch cargo market bike. Additionally, the Market Bike Coordinator is responsible for the requisition of product, physical appearance, display and sales off of the bike. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays June-August required.

Primary responsibilities:

  • Delivery, set-up and tear-down of market bike & equipment.
  • Requisition, sales and reconciliation of market goods from vendors.
  • Customer service to both vendors and market bike shoppers.
  • Maintenance and organization of market bike & equipment.
  • Ensuring market bike is set up and ready for sales and events in a timely manner.
  • Ensuring the market bike is clean and product displayed is attractive and tidy throughout the day.
  • Safely operating the bike with attention to potential safety hazards for customers or pedestrians.


  • Comfortable riding a 10 foot, several hundred pound Dutch cargo bike in downtown Portland.
  • Able to lift 50 lbs. or more. This is a very physical job.
  • Experience working in a team environment but comfortable on your own.
  • Experience with direct customer service, sales, communications or related skills.
  • Flexible summer schedule; Mondays and Wednesdays June through August required.
  • Passion for local food and farms; knowledge of community food systems a plus.
  • Enthusiastic, pacesetter, sense of humor, adaptability, and ability to go with the flow.

In Season!

This Article was originally produced for the Oregonian’s FOODday

DSC_0123Asparagus is a picky plant: It requires specific soil, it takes years to establish a crop, fields are susceptible to disease and harvesting is labor-intensive. For those brave enough to grow it, asparagus has historically supplied farmers with an early-season cash crop, but imports from South America, Mexico and California have made the arrival of local asparagus less of a rite of spring and instead a seeming example of how local products cost more.

The result of the extended season, cheap imports and the plant’s finicky nature means less local asparagus. According to the USDA, Oregon’s farmers plant 75 percent fewer acres than they did 20 years ago. All these forces work in concert to change the way asparagus tastes or at least how you perceive the vegetable should taste.

Fresh asparagus is a sweet vegetable, about 4 percent natural sugar. Once picked, stalks convert that sugar to starch, and the longer asparagus waits in transport or sits on a shelf, the more fibrous, less sweet and more acrid it becomes. Thus, the two-week-old asparagus you buy at a store and keep in the fridge for a week becomes the baseline for how you think the plant tastes: slightly bitter and chewy. Once in a while, through planning or good fortune, you find the real deal — fresh, crisp and sweet, reminding you how asparagus ought to taste. The asparagus available at most farmers markets is delivered soon after harvest — often within a day, so the flavor will never be better unless you head out to the field with shears and a pot of simmering water.DSC_0081