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Archive for April, 2010

Market Report – April 30

Its all new – Portland Farmers Market launches 3 new Markets in the next 7 days. King Market, gets going first – located between Alberta and Prescott on NE 7th, The King Market begins its 2nd season this Sunday – May, 2nd at 10am.

Wednesday at 10 am, at the seemingly paradoxical North end of the South Park Blocks, the Shemanski Market gets going. Formerly known as the Downtown Market, the newly named Shemanski Market, pays tribute to the patron who donated the fountain bearing his name in the middle of the Market.

On Thursday, Buckman Market kicks off its season. The Market that used to be Eastbank, begins its 2010 campaign – still in the same location at Hinson Church – Buckman has changed its name to better reflect its neighborhood location & supporters. Now with an extra ½ hour for shoppers, the start of the market moves up to 3pm.

Also new, Portland Farmers Market has a new website. The students at Art Institute of Portland designed a website that is 100% less crowded and more pretty. Special thanks to AIP leads Tom Wells, Isaiah Downing, Brianne Baker and Ky Belderrain, as well as our own Mona Johnson for making this happen. You can visit their handy work here.

Julie Merry of The Merry Kitchen will be providing on hand instructions for the young cooks at the King Market this week between 10-12. Children of any age can make veggie slaw lettuce wraps for free.

At PSU there is a beverage extravaganza – Hot Lips Soda, Oregon Kombucha and Arcane Wines pour it off. Sol returns with their frozen liquids. For those who like solids Sexton Ranches and The Total Pig return this week selling lamb & beef and pork respectively and Gee Creek and Square Peg have produce for Marketeers.

While April offered the chance to get growing, May entices people to get moving as part of the Market’s bike month. PSU Bike Hub will be donating time and expertise to make small repairs on your bike at every market in the month of May.

Tim Connor and The Dapper Cadavers are on PSU’s North Stage. 5th Gear Bluegrass – Galynne Davis- folk-rock the South Stage this Saturday. While Sunday at King, James Clem and later The Gordon Neal Herman Trio provide music to shop by. Beginning next week, this very Market Report will be posted one day earlier, on every Thursday – a little preview: The first Thursday Afternoon edition we will welcome new Buckman Vendors Two Forks, Reister Farms and Hansen Family Farms and their heirlooms who you might have already read about here.

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There isn’t a standard definition for heirloom vegetables. Author Arthur Allen, whose search for the perfect tomato documented in his charming book, Ripe

Photo by Allison Jones

theorizes an heirloom is an ideal formed by nostalgia. Others stay away from metaphysical pondering and concretely  state an heirloom must predate the hybrid era, others draw a line in the sand and say the plants must have been around before the Luther Burbank epoch. Gardeners might surmise an heirloom is an open-pollinating plant – one that needs bees, bugs or breeze in order to fruit.

While Christie Hansen doesn’t have the power to decree what an heirloom plant is; she does have a passion for them. Heirlooms are the backbone of Hansen Family Farms – about 500 different varieties of plants are grown on their land in Canby, all but a handful are heirlooms and open-pollinators. Christie cites heirlooms as a way to be less reliant on seed companies, whose never-ending consolidation, limits availability of favorite cultivars. Whatever heirlooms are, what they are not is also important. And they are most certainly not Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Christie feels that GMOs  “only promote the use of pesticides which are overly used nowadays. [GMO] seed is making farmers forget how to farm…farmers are forgetting that there are other ways to take care of weeds or harmful bugs instead of spraying plants and soil with a contaminant.”

Mostly, Christie loves the flavor and “robust, colors, productivity, variety that is available!  Let’s take tomatoes, there are thousands upon thousands of varieties of heirloom/open-pollinated varieties.  The colors range from red, green, brown, purple, pink, striped, speckled, yellow, orange.  And they come in sizes from cherry to 4+ pounders!  I absolutely love the selection.”

The Hansen’s love growing heirlooms and abstain from chemicals and pesticides, by default they must love bugs. Hansen Farms bees are busy; their preying mantises prey and ladybugs aren’t that lady-like with aphids.

Hansen Family Farms is a new grower at the Buckman Market: Be sure to welcome them when the Market formerly known as Eastbank begins its season on May 6th. Until then you can visit them online at hansenfamilyfarm.com.

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The Market’s EverGreen initiative, a goal to reduce the Market’s landfill waste by 90% over the next 3 years gets its official launch tomorrow at 11:30. Mayor Sam Adams will ceremoniously recycle a container (its like the first pitch; but for Earth Day) and then talk about the glamorous world of recycling and waste reduction. The Market’s EverGreen coordinator, Ryan McLaughlin’s (more here), Earth Day wish-list is pretty short: Slow down to make sure your recycling is being sorted properly and ask questions as they arise. EverGreen also needs volunteers, if you have ever wanted to get up early on a weekend and recycle your heart out, now is your green moment, email ryan@portlandfarmersmarket.org for more info.

Market-goers, looking for a green way to hold your greens? Country Financial, a proud Market sponsor, is helping reduce the Market’s waste and the reliance on plastic bags by distributing reusable tote bags (My Country tote bag is green, boldly declares it loves farmers markets and has hauled close to an estimated 55 pounds of Raab away from PSU). Stop by the Country booth for your own bag and test your knowledge of recycling for fun and prizes.

Cracked Pots, an organization that uses art to encourage people to creatively look at trash, will be demonstrating uses for repurposed materials. For gardening pots, this week the Potting station is hosted by Metro Master Gardener – providing, research-based education about horticulture and household pests – Stop by for advice or visit the potting shed give your garden start a new home in a portable container – soil and fertilizer provided by Whitney Farms and Portland Nursery.

The Market welcomes the visiting culinarians from IACP to the Market. Also culinarily –  this Friday the Leftbank Annex is where local bounty and culinary artistry come together to create an exceptional family-style meal to benefit The Culinary Trust. More info here. Earlier this week Black Sheep Bakery, maker of righteously good food asked Market fans to provide a name for their vegan sausage, red pepper biscuit. You can read about Black Sheep here or you can visit them in the SE corner of the Market’s new block.

Earth Day is all about activity, next week will be all about the food – the Market kicks off at 8:30 Saturday morning.

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Reduce, Recycle, Ryan McLaughlin

Photo by Allison Jones

Ryan McLaughlin came to Portland from North Carolina in search of adventure. Heading Portland Farmers Market’s waste reduction and redirection campaign, Ryan has managed to elevate a concern for the environment into action. The program named EverGreen by Market fans through a Facebook contest, is funded by the City of Portland, specifically the Mayor’s office, and aims through waste reduction, composting and recycling to reduce the amount of waste the Market sends to the landfill by 90% over the next 3 years.

Waste – simultaneously unglamorous and vital to a healthy urban environment, is now an important facet of Ryan’s life as he works to reduce the 13,000 pounds generated by the Market each season. As a relatively new Portlander, Ryan has noticed the city’s green ideals are elevated to an even higher standard at the Market – “Shoppers expect us to uphold a strict environmental ethic, and look to us as community role models…I feel [an obligation] to our community to succeed.”

“Portlanders are an amazing set in the sense that most of them already recycle and many of them compost.” While our civic habit of recycling is nearly instinctual, the Market uses a slightly different system of sorting waste than the city’s curbside program. Rather than wishing for a greater level of environmental awareness, Ryan’s only desire for market goers is that they slow down a little and ask for help when they are unsure how our EverGreen program works.

Every Saturday you can find Ryan working to reduce and recycle the amount of waste generated at the market. If anyone is interested in hanging out at the EverGreen stations, Ryan promises the ideal combination of “meaningful impact and dirty fun”. Intrigued? Email ryan@portlandfarmersmarket.org for volunteer opportunities. For the armchair-internet type of activist you can raise consciousness via the information on our EverGreen page.  Metro’s Sustainable Living and the Portland Office of Planning and Sustainability‘s websites also contain info on how to make every day Earth Day.

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Black Sheep Bakery may specialize in dairy and egg free baked goods but their approach to baking is a challenge to make righteously good food rather than a self-righteous cuisine. Black Sheep’s owner, Amanda Felt, went to work in professional kitchens in her teens – learning every job at endless breakfast, lunch and dinner shifts. Of all the stations, Amanda took to the chemistry and precision of baking. A skill that would pay dividends – Amanda found the accuracy and precision needed to develop taste, texture and flavor without relying on dairy or eggs has more to do with Mr. Science than Moosewood.

As rogue baker, a vegan baker, Amanda definitely stood out in small flock and Black Sheep was an apt name for her enterprise, it was a name she could relate to. Calling your own tune is the hallmark of small business owners and the ability/willingness to go your own way has helped Amanda and her Black Sheep Bakery survive and thrive for 10 years. Launched, somehow fittingly, on Jan 1, 2000, Black Sheep spent the first 4 years of its existence as a wholesale baker. Making its first retail appearance at the late Eco-Trust market, the bakery soon expanded to a tiny coffee shop with a bike through window on SE 8th & Main. In 2006, Black Sheep opened their booth at PSU, a few years later, they expanded to a bigger, full service cafe and bakery at 523 NE 19th.

Amanda credits the Portland Farmers Market as “vital in moving us to retail readiness. It was a sound training step from being entirely wholesale. [The Market] gives us direct customer feedback, heaps of exposure and a forum to introduce new items to our customers before adding them to our wholesale offerings”.

This season, Black Sheep has returned to the expanded PSU. Tucked away in the SE corner of the new block, a location that might seem like a good place for a Black Sheep but with the extra space to graze it is really a destination to see how a non-traditional approach to a craft can produce, in Amanda’s words, “baked goods flavorful and light and soft enough to fool traditional eater.” Black Sheep can be found every Saturday at the PSU Market.

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The latest from inside the brain of senior market manager Jaret Foster:

9:17

The market is open and running smoothly. I step inside Smith to have a moment and to wash my hands. I’ve been picking up cigarette butts, crumpled napkins and sample cups spilled off of vendors booths and want to get the “market hands” washed off. Our staff and I often find ourselves indulging in some sweet morsel only to realize that we’ve got “market hand”, basically any combination of ashtray, WD40 , gack from the bottoms of the market totes and/or rusty bilge water from the bungee bucket. I pause to look out over the market from the slightly elevated 1st floor of Smith and, again, marvel at the beauty of the market from the hushed inside space. My radio crackles breaking the silence and Jamie calls out that the Senior Market Manager’s presence is needed at the Info Booth.

11:08

Nick, one of the market crew, needs to step away from selling tokens for a minute so I take a turn in the Info Booth. It’s nearing noon and I still haven’t eaten; I can feel the coffee wearing off and my stomach says eastsomething! I had tried not to but Fred from Salumeria DiCarlo has again brought us an amazing coconut bun from the Asian bakery he lives near and I am powerless at this point to stay away. I tear off a quarter of the large round ensuring that I get a good portion of the unnatural pale yellow coconut center. Yum. This will likely carry me until the lines die down at Tastebud and I can get a proper carb load (black pepper bagel, bacon and arugula sandwich) . Cookies from Two Tarts are there too but I have to be careful only eating latte and sugar lest I crash in the early PM. I glance up from the token machine to see two customers shouldering a whole spring lamb a piece. I laugh and call attention to it for others to be sure and see as that is one of my favorite market scenes. Another being when folks are so inspired by their freshness that they pry open a six pack of oysters and slurp them down right here in the park.

11:35

A customer has come up and the token machine has died in the middle of the transaction for the third time in the last 10 minutes and I am really ready to step out of Info. Like magic Jamie shows up with a heaving basket of produce which she says is for a family supper she’s hosting with her mom and sister on Sunday. Awesome, I say and, can you take this over for me, thanks. I walk up to the new south block to have look at how the lines are forming for hot food. People are everywhere. Lounging in the grass, all over the benches and on the steps of the library. The lines snake all over and I excuse myself through to check on John and Gabrielle at Cest Si Bon who’re kind of stuck in the middle. They are cranking out crepes and smiling so I don’t bother to ask how things are going, they look to be fantastic. The line for Pine State stretches for twenty feet outside the market and from my vantage point seems not to end. I ask Walt how it’s going and he looks up from a cauldron of frying chicken and says it’s going. Must be alright. Still need to ask them about the new shop on Alberta. Good to have them in my neighborhood.

12 noon

I see that one of the new EverGreen waste station’s compost bags is beginning to bulge out and take a shot at re-bagging their wire frames. Believe it or no there are directions on how to best install a garbage bag. You have to twist, tuck and flip the bag just right but it is really cool how, if done right, the seal gets tighter the heavier the trash. If done poorly, well, you can guess the outcome. I grab the full bag of compost and walk it the 100 yards or so to our sorting area behind Groundworks. I meet Ryan there our EverGreen Coordinator. He’s our newest employee and really great. He’s an Eagle Scout, no kidding, loves trash and finds inspiration in refuse. I take a turn at pulling the Starbucks cups (notably NOT compostable, they are plastic lined), lids, straws etc out of the compost bags. The compost hauler, Cedar Grove, will reject the whole load if it’s too contaminated with non-compostables so we do a back of house sort which involves some sticky, coffee stained messes.

1:09pm

Nick, Joe and I come together to chat about load out. Nick suggests going out to get the time signs a little early so that he can be back to direct traffic and begin break down right at two. Sounds good to me. I’m a little tired and think that getting home before 4:30 sounds really good. Joe and I talk about Gathering Together Farm and the south entrance of the market. We agree that opening it a little before the sanctioned 2:20 time will make for a few less headaches later on. Ten after two we’ll open up the west side for GTF and the hot food row to begin load out. That decided I walk over to the east side to talk with a few new vendors there about how best to get out of here.

1:45

I’m stopped by someone I vaguely recognize but can tell they have something to say to me and it’s likely not with admiration. They introduce themselves as vendors that did not get in this season and I recall that we had spoken late last summer. They are recently re-located from So. Cal and have a prepared food business. I thank them for their application but re-iterate that we have completed the application for the season and that they were not selected. They assure me that if we would just try the product we would change our minds. I hear this all the time. I thank them again but they insist that they will drop some samples by our office sometime soon. I let them know that we have a jury process that involves members of our Board, Vendors and staff and that though I like samples it will not change their status with PFM for this season. We shake hands and his wife holds my hand for a moment more to say that I really should try it, it’s the best. I nod and excuse myself. Call me a purist but 16 flavors of pre-packaged hummus and pita chips just does not seem a farmers market product.

2pm

At two we begin tear down in earnest. First off we delicately begin to remove the seating. Doing so we have found makes people get the message that the fun is over. The musicians are signaled to cease playing which also changes the air and re-enforces that it’s time to go home. We do all this to be proactive in clearing the market as much as possible before the vendors are allowed in with their trucks at 2:20. Joe has already talked to everyone on the west side of the south block about staging their vehicles in order of their booths with GTF backed in to be first in with New Cascadia, Souper Natural, Boyco Honey and DeNobles lined up to get in before the rest of Food Row. We pull all the signage and try to get most of the Manager’s & Info Booths packed up before the traffic starts flowing, with mixed success.

2:20

We open the flood gates with a radio call to all staff “2:20, 2:20, 2:20!” I stand by at the Managers Booth on Harrison St. Joe is up on the west side, south entrance and Nick and Jamie are at Info. I see that Marven’s canopies are, as per usual all broken down and he’s in his super tall diesel box truck right behind Chenin from Twist Wine. Curly’s behind them and the Seely Family is half in the street waiting for the line to move down. By some miracle SuDan Farm is already broken down and headed my way down Harrison from the west. I wave at them to roll ahead and warn some late buyers at Rogue creamery to watch the truck, please. Susie, the “Su” of SuDan is in the cab and mouths a thank you while she counts the days till. Dan is one of the orneriest farmers I’ve ever met and she is one of the sweetest. I suppose they balance each other out.

3:38

Amber and Anna have broken away to reconcile the tokens and Nick, Joe and I are left to finish packing up the truck. We are nearly the first in and always the last to leave. For the most part all of the vendors are gone by 3:30 or 4 and we are left with a rapidly quieting South Park Blocks. I look around and survey the grounds for leftover parcels and pick up any drifting trash. We try to leave the park as we found it but have 12,000 people make their way through the space in just over 5 hours so have some tidying up to do.

4:15

I have shouldered my take of fresh greens, the many layers of clothing I have shed over the day and finish off one of the cupcakes that Lisa from Petunia’s has brought us knowing that it is spoiling my appetite for what I hope is a big dinner at home and make my way to my truck. I thank the rest of the crew who are arguing over who’s gonna take the last of the treats and which bouquet is whose. The girls from Springhill Farm are sweeping up their stall and I thank them too. They ask when does the Wednesday market open again and I say before your know it, May 5th. The first week of May we open three markets; Sunday King, Wednesday Shemanski Park and the Thursday Buckman market in southeast. It will be great to have them all open but that is going to be a hell of week.

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Last week, marketeers were stunned by the appearance of 4 flats of Oregon Strawberries. Does this mean berries will be available again? Maybe, maybe not; depends on what is in the local fields and ready to go but there will be berry starts though from Berry Patch. And nice weather, you just knew if you waited long enough the sun would have to reappear eventually – Along with the sunshine there is a good chance of asparagus, 100% chance of lamb and beef from Sexton Ranches, Dulcet Sauces and Dressings and it is the last week for Laurel Valley Daffodils.

Nationally, April is Poetry Month; locally, we are in the midst of our own Ode to Food.  On Sunday, The City of Portland is hosting a panel discussion about climate change and food. This conversation is free and open to the public-  features Anna Lappe, author of Diet for a Hot Planet joined by the Director of the Oregon Tilth and representatives from the Oregon Environmental Council, Portland’s Food Policy advisor and Scott Givot, President, International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Later Sunday evening, Ms. Lappe will be reading from her new book and taking questions at Powell’s City of Books beginning at 7:30pm. Tangentially, Bill McKibben presents his new book Monday night at the Bagdad Theatre.

Portland often stands accused of being a foodie town; next week it becomes the the undisputed Foodie Capital of the world – the aforementioned Scott Givot welcomes 1,000s of IACP members to Portland for their annual convention. Along with Culinarians and discussions, there will be movies: Fresh, the movie; a documentary featuring Joel Salatin (who was profiled in Omnivore’s Dilemma) and (former NBA Hoopster, MacArthur Genius and Urban Farmer) Will Allen – will begin a limited run at the Hollywood Theatre on the 24th. In conjunction with the film, Joel Salatin will be giving 2 lectures on Monday the 19th, ticket info, here.

Wait there’s more…Tuesday night – Old Town Pizza is donating 30% of proceeds to Fresh Exchange, a fund matching program to help all Portland residents afford access to healthy food with the added bonus of keeping local dollars with local growers. You need a special coupon to activate the donation – Download and info here.

With all the talk and thought of food, there are practical events too…April shoppers can bring their purchased herb and vegetable starts to be potted in new, portable containers. Soil and fertilizer is supplied through the generosity of Portland Nursery and Whitney Farms. This week PEEPs, Portland Environmental Engagement Program, will be filling the containers. PEEPs works with local middle school youth to engage them in their community and build environmental awareness.

Or for the great indoorsmen – not mocking, I am one of you –  Need ideas how to turn veggies into dinner? 
Sign up for a cooking class with Cook With What You Have. There are open spaces for classes April 24 and 25.

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