Archive for September, 2011

October begins with a bang and possibly some sunshine. Okay, two smarter-than me phones at the office predict different futures, an iPhone predicts showers, but the office android forecasts sun, so we’re going with the Droid on this one.  One thing we can guarantee?  A spate of activity that promises something for everyone.  Check it out:

Organic Valley will be on hand to celebrate 16 years of working with local farmers. They will be sampling their milk and…wait for it…cookies. Not just any cookies, the milk friendly Two Tarts cookies. Stop by their booth during Market hours on Saturday.

Dave’s Killer Bread will also be at the PSU Market all day selling their whole grain goodness.

Just this week we interviewed Congressman Earl Blumenauer about the upcoming Farm Bill. Now to cap off our Congressional Week, Senator Jeff Merkley will be at the Market between 8:30-9:30 to tour the Market and meet our vendors.

It would’ve been fitting if we somehow arranged to have Portlander Dave Frishberg sing his Schoolhouse Rock classic, “I’m Just a Bill” for the occasion. Instead we have FOTT (the official acronym for Friend of Trudy Toliver, Market Director) Margie and her band Still Kick’n performing the 2nd set at the Market between 11:30 and 2.

Eli gettin' piggy wit it

Wait there’s more…Our Chef in the Market cooking demo stars the devout but not orthodox Salumarian* Eli Cairo of Olympic Provisions fame demonstrating pig butchery beginning at 10 am. *Warning: Don’t use Salumarian in Scrabble without expecting to be successfully challenged.

Portland is one of the 5 cities that is being visited by LG Electronics & Good Housekeeping to promote Energy Awareness Month. And kind of like a carbon offset, Gabrielle Chavez, author of The Raw Food Gourmet will be balancing out Eli’s porcine presentation. Gabrielle, founder of Share the Love Catering, will perform cooking demonstrations of “Rawmazing* Recipes” using locally grown seasonal produce and a variety of raw ingredients. *Ditto on the Scrabble usage.

PSU Market runs Saturday between 8:30 and 2.  See you there.  We did close 3 seasonal Markets for the year this week at Pioneer Courthouse Square, SE’s Buckman and the NW Market, but you can shop our King Market (7th & Wygant) on Sundays and enjoy farm fresh goods downtown at the Shemanski Market (Park & Salmon) through the end of the month.

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Words, Books & Chocolate

Wordstock, Portland’s literary jewel, is bringing 175 authors to the convention center October 8-9. Greg Netzer – Executive Director of Wordstock to some, Mr. Alma of Alma’s Chocolates to others, stopped by our NW market to talk shop.

Today is the last Market of the season for our NW 19th & Everett location, we’ll be back in the spring. Stop by today or enjoy the Market virtually below.

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Next year, the Farm Bill will be debated and renewed. Passed every 5ish years, the Farm Bill allocates federal spending in the billions of dollars annually. (You can read more about the history of the Farm Bill here.) The legislation is so massive it touches every corner of agriculture from planting seeds to purchasing groceries. Despite the bill’s long reach, it has only been in recent years – thanks largely to the work of Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle and Eric Schlosser – that people outside of farming have begun paying attention.

With interest in omnibus legislation at an all time high, well this legislation anyway, we were fortunate enough to be able to ask Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Oregon’s 3rd District) about the Farm Bill and its impact on local farmers, ranchers, growers and Market goers. A big thank you to the Congressman and his office staff for taking time to answer questions about an issue we are passionate about at the Market. 

Congressman Blumenauer speaking at our 20th Birthday earlier this year. Layering clothes like a good Portlander.

1) Without getting all wonky about it, could you explain what the “Farm Bill” is? (Is it one piece of legislation, its cost, how often is it renewed, etc.).

The Farm Bill is a massive comprehensive bill that dictates federal food and agricultural policy. It is arguably the single biggest piece of legislation affecting land use in the United States. Passed approximately every five years by the US Congress, the most recent version of the Farm Bill (The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008) cost $288 billion. The Farm Bill sets policy for everything from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as “food stamps”) to crop insurance, conservation, and rural development programs.

2) Michael Pollan feels we should call this legislation the Food Bill. More cynically, I think it should be called the “Crop Subsidy Omnibus”. Arguably the Farm Bill has little to do with strengthening the occupation of farming (A vocation the Census no longer tracks). What changes are you proposing to put the Farmer back in the Farm Bill?

Farmers, in my experience, don’t want big government handouts. Like the rest of us, they want to be able to do their job, provide for their families, and protect their quality of life. The federal government can help provide a safety net that cushions the inevitable insecurity of agricultural production, but its most important role should be in supporting research, marketing assistance and small loans to ensure that farmers have the access to capital they need. With these smaller, targeted investments, the Farm Bill can provide small farmers the support they need, while ensuring that the playing field is level and that the federal government isn’t wasting money on large agribusiness that do not need subsidies.

Title I Commodity payments in the Farm Bill are not applied equally to all states or all farmers: 62% of farmers receive no subsidy payments at all and ten states receive more than 50% of the subsidy payments.  In addition, 74 % of payments go to 10 % of farmers – comprised almost exclusively of enormous agribusinesses.

Earlier this year I offered an amendment to the Fiscal 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill capping commodity payments at $125,000 per entity. While the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 limited the amount of direct payments an agricultural entity can receive to $40,000 annually, and limited counter cyclical payments to $65,000 annually, there are no limits on market loan payments, loan deficiency payments and commodity certificates.

I have also led efforts to boost specialty crop funding for fruits, nuts, and vegetables and protect conservation, research, and [protect] nutrition programs from devastating cuts.

3) Two part question: (A) Agriculture, as practiced, can be anything between a slash and burn enterprise to what Wendell Berry calls “Stewardship of the land”. How can the Farm Bill help build a sustainable, ecological and an environmentally strong economy? (Part B) Are farmers part of our future green workforce?

Farmers are facing new and increasing pressures from budget deficits, trade rules, urban sprawl, climate change, rising energy costs and shrinking water resources. The 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization is an opportunity to craft policies that present a new way forward for agriculture. Reliable funding for research, conservation, and programs such as “Farm to School” will help farmers and rancher adapt to a changes in the global economy and environment. The Farm Bill can help—by not forcing farmers to grow just six commodity crops and ensuring that multi-crop farmers receive the same support and insurance that commodity growers do.

Farmers are absolutely part of our green workforce. What we eat has almost as much of an impact on our carbon footprint as what we drive or where we choose to live. Without a reliable source of locally grown fresh foods, Americans have fewer choices and buy heavily processed, more expensive, less healthy foods.

In addition, agricultural production is playing an intriguing role as we work to develop answers to new questions. A great example is found in the initiative to develop sustainable aviation fuels. Industry leaders Boeing and Alaska Airlines are initiating the nation’s first regional stakeholder effort to explore the opportunities and challenges surrounding the production of sustainable aviation fuels. More than 40 organizations representing aviation, biofuels production, environmental advocacy, agriculture, government agencies, and academic research are assessing all phases of biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and use; and prioritizing state and federal policy recommendations needed to spur the creation of sustainable fuels for aviation.

4) Historically, the Farm Bill has also allocated funds for food safety. How can this legislation promote safe and healthy food without burdensome regulations for the small grower, farmer or rancher? 

The majority of federal food safety programs are funded through annual appropriations rather than the Farm Bill. For example, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which passed Congress in 2009 and mandates tougher standards on food processors, food importers and foreign suppliers, is funded through the Agriculture Appropriations bill. I supported the Act and overwhelmingly opposed efforts in the House to cut implementation funding earlier this year. I also met with small farmers from my District to understand their concerns about additional regulations and worked with the bill’s sponsors to make sure these issues were addressed in the final legislation.

Severe underfunding at the FDA means that the federal government has been missing in action when it comes to protecting consumers from tainted food. We can and must do better. While these food safety regulations are necessary for the health of the American public, the focus should be on the outcome, not the process. If farmers and producers are meeting the safety requirements, the federal government shouldn’t force them to do so in a particular manner. In addition, for farmers and producers of a certain size, the federal government should provide financial support to make sure that the requirements are not too burdensome.

5) We should all be thankful that our food supply is not dependent on my less than green thumb. Even if I am unable to grow a single tomato, the Farm Bill is important to how I am able to shop and prepare food. Are there any proposed changes in the 2012 Farm Bill that will help Farmers Markets – both the farmers who sell and the access for people to shop at them?  

The explosion in the number of farmers markets in Oregon, let alone in the US, is staggering. The increased demand for fresh fruits and vegetables cuts across all income levels and age brackets.

There are several programs in the Farm Bill that encourage and expand consumer access to farmers’ markets. The 2008 bill continued funding for the Farmers’ Market and Community Food Promotion programs, and created the Healthy Food Enterprise Development Center, a program that will increase underserved communities’ access to locally grown and produced agricultural products. In addition the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program was extended to provide fresh, locally grown produce to low-income seniors and enable participants in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program to obtain fresh produce from farmers’ markets. The challenging budget circumstances in Washington DC mean that we must fight to hold the line on these programs in the 2012 reauthorization and make sure they are not a target for drastic cuts.

L to R: PFM's Board President Dick Benner, PFMs Director Trudy Toliver, Commissioner Nick Fish, Congressman Blumenauer & Mayor Adams celebrating PFM's rainy 20th




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Hot & Cold

Article & Photos by Elizabeth Miller
It’s happening.  The mornings are growing chillier, the sun is setting earlier.  The beginning of the day may require you to throw on a sweater over your short-sleeved shirt, but by the afternoon you’d be hard-pressed to remember why you ever picked up said sweater in the first place.  Perhaps most tellingly, today at the farmers market, I spotted pumpkins and pears sitting companionably amongst the tomatoes and cucumbers.  It is autumn.

Short Stack of Sorts

I will admit that when I saw the autumn vegetables at the market, my first thought was that no, this could not be happening.  The air is warm.  It has only rained once in the past couple of weeks.  Get those pumpkins out of here.  But it’s inevitable, the arrival of cold weather.  Living in a place like Portland, especially, it’s best not to fight the arrival of cold, wet weather.  It’s taken me well over a decade to learn, but in the end, I have found that when summertime starts its slow decline into fall, the best thing to do is move forward, enjoy the last bits of sunshine, and exploit whatever warm weather spoils you can find.
My farmers market meal this time around was an exercise in exactly that frame of mind.  There were plump ears of corn sitting near basket after basket of lovely peppers at the Gathering Together Farm stand, which seemed like an apt metaphor for the exchanging of a warm season for a cold.  Spring Hill Farm had a beautiful display of salad greens, but none pulled me in more than the big, showy heads of frisee, one of my favorite bitter greens.  As if sensing the theme I had in mind for my meal, the Packer Orchards farm stand was conveniently located right in front of me as I was turning around, tucking my wild-looking bunch of frisee into my grocery bag.  I had hardly even begun to take in the sheer volume of the Packer Orchards pears when the fellow manning the pears caught me looking at a bin of gorgeous red fruit.  He told me that the pears in question were called Starkrimson, and they were, hands down, his favorite pear.  Fully aware that there was no better recommendation for which to ask, I didn’t hesitate to plunk some pears into my bag.
Back at home, it was obvious when I unpacked my bag that, weather aside, the signs of fall are starting to trickle in everywhere we look.  The dark crimson skin of a pear against bright yellow kernels of corn are a harbinger of nature’s colors to come.  At the farmers market, where sweet corn can mix with spicy poblano peppers and juicy pears with sharp, chicory-flavored greens, you can ease your summer into fall a bit more delicately, and, of course, deliciously.
Fresh Corn and Roasted Poblano Cakes
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4-5 ears of corn)
2 medium poblano peppers
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
olive oil

This is the Hot Part

Place peppers on a baking sheet and roast, turning every minute or so, on the highest shelf of the oven, under the broiler set on high.  When the skin of the peppers has blistered and turned black all around, remove from oven, cover tightly with foil, and set aside to allow the skins to steam off a bit, and the peppers to cool.

Place the corn kernels in the bowl of a food processor or blender, and pulse until the kernels are slightly chopped, but still retain much of their chunky texture.  Remove to a large bowl.
When the peppers have cooled slightly and the skins have started to become loose, gently pull the stem of the peppers to remove the core and most of the seeds.  Gently peel the skin off of the peppers, then finely chop the flesh.  If you want your corn cakes to be less spicy, discard all pepper seeds before chopping.  If you don’t mind the spice, leave the seeds with the peppers while you chop them.
Combine chopped corn, chopped peppers, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and beaten eggs.  Combine gently with a spatula or fork, mixing until ingredients are incorporated and uniformly wet, but not completely smooth.
Heat a skillet over medium low heat.  Brush the skillet with olive oil.  When a small drop of corn cake batter sizzles when placed on the oiled skillet, drop batter onto the skillet, 1/3 cup at a time, making sure not to crowd the cakes.  Cook cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side, until dark golden and nicely risen.  Brush skillet with more oil in between cooking each batch of corn cakes.
Makes 10 large corn cakes.
Pear and Frisee Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
2 large, ripe pears
1 large head of frisee, washed, trimmed, and patted dry
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Core and slice pears in half, then slice each half into long thin slices.  In a large bowl, combine pears with frisee, then gently toss to incorporate.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, and mustard.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking vigorously as you pour.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour dressing over entire salad and toss to coat evenly, or place undressed salad portions on each person’s plate and then lightly drizzle each portion with a bit of dressing.
Makes one gigantic salad that can serve many, many people.

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At the NW Market with Liz Crain

Author, Fermenter and Friend of the Market, Liz Crain, stopped by the NW Market to talk about food she loves, the upcoming fermentation fest and the difference between pickles and fermented things. Watch below.

Our NW Market is located on 19th & Everett it runs Thursdays through September. Fermentation Fest, also on a Thursday – October 20th, will cost 5 bucks and somehow will still be a priceless experience.

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A Simple Summer Lunch

Needs no Introduction

Article and Photos by Elizabeth Miller

Every other week or so, when I head to the farmers market with the intention of buying enough ingredients to make a solid meal for several people, for under $10, I find that it’s never tough to live up to this challenge.  Since I enjoy the market so much, it has always been a pleasure to peruse the market in search of inspiration.  This weekend, however, I was met with an unexpected glitch in my farmers market challenge: a sick child.  To make a long story short, what started out as a nice outing to the market on a beautiful September afternoon very quickly turned into a race against time to get my child home and in bed before he collapsed in a ball of sweaty exhaustion.

So, there I was, sick child at home, and $5 worth of hastily purchased ingredients stuffed into my grocery bag.  Having only come halfway towards my self-imposed budget, I assumed that this week’s market visit would have to be chalked up as an incomplete assignment.  As I was putting my purchases away, however (and I would love to tell you from whom they came, but, really, I raced

The Raw

out of that market so fast I barely registered even being there, much less whose market stands I visited), it slowly occurred to me that what I had purchased in haste could actually come together to make a perfect summer lunch.  Bread and tomatoes never grow tired of being together, and by taking just a bit of time to caramelize the onion I had bought, the three items would complete a perfect panzanella.

And it was perfect, with the tomatoes so juicy that dressing the salad became completely unnecessary, and the onions so flavorful that the only additional flavoring I was compelled to add to the salad was a small handful of basil from our garden.  It was a nice reminder that, though I often forget, sometimes the simplest things can be the most enjoyable.  A truth held not only in life, but also in lunch.

Panzanella with Caramelized Onions

6 cups bread cubes, about 1” square (I got this much bread from 2/3 of a baguette)

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes if possible)

small handful of fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

And the (to be) Cooked

Slice onion in half from end to end, then slice the halves into thin ribs.  In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion slices, along with a pinch of salt.  When onions just begin to soften, lower heat to medium low.  Cook onions, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until they have turned a rich brown color.  Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

While onions are cooking, arrange the bread cubes on a large baking sheet.  Bake the bread cubes for 5 minutes, until they have just started to become firm and crisp on the outside.  The point is not to brown the bread cubes, but merely to dry them out slightly so they won’t become a soggy mess when tossed with the juicy tomatoes.  When bread cubes have crisped sufficiently, remove from oven and set aside.

Slice tomatoes into large chunks.  In a large bowl, combine bread cubes,

Stick a Fork in it

caramelized onions, and tomatoes.  Roll basil leaves into a tight log, then slice into thin ribbons.  Add basil to salad.  Toss ingredients together, add salt and pepper to taste, then toss once more.  The bread cubes should be slightly moist, but still hold their shape.

Serves 2 adults very generously, 4 adults as a hearty appetizer.


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Chef David McIntyre leads a market tour as part of the Kids Cook class

The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland is proud to once again be sponsor­ing the Portland Farmers Market.

Currently offering the only Culinary Management bachelors degree program in Oregon, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland is the only culinary school in the United States with an Academic Minor in Sustainable Design. This sponsorship is a unique opportunity to support our community, our local farmers and ranchers, and to provide our students with the experience of sourcing and working with not simply local products, but some of the best products available anywhere.

“Our partnership with the Portland Farmers Market allows us to showcase our commitment to our shared values — using local products, building a strong food community founded on principles of quality and sustainability and teaching people about how food and cooking can serve as the foundation for great personal, and professional fulfillment,” said Ken Rubin, Chef Director at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland.  “The opportunities that exist in the world of food are vast, and our participation with the Market reinforces this position, while allowing our students to have the real world experiences that give them the motivation and direction to succeed.”

The next generation of young chefs?

The International Culinary School’s faculty, Chef Cory Schreiber, Chef Andrea Slonecker, Chef David McIntryre and Chef Eric Wynkoop, have been working with culinary students to present this summer’s “Kids Cook at the Market” series where budding chefs have a farm-to-table experience shopping the Market, meeting area farmers and learning to prepare fresh, healthy and delicious recipes. This summer the Kids Cook series included recipes for Strawberry Crepes, Sushi for Kids, Berry Bonanza Salad, Blender Gazpacho, Creative Corn recipes and Summer Salsa.

The Art Institute of Portland students in the Photography and Digital Film and Video departments are working on documenting the Portland Farmers Market’s 20th season. The Photography students will be capturing the bounty of the Markets in still images and the Digital Film and Video students will be producing a series of short spots highlighting the role the Portland Farmers Market has played in building communities over the past twenty years, the diversity the Markets bring into the city, and the people who come together week after week, Market after Market to make them all that they are.

In addition, The International Culinary School will be hosting the Portland Farmers Market’s fundraising gala in October at the Culinary school and student-operated restaurant, Sharp. Portland Chefs and local producers will pair with our own chef instructors and students to present a festive a pan-to-plate style tasting event benefiting the Portland Farmers Market and celebrating twenty tremendous years.

To learn more about The Art Institute of Portland, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/Portland or call 503.228.6528. For program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info visit aiprograms.info.

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