The weather in the first month of our inaugural Winter Market was a little closer to biblical than dreary. We had snow and above average rainfall, which caused flooding. This on top of the usual short days and soggy air/ground/existence that marks Oregon winters. Our growers and ranchers experience this Man versus Nature conflict in real time as they tend to crops and animals, but they do get a bit of a respite from the elements on Saturdays thanks to two fans of Portland Farmers Market.
If you have been down to the Market, perhaps you have seen, or if your like me spent sometime standing in front of the patio stoves. The stoves may not look any sexier than an old school Franklin stove but they are BTUrific. They are on loan from Simon Traeger at Wood Pellet Products. Located in Mt. Angel, Wood Pellet Products makes patio stoves that are pretty affordable and run cheaply and efficiently on wood pellets – my math tells me that it costs less than $5 to heat the stoves for the duration of the Market. That kind of economy makes me wish I had a patio or was at least slightly outdoorsy.
While it’s easy to notice 7 ft stoves, throwing off 70,000 BTUs of heat, hopefully you haven’t noticed the second gift of warmth; all the winter market vendors all received merino long johns (and noticing that would be kinda creepy). The layered warmth was donated by Red Ram, a member of Portland’s (by way of New Zealand) Icebreaker apparel family. Darren Glassman at Icebreaker told us, “As a longtime fan of the Portland Farmers Market and significant beneficiary of the many gifts it delivers to our community, it is my pleasure to provide this support. Thanks to all of you for playing such a vital role in making Portland such a special place to live!”. You don’t have to be outdoorsy to appreciate a good layer of clothing, that’s just practical.
Our first market in February might, maybe, possibly reach 50 and is supposed to be on the dry side, so you can come down this week and enjoy all the bounty without worrying about staying warm. But for our vendors who get to stand on 40 degree concrete after a week of dealing with the elements, well a big thank you to Red Ram and Wood Pellet Products for thinking about outdoor comfort.