Archive for April, 2012

Every week as the weather warms there is a new crop hitting the Market. We can barely contain all the goodness at PSU, our biggest market. Just in time, Portland Farmers Market is opening three more of its Markets this coming week. The Shemanski Park Market on the Park Blocks between Salmon & Main is back this Wednesday at 10-2. Buckman kicks off its season Thursday at SE 20th & Salmon between 3 and 7. And then King Market opens Sunday May 6, 10-2, adjacent to King Elementary at NE 7th & Wygant. Plenty of time to shop, plenty of things to throw in your basket.

Last week at PSU, Saturdays from 8:30-2, we saw sun starved people. Sometimes, especially this time of year, when the fleece gets peeled off and the waterproof gear gets stowed, Portland looks like a vampire convention. Sookie Stackhouse would have her hands full shopping the Market. Buffy would explode. But now that our shoppers replenished their vitamin D, they can fearlessly select asparagus, peas, pea shoots, ramps, garlic scapes, spring onions, chives, and it’s getting close to strawberry time.

This week at PSU, Sexton Ranch, who supplied me with the steak pictured will have beef, right next door, Temptress Truffles

Barely fit on the grill, which is small, but the steak was big

has mushrooms. Two good things that go together, are together. Although they are 25-30 feet apart, Lady Lane has milk as nature intended and Petunias has cookies to wash the milk down with, or vice-versa. And this is just in one corner of the Market.

At the other end of the Market, we want to give a special shout out to Winters Farms. Not only does Winters supply our Markets with high quality, exceptionally priced produce – I dare you to find cheaper Yukon Gold’s anywhere – Winters was the first vendor I saw with asparagus and rhubarb this year and, here is the big thing, Winters has joined the Twitterverse @wintersfarms and they’re on Facebook too. If you follow them, you can learn things like they’ll have honey this week, baby spinach and other goodies. You can even catch Marven tweeting from his booth. Check it out.

Think these go well with steak?
Try a sprinkle of truffle salt.

Busy week for us but we hope to see you at least one of our four open market locations.

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Thanks to Weinstein PR

Portland Farmers Market announced today the formation of a new companion nonprofit, Farmers Market Fund, a charitable organization dedicated to providing low-income, elderly and under-served populations in the region increased access to healthy, locally grown food. Farmers Market Fund will administer Fresh Exchange, the market’s token matching program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.

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 the Information Booth of each of its eight markets, debiting the Oregon Trail Card in exchange for $1 tokens that shoppers can use at vendor stalls. Fresh Exchange increases the buying power of SNAP recipients by providing additional funds to purchase fresh food at certain Portland Farmers Market locations.

While Fresh Exchange is Farmers Market Fund’s current and primary program, leaders of the Fund intend to eventually expand Fresh Exchange to other farmers markets in the region and to provide educational programs about the benefits of consuming fresh, healthy food from local growers and producers.

As its first order of business, Farmers Market Fund will raise the dollar-for-dollar match amount of Fresh Exchange from $5 to $7 and expand the Fresh Exchange program to the Northwest Portland Farmers Market. Increasing the buying power of SNAP recipients at farmers markets allows more Portland-area low-income residents to enjoy the region’s bounty of fresh, nutritious food, provides a charitable service to those community members, and enhances the federal government’s investment in SNAP.

According to a report released in March from the Oregon Department of Human Services, 800,785 people – or 22 percent of Oregonians – received benefits in January from the state-federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which marks a 5.9 percent increase from January 2011. SNAP numbers have grown steadily over the past few years and the state predicts the number of recipients could reach 840,000 by June.

In January, the most recent numbers available, every region in Oregon saw a growth in the number of SNAP recipients, with Multnomah and Clackamas counties among those reporting increases higher than the state average. In Multnomah, 159,527 people received SNAP benefits, a 6.6 percent increase over last year.

Led by former Portland Farmers Market board chairperson Rosemarie Sweet, the Farmers Market Fund will allow Fresh Exchange to continue to expand and flourish during this time of need for many Oregonians.

“With one in five Oregonians receiving SNAP benefits, this program is more important than ever before,” said Sweet. “Through the Farmers Market Fund, we aim to increase awareness and opportunity for people with limited incomes to access locally grown food by augmenting the federal government’s investment in SNAP. This program helps all Portlanders enjoy the abundance of delicious foods grown in our region’s family farms, everything from spring asparagus to summer berries to winter kale.”

In 2012, Fresh Exchange will be available at three out of four of Portland Farmers Market’s neighborhood markets: King Portland Farmers Market, Buckman Portland Farmers Market, and now Northwest Portland Farmers Market.

“By making the benefit dollars go farther, Fresh Exchange encourages SNAP beneficiaries to frequent farmers markets so they can enjoy the best local food and support local farmers,” explained Anna Curtin, Program Manager of Portland Farmers Market. “In essence, the program helps to feed two families – putting food on the table for low-income families, and supporting small family farms in the area.”

The Evolution of Fresh Exchange

In 2009, the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN), Portland Farmers Market and a group of dedicated community leaders and volunteers partnered to establish Fresh Exchange (originally called Foodshare Fund Northeast) to help get more farm-direct produce into the hands of low-income residents. In Fresh Exchange’s inaugural year, King Portland Farmers Market shoppers using SNAP benefits received an additional $5 per week in matching tokens to spend on fresh local food.

Building on the success of the program established by NECN, in 2010 Fresh Exchange expanded to Buckman Portland Farmers Market in SE Portland, thanks to a Portland Business Alliance Leadership team and fiscal administrator Southeast Uplift. The Portland Business Alliance Leadership team even compiled a toolkit guide in order to help others launch and sustain SNAP incentive programs at their markets. The Fresh Exchange Toolkit is available for download at Portland Farmers Market’s website.

For the 2012 season, the program will extend to the Northwest Portland Farmers Market and funds will be administered through the Farmers Market Fund. Plus, SNAP recipients will be able to receive $7 per week in matching tokens at all three Portland Farmers Market locations offering Fresh Exchange, $2 more than in past seasons.

Since the inception of the Fresh Exchange program, more than $44,000 has been distributed to area residents in need. These funds have ultimately been directed into the hands of the region’s food producers, contributing to the success of the local food economy and fostering healthier communities.

“We envision Portland as a place where every resident has access to high quality, nutritious, locally-grown food, and where farmers markets are accessible to all,” said Trudy Toliver, executive director of Portland Farmers Market. “The creation of Farmers Market Fund and expansion of Fresh Exchange helps bring this vision to life.”

Funding the New Fund

New Seasons Market was the first local business to support the new Farmers Market Fund with a donation of $10,000. Portland Farmers Market season sponsor Dave’s Killer Bread has once again pledged to donate 25 percent of profits from booth sales at the markets to Fresh Exchange. Last season, Dave’s Killer Bread donated $5,720 to Fresh Exchange.

Wells Fargo, Alberta Cooperative Grocery, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, the Kelley Foundation Trust and Grand Central Baking have also generously donated to Fresh Exchange over the years. Added Sweet, “We invite individuals, families and corporations to make a contribution to Farmers Market Fund to help further our collective goal of fresh, healthy food for all Portland citizens.”

Contributions can be mailed to: Farmers Market Fund, c/o Portland Farmers Market, 240 N. Broadway, Suite 129, Portland, OR 97227. Farmers Market Fund is a registered charity with the State of Oregon and contributions to the Fund are tax deductible to the extent the law allows.

For questions about Fresh Exchange, using tokens at the market, or the Portland Farmers Market season, call the Portland Farmers Market office at (503) 241-0032 or email Anna Curtin atanna@portlandfarmersmarket.org.

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Food Chain

From Sanjay Rawal  & Smriti Keshari

There is more interest in food now than at any point in our nation’s history. Yet there is almost no interest in the hands that pick our food.

For the last 8 months, our crew traveled the US by road, exploring the state of farm labor and the reasons for the perpetuation of some of the worst occurrences of human rights abuse on our soil. The truth is that farm workers have always been amongst the most vulnerable people in this country: from indentured servants and slaves to migrants and sharecroppers. But for the first time in our nation’s history we have the power to change this; and Food Chain explores the ways in which we can do so.

Unhomegrown Tomatoes

The film features dozens of farmworkers, farmers, Eric Schlosser, Dolores Huerta, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Barry Estabrook and others. We would be extremely grateful if you could take 3 minutes to view the trailer and share it onwards! 


Sanjay Rawal (director, 2011 Tribeca Film Festival) & Smriti Keshari (producer)

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By Katherine Deumling

Eat better, every day—that’s the focus of cooking classes at Cook With What You Have. The upcoming Eat Better Series is rooted in farmers market products. This two-part series (Saturdays April 28 and May 5) delves deeply into how to cook simply, deliciously and creatively with whatever you have on hand. Specifically that will entail pinto beans and rhubarb from Sungold Farm, eggs from Rainblest; greens from Deep Roots; leeks and potatoes from Gathering Together Farm, green garlic from Persephone and much more.

How do you prepare these fabulous ingredients with a minimum of fuss and without any extra trips to the store? What do you need in your pantry to supplement the fresh market items? Which techniques are most suited to which vegetables? How can you make the most of your time in the kitchen so that meals come together quickly when you have little time? A few spots are left in this upcoming series. For more information visit  Cook With What You Have or contact Katherine Deumling at katherine@cookwithwhatyouhave.com.

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Via Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans

Springwater Farm’s Chef Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans is hosting a Cinco de Mayo Mexican Feast this Thursday, May 3rd.  Details below

The dinner promises to be a sumptuous gustatory voyage of the intriguing flavors of Mexico. Delight in a myriad of courses highlighting the fantastic, complex flavors of Oaxacan, Coastal, and Mayan cuisine. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

Sik l’Pak Salsa, Salsa Verde, & Chipotle Salsa with Fresh Tortilla Chips
Queso Fundito with Ancho Relish, Wild Mushrooms, or Tamworth Pork Chorizo
Escabeche & Fresh Tortillas
Spring Chinook Salmon Wrapped in Banana Leaves with Roasted Poblano Chile Rajas & Crema
Ensalada de Toronja – Gathered Greens with Avocado, Grapefruit, Chile d’Arbol, & Chive Flowers
Tamworth Pork Loin stuffed with Tequila-Soused Prunes, Wood-Fire Roasted & Served with Mole Coloradito
Morel Mushrooms Tamales with Pasilla Chile Sauce, Morels in Crema & Black Truffle
Pear Tres Leches Trifle
with Vanilla-Poached Pears & Cajeta Caramel

Everything is hand-made by Chef Kathryn & her kitchen team. The menu is based on seasonal items that are raised on Springwater Farm, wild-harvested by Roger Konka or sourced from Portland Farmers Market vendors. Specialty pantry items (like masa, banana leaves, & dairy) are from small local businesses and producers. Kathryn and her team compost all of their kitchen scraps back to Springwater Farm.

Where:  Tastebud Restaurant,
When:  Doors open at 6:30, dinner is served at 7:00.
Cost:  $50 per person.
Reservations:  Email Kathryn at wildeats@msn.com or call 503.734.4329

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With silver bells, and cockle shells, And pretty maids all in a row?

Ha, not be contrary, but my garden doesn’t look like that. Sure maybe I could manage the silver bells and depending on the price, the cockle shells are doable. But the maids, let alone pretty, and then getting them to line up, it’s not going to happen.

Even if you don’t have a fairy tale/nursery rhyme garden, you can get started on one this weekend. The weather is suppose to oblige and SunGold has tomato starts for your garden and rhubarb for your now, as the crop comes in prices will be dropping.

If you are more container inclined, Blue Heron and Westwind Gardens have herb starts. Or for a little more variety

Gardening At Day

there are veg starts available at Osmogaia- they are according to our crack staff, it is, “truly beautiful and fantastic produce!”. So by the laws of transference, your produce will be beautiful and fantastic too.

If it will be nice enough to garden, it will be nice enough to grill. Stop by Highland Oak along with their pastured beef, they will be offering eggs on sale – 2 doz for $10 this weekend. Saturday night dinner, Sunday morning breakfast. How cool is that?

Lauretta Jean’s biscuits are yum, yum, yum, yum.

Lovejoy Foods just celebrated their Annibirthary and are entering their 5thyear. Not only a feel good story since 80% of all businesses fail in the first year, Lovejoy has a wonderful pulled pork sandwich. Fork tender on a brioche bun, plus Jo will be super excited to sell you one. Super. Excited.

It was as good as it looks

Lady-Lane is scheduled to show up and bring their milk and dairy to the market.

Winter’s Farm had limited amounts of asparagus last week, it’s going to happen again so if you want to get your stalk on, get going early.

If you enter the Market from the NW and feel PSU smells lavendery fresh, that has a lot to do with Dancing Light Ranch, who specialize in all things lavender – fresh stalks, soaps, and other products.

Our PSU Market runs every Saturday 8:30-2. Unlike every Saturday, tomorrow is supposed to beautiful, warm and have limited amounts of asparagus; larger quantities of rhubarb.

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My work with the Market doesn’t require hardships like getting up on cold spring mornings to see what’s in season. I can and do tweet and write from the comfort of my  bed. My colleagues are great about txting and emailing me what is new, fresh and special. And if they’re bitter about me being warm and dry, well, they’re either unfailingly professional or there isn’t an emoticon for ‘get out of bed’.

This time it was Anna who txtd, letting me know Kaleng’s Produce had ramps.

I txted Anna back to ask what ramps were. Due to the constraints of the 160 character format, Anna forwent the details, opting for the 8 letter description, Wild Leeks. Later in person, she went into detail, pulling out the descriptors; tender, like garlicky onions, ramp people are cultish about them (which is more of a value judgment than a description, but I understand the enthusiasm).

Wild at Heart

I possess an autodidact’s temperament, when confronted with something new, my response is not one of defeat but to go quickly to the bookcase. Also, this might be the only time I have any inclination to move quickly. The advantage of having food books and cookbooks stacked two deep on the bookcase that takes up the most of the north wall of my home, means quicker than you can say wikipedia, I can do research and by research I mean double sourced from books (No offense to browsing the internet: Still love ya).

I learned about 85% of the crop is truly wild, ramps grow in clumps under deciduous trees. In Stalking the Wild Asparagus, my polar opposite in temperament: outdoorsman, adventurer and Grape-Nut’s pitchman, Euell Gibbons recommends ramps in salads and soups and finds them delicious. In a different volume, an encyclopedia with a nutritional bent, tells me ramps are high in vitamin C and are ‘good for cleaning the blood’. I have no idea what blood cleaning is, why it’s good and not dangerous or how ramps help achieve this. (I was able to confirm the abundance of vitamin C in ramps from a second and third source – There’s enough to keep the scurvy at bay in any citrus-free zone: Pre-Columbian epochs, Cormac McCarthy novels, Tudor warships or whatever the circumstances.)

With food, it’s never enough to read about it, I need to know how it tastes, smells, looks – I brought home a bunch from Temptress Truffles, they were scallion thin at the base before widening into a purple tinted middle with leaves that flanged out at the top. Eaten raw, the garlic taste was a little too much for me, but the ramps were much better after sautéing – butter, salt and heat tamed the flavors to deliciousness. I don’t think I’m going to join the ramp cult and my blood didn’t feel any cleaner, but in the every spring, I have a new tool I can and will use in my kitchen arsenal. Look for ramps at Kaleng, Temptress and other vendors throughout April.

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