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Archive for November, 2012

Post and Photos by Barb Skinner

greens

Greens galore

Late fall is a wonderful time in the NW growing season, and while my own urbanized inclination is to think that keeping locally grown nutritious veggies in my diet is more difficult, nothing could be farther from the truth! It’s more important now than ever to have delicious and healthy recipes up your sleeve.

Yes it’s cold, and yes Portland Farmers Market is down to one weekly market on Saturdays at PSU, but the opportunities that root vegetables and winter crops present are truly exciting IF you have some interesting recipes to try. Allow me to expound…

wintertoadA lack of fresh summer berries can seem like a major loss in the fruit category, but PFM currently has delicious pears, apples, and Winter Toad Melon… wait WHAT? If you have never heard of Winter Toad Melon (like me), you are missing out. This delicious winter melon, like rich honeydew, has allowed me move on from those succulent summer berries. Stop by the La Mancha Orchard booth to sample it yourself. Another wonderful market treat is Kiyokawa Orchard’s Mt. Rose Apples – with a beautiful pink interior and crisp flavor, these are perfect to munch on or to make a beautiful cobbler!

squashThe options for winter squash are endless and many of the vendors have them coming out the ears. Roasting almost any type of winter squash with potatoes, onion, rutabega, carrots, or whatever you have around the house with some simple herbs draws out its deep and delicious flavors, and it’s fun to get creative! Try this savory vegan Pumpkin and Sage Pasta as an alternative to a fattier mac’n’cheese.

celeriac

Celery root a.k.a. celeriac is great raw or cooked

Late fall also yields some oddballs like celery root – this potato salad alternative is a light option, especially if you sub Greek yogurt for the mayo. But even if more unusual recipes like this are not your style,  the beauty of Portland in late fall is that greens are available all year long for traditional salads too.

Speaking of both squash and salads, PFM staff will be at Director Park this Saturday from 2-4pm cooking up two tasty dishes to simplify your holiday cooking: a raw kale and chickpea salad as well as sauteed delicata squash with chili.  Stop by to sample the goods and pick up the recipes!

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Post & Photos by Emily Dilling Poulain

I moved to France on a whim in 2005 and have stuck around since then, enjoying the amazing  advantages France offers, such as universal healthcare, an almost free education, and awesome baked goods. While I’ve grown accustomed to living in Paris, one place that never ceases to delight are the city’s open-air markets. Over 60 markets are spread around Paris with several locations in almost every arrondissement.

When I visit a new city, I immediately find out where the farmers market is- they are usually located in a central, pedestrian-friendly part of town and are a great way to get a feel for the city and its locals, which makes for a nice first impression of a new place. This is how I first got to know Paris, discovering new neighborhoods and vegetables while practicing my beginner’s French on chatty vendors.

I have fond memories of doing the same in other cities, wandering down the aisles of outdoor markets in London, Frankfurt, San Francisco, and, of course, Portland. The French have recently taken a particular interest in Portland and I wish they would learn a lesson or two from your locally-sourced market. The truth is, Paris doesn’t really have “Farmers Markets” because there are very few real farmers at their markets. The majority of stands are occupied by vendors who are reselling food they have bought in bulk at the city’s major food source, the Rungis wholesale market.  

There are however a handful of direct vendors that come to markets around the city and sell produce that was grown on their farms. Often these farms are located in the vicinity of Paris, in regions such as Normandy, Brittany, and Picardie. These lush and rainy regions resemble Portland’s infamous weather patterns and consequently we have similar seasonal produce.

At the moment, apples and pears are flooding market stands, accompanied by lovely juices and liqueurs like Calvados and Pommeau. Autumn vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and squash of all sorts are showing up en masse at the market as well. Lettuce abounds and- if you’re lucky- you might find a modest bunch of kale hidden in the roughage- this adored leafy green is under appreciated and almost totally unknown in France.

All of these vegetables are grown within 50 miles of Paris, yet local produce remains hard to find in Paris markets, as shoppers either opt for imported out-of-season foods or just don’t pay attention to the origin of the fruits and veg, preferring to buy less expensive wholesale food. On my blog, Paris Paysanne, I document where and when shoppers can find local producers. I also include updates on seasonal produce, including recipes given to me from the French growers, both on the blog and on my facebook page.

Supporting local producers is the first step to putting the farmer back in “Farmers Market” and invite you to show your support from abroad by following my Paris Paysanne adventures!

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Cider Song

Post & Photos by Elizabeth Miller

A few years ago, I lost what was once a glorious ability to consume sugar at a rate only previously witnessed in lab rats being force fed glucose syrup and child visitors to Willy Wonka’s candy factory. Whereas a normal human might be content eating one or two cookies and then calling it a day, my average cookie intake, when faced with the option of choosing my personal serving, was closer to half a dozen. Cake could be eaten for breakfast, pie for lunch, and sometimes I would eat pancakes with maple syrup for dinner, just because I could.

I’d like to say that the end to this behavior was the result of my realizing that eating so much sugar was bad for my health, bad for my role as a responsible parent, and bad for pretty much every other reason known to humankind, but that would be a big fat lie. I stopped eating so much sugar because my body stopped being able to tolerate it. Eating a great deal of sugar started to give me dreadful headaches and stomachaches, as though my body was finally staging a revolt after so many years of sweet, sugary abuse. I could still eat some sugar, of course, but nothing even close to the amount that I could hoover down during my glory days. It was as though my body was a barrel that had been filled to the very brim with sugar, and trying to top off the supply was just causing the entire load to topple over and explode.

It took a few years, but I have finally reached a place in life where I am able to eat sugar like a normal person. Two cookies are fine. I don’t eat cake for meals anymore, and when I do make a cake or any other dessert, I automatically reduce the sugar content by at least 1/3. The incredible thing about reducing the sugar content of foods is that no one notices—not even me, and sugar used to be my main food group. The one thing I am not able to eat anymore, however, is breakfast foods that have been covered in maple syrup. I’ll still eat pancakes and french toast, but now I dot the tops with a bit of yogurt instead of a wave of syrup. I think french toast is actually better this way, but I have not been able to convince anyone else of this. My son is particularly enamored of maple syrup (as every child is, because we all know that children are part hummingbird), and has been reluctant to resist its sweet, sticky siren song. I’d like to say that he is at least coming around to the yogurt variable, but that would also be a lie. The truth is, the only way I’ve been able to break my kid of his maple syrup habit is to replace one syrup with another, albeit one that is made with fruit juice (which may not really be any healthier, because isn’t maple syrup essentially just made out of tree juice?).

The difference between maple syrup and syrup made from an intensely reduced pot of fresh apple cider is the fact that, with a deeper flavor and a slightly tart bite, a bit of apple cider syrup tends to go a lot farther than a drenching of maple syrup. The two flavor profiles are decidedly different, with the apple cider syrup having a more forward flavor that seems to satisfy the palate more readily. Throw in some cinnamon, like I have here, and the flavor gets an even bigger boost, resulting in a syrup that satiates more, but in a smaller quantity. It’s not just me saying this, mind you. This syrup is kid-tested and kid-approved, which is sort of like saying it has a gilded seal of approval, only the seal is sort of sticky and it has been applied upside down.

Apple Cider Syrup

It’s almost laughable to say that there is a recipe for making apple cider syrup, since the entire process involves nothing more than heating apple cider on top of the stove until the cider reduces into a sticky, syrup liquid that is the consistency of, well, maple syrup. Still, for those of you who want a more formal primer, here goes:

Heat at least 1 quart, preferably 2 quarts (if you want to end up with more than a scant cup of syrup), of fresh, unfiltered apple cider (sometimes called freshly pressed apple juice, unfiltered apple juice, or freshly pressed cider—in any case, you’ll want a jug of cloudy juice with a bit of sludgy stuff at the bottom of the jar, not the clear golden stuff that has been filtered into flavorlessness) in a large pot over high heat. When the cider begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium and allow the cider to boil constantly until it reduces by about 80% and becomes a thick, syrupy liquid. This process can take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes, depending on how much cider you are using and how high the heat under the pot. You’ll know the syrup is ready when a spatula scraped across the floor of the pot leaves a clear trail that remains open for a second or two before the syrup runs together again. At this point, you can whisk in a shake or two of cinnamon to taste (add as much cinnamon as you want, really), then either use the syrup immediately or pour it into a jar to cool.

When cooled, the syrup will become slightly gelatinous, due to the natural pectin content in the apples. The thicker you boil the syrup, the more firm the finished product will be when cooled. You can simply reheat the syrup in the microwave or on the stove top to return the syrup to its thick and syrupy state. Keep the syrup refrigerated when not in use.

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The Days After

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Photo and Post by Kelly Merrick

I say this every year, but this was the best Thanksgiving yet. My husband and I spent the day with family playing card games, drinking homebrew and giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. And then there was the meal itself, which was so delicious I can’t stop thinking about it. Almost all of it was sourced locally from Portland Farmers Market. From the turkey (Converging Creeks Farm) to the cranberries (Eagle Organic) our Thanksgiving meal was nearly as fresh and as local as you can get.

The turkey was stuffed with sage, rosemary and thyme, all picked from my in-laws’ garden, the traditional mashed potatoes were accompanied by a root vegetable mash, which comprised of sweet potatoes, delicata squash, parsnips, butter and walnuts, all sourced from the market. A few new dishes also made their appearance this year – green beans with glazed pecans, roasted Brussels sprouts and purple cauliflower, as did apple gravy with browned butter and thyme, a new twist on the traditional recipe.

Next came dessert. We had three different options to choose from, and naturally I chose to have a small piece of each of them. We had pumpkin cheesecake, rhubarb pie and huckleberry pie, all of which incorporated several ingredients sourced from my mother-in-law’s garden.

Now that I have made you jealous of my Thanksgiving meal, let’s talk leftovers. To be more specific, let’s talk turkey leftovers. Every Thanksgiving, Americans toss an estimated $282 million of uneaten turkey into the trash, and when you think about how much money and effort you put into cooking that turkey, not to mention all of people who go hungry during the holiday season, it’s a real shame.

Luckily, the possibilities for using up your turkey are many. You could make a turkey sandwich using your leftover meat, dinner rolls, cranberries and stuffing. Or make turkey soup with turkey stock from the discarded carcass as the base. A friend of mine makes a Thanksgiving leftover calzone that sounds delicious and even includes cranberries, and Martha has a whole slew of leftovers recipes that make my mouth water just looking at them. If you have a ton of leftover cranberries, considering making some of these recipes Dave wrote about last week. If your leftovers don’t include turkey, many of these recipes can be adapted to be vegetarian.

Once you’ve figured out how to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, head on over to the PSU market to do some early Christmas shopping and pick up anything you may need to accompany your leftovers. It’s also a great place to take family members who are visiting to show them what Portland is all about and give them a chance to bring home some local treats. Don’t forget that the market hours have shifted to 9 am to 2 pm during these winter months, which will give you a few extra minutes to sleep off the leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal.

 

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At each of our eight Portland Farmers Market locations, we strive to create a well-rounded and lively mix of vendors and products.  We are so proud of the many farmers and food artisans in our region offering high-quality fresh and prepared foods; they are truly what make our markets world class.

With so many creative businesses coming to life in Portland and so many food-loving Portlanders, we have a lot of interest from prospective vendors each season.  In order for our small staff to manage all of these requests, we open the door once a year to peek at the fresh ideas flowing in from the food community.

This is the time of year when we renew agreements with our current vendors and seek to add new ones.  If you or someone you know is hoping to become a vendor at our markets, now is the time to put that business plan into action!

Part of our mission is to contribute to the success of local food growers and producers.  We also strive to help incubate new food businesses.  We bring these two goals together with the standards we desire from our food artisan community.  For businesses that source raw ingredients to create a finished product, such as baked goods, jams, jellies, pickles or hot food, we have laid out some specific criteria below to help explain what we are looking for:

  • Products that are unique, creative, delicious, locally crafted, and locally sourced.  This means that the primary ingredients are grown and/or raised within the Pacific Northwest.
  • All or most ingredients are sourced from regional farmers, ranchers, foragers and/or fishermen, ideally Portland Farmers Market vendors. Please visit our website, portlandfarmersmarket.org, for a list of our current vendors.
  • Although there are exceptions made for ingredients sourced outside of our food shed (such as salt, olive oil, and sugar), we are always impressed when alternatives are used in order to keep the product as local as possible.

With these standards in mind, we challenge food entrepreneurs to seek out connections within the community, to build relationships with farmers, to create successful business models and ensure a sustainable future for local farms.

Businesses with products that hold up to these standards are invited to complete a Vendor Interest Form, which can be found here.  This form is the preliminary step in the process to becoming a vendor.  It provides us with a brief introduction to a business’s practices, products and other details that highlight creativity and a commitment to local sourcing.

Keep in mind that we operate eight different market locations of varying sizes throughout Portland.  The Saturday PSU Market garners a great deal of interest but we do not guarantee space for new vendors at that location.  We encourage businesses to consider all of the markets within our program before making a decision to submit an application.  To learn more, please download our Prospective Vendor Manual.

After reviewing a Vendor Interest Form, we will let that business know within 10 business days whether or not our markets may be the right fit for them.  If so, we send a follow up email in January with links to a full application which must be completed for the upcoming season.

The final step in this process is to submit product samples to be juried by a panel designated by Portland Farmers Market, which may include staff, board members, vendors, volunteers and other friends of the market.   This is when creative food entrepreneurs have the opportunity to show off their craft and for us to get the full experience of their product.  Final new vendor selections are made in February.

We look forward to being amazed by what our local food community has to offer!

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New Feast

Post by Miriam Garcia

Recognize these guys? They’re the Adam and Eve of our national creation story, symbols of a season and a holiday, served up every Thanksgiving.  But wait, aren’t those fusty, intolerant, land-grabbing Puritans somewhat problematic as national icons?  Sometimes the best way to maintain tradition is to update it, so I visited the Farmers Market to re-encounter and re-imagine our harvest holiday symbols.

First up, that image of plenty, the overflowing cornucopia.  The settlers saw America as a land of infinite fertility and abundance – the game, water and land seemed inexhaustible.  Now we know that our resources are finite.  We appreciate the interconnected systems that must be protected in order for us to eat sustainably.  We know that local and sustainable is better than industrial and genetically-modified.  I see the new cornucopia as a market basket, overflowing with local goods.

Next, the turkey.  The turkey is so associated with Thanksgiving, some refer to it simply as ‘Turkey-Day.’  Turkey was a game-bird for colonists. It was a factory-bird for most of us growing up. Now it’s a personal choice.  Many of us enjoy our Thanksgiving feasts with no bird on the table at all.  And for those of us who do put a bird on it, the Farmer’s Market offers poultry that’s raised organically and humanely.  The new turkey is an honored guest.

The Pilgrims.  They’re complicated. A very American nuance of their story is that the Pilgrims came to these shores in pursuit of religious freedom, but Puritanism was itself an oppressive religion.  (Remember the Salem witch trials?) As a nation, we have grown more sensitive to the dark side of the Pilgrims’ story, especially the cost to Native peoples.  Looking around the market, I see people of many colors, ages, nationalities and traditions happily selling and shopping.  Perhaps the new Pilgrim is an immigrant seeking freedom and opportunity in a land of diversity.  Or maybe the new Pilgrim is you, me, all of us.  Wandering the overflowing aisles of the market, abundance all around, we get to be the Adams and Eves of whatever’s next.

Finally, there’s the feast itself.  Thanksgiving is a blend of ancient harvest festival, patriotic holiday and clan hootenanny, all of which comes together in a single, central ritual:  the family feast.  Whether we are in biological, blended, or chosen families, we make our various ways to the Thanksgiving table.  There we laugh, love, fight, feast, and further cement our bonds.  At the very heart of this event, tied closely to the Farmers Market, is ever and always the food. The new feast has traveled full circle to meet the original feast, a celebration of continuity sustained by the land we live on.

Miriam Garcia is a folklorist-foodie, freelance writer and guardian of a super-secret chicken soup recipe.  You can contact her at Miriam_G@me.com

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Thanksgiv-King

The biggest, best and most awesome holiday is less than a week away. A day so important we have not one, but two markets to help with your shopping list. PSU happens this Saturday 9-2 and as a bonus, the first ever King Reunion Market takes place this Sunday between 10-2 at NE 7th & Wygant.

There will be plenty of protein options at both Markets, line caught salmon, poultry, and other things to roast. And maybe the turkey is the iconic image of the meal, but everyone knows, deep down, that it’s the side dishes that you remember and crave.

For stuffing we have bread galore, eggs, oysters, sausage, herbs, onions, celery and both wild rice and wild mushrooms. Gee Creek and Greenwillow Grains have locally-milled flours and alt-flowers. Pie, you say? We have bakeries and for the DYI types we have squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and for a NW twist on a classic, try Oregon Walnuts. How about a regal tart, pears and apples both, reduce cider or wine to make a pastry cream and try Freddy Guy’s ground filberts with brown sugar and butter for a gluten free tart shell.

Wine? Twist is at PSU, Arcane is at King. Wandering Aengus Ciderworks makes awesome hard cider and hard cider is the bridge between wine and beer drinkers. Cranberries, we’ve talked about here. Bingo has cranberry preserves and Eagle will be selling organic cranberries at both markets this weekend.

For the stuff to snack on the Market will have cheese: Oh yes. Goat, cow, sheep. Fresh, aged and vegan from Heidi Ho. Nuts, chestnuts, filberts and walnuts. Cured meats from Chop and Olympic provisions. Pickles, chocolates and even if you cant eat them there will be plenty of flowers for the table.

There is enough food to plan a feast. For potluckers, make your one dish with fresh, local ingredients. Brussels Sprouts. Mashed Potatoes. Roasted Beets. Glazed Carrots. Enough said.

And believe it or not our mid-November weather forecast calls for rain, drizzle and a general lack of dry, sunniness for the weekend. What’s a little rain? If I were still a boy, we’d be outside playing football until our hands got so cold we’d all be throwing like a Tebow. Isn’t the weather is a small price to pay for access to great ingredients, seeing your friends and neighbors and not having to stand in the weekend grocery line?

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