By Peter D’Auria
Peter is a PFM volunteer who is having fun discovering (and devouring) Portland, one farmers market at a time.
The Buckman Farmers Market takes up a small parking lot in the shadow of Hinson Baptist Church, at SE Salmon and 20th, Thursdays from 3 to 7. The market features about 30 stalls with items like farm-fresh produce, wine, flowers, and cheese, plus a row comprised of snack vendors. There were a few chairs on the west end of the lot and a man with a guitar singing folk songs under a little tent.
The market has a calm, summery vibe. There were at least as many people sitting in the chairs, listening to the music, as there were browsing the stalls. At the center of the market was a Play Zone, where kids made “fruit snakes” to eat. The fruit snakes looked honestly pretty good but I felt that I was probably over the age limit, so I wandered off in search of some other samples. I ate some cold slices of cantaloupe and watermelon on toothpicks from the Gathering Together Farm booth, a chunk of spinach feta bread (buttered) from Great Harvest Bread Co., some Cashew Cheese flavored kale chips from The Kale Company’s booth.
To combat this I bought ice cream. The marionberry flavor (Scoop Handmade Ice Cream) seemed like it would be refreshing and summery, and it was. Scoop gave out big scoops. “This is the highlight of my week,” said the woman in line in front of me, receiving a cone of double stacked Bourbon Buttered Pecan.
I trundled around the parking lot with my cone. After making a full circle I saw that the neighboring Momo Cart was advertising on a chalkboard “Yak Momos.”
“What is a yak momo?” I asked.
Momos are a kind of stuffed Nepalese dumplings, the cart man explained, and he told me the story of how an Oregon rancher had smuggled a small number of yaks out of Tibet in the 80s, and now raised them on a ranch near Bend. “What does it taste like?” I asked. As a vegetarian I was unable to try it myself.
“It’s really not weird,” he said. “Less gamey than cow.”
In the end I couldn’t resist the lure of the shaded lawn chairs. “I got the West Memphis blues again,” the guitarist sang. A man in a blue cardigan got up and danced. Some kids sat on the blacktop and listened. I thought about yak smuggling. I crunched the last of my cone. Fresh local food may be what gets you to the Buckman Market, but I think you’ll agree that walking around in the sun and listening to everything going on is half the fun. Although it helps if you have ice cream.