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Photographer Kirk Jones spent 5 months last summer with three local farmers that produce goods for local farmers’ markets, local restaurants and Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA’s).  Carrie Sendak, Mama Tee’s Farm, worked backyards and smaller plots around NE Portland and SE Portland while Ted and Laura, Split River Growers, and Grey Horton from Morgans Landing Farm, work land that is on Sauvie Island.

Of particular interest is the size of some of the images. “Using high resolution captures and printing at large scale, I am trying to create a feeling of immersion, capturing each person in their environment in a way that puts them in perspective with their surroundings.”  Some of the large scale Gigapan prints measure over five feet wide.

The photographs will debut SATURDAY, April 6th from 5 to 8pm at:The Best Art Gallery in Portland

1468 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211.

The event will include local produce from one of the photographed farms and pizza from Via Chicago, which got its start as a vendor at the Portland Farmers Market and has also opened a brick-and-mortar location at 2013 NE Alberta.  The venue space and event are sponsored by COUNTRY Financial®.

Additional Photos and Info on the project can be viewed here.

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Food Front Coop

By Barb Skinner

Portland Farmers Market deeply values the whole community that surrounds the market – the farmers, the shoppers, the staff and volunteers, and the sponsors. Without each piece of this puzzle the market would not be able to help farmers thrive and the community benefit from the fresh food and educational programming present at each weekly market. Food Front Cooperative Grocery is a loyal fifth year sponsor with a weekly presence at the NW Market.

Food Front Coop has two store locations – in NW Portland and Hillsdale – and is a wonderful partner and complement to Portland Farmers Market shoppers in a variety of ways. On a practical level, many of the packaged and prepared foods that are not available at farmers markets are sold at Food Front. And don’t think that because they are packaged means they traveled a great distance to get to your table – from granola bars to salsa to prepared meals, Food Front seeks local suppliers.  In fact, another sponsor of the Portland Farmers Market, Dave’s Killer Bread, did their first ever store demo at Food Front, and their products are still carried there.

A key focus of Food Front – and PFM – is to provide educational opportunities for the community to connect with local farmers, which supports their mission to both provide wholesome food and bridge the gap between local producers and the people of Portland. Some of these educational opportunities include an annual farm tour open to the public, and future plans for elementary school trips to the Sauvie Island Center, and regular register fundraisers for a variety of local non-profits. By connecting shoppers with farmers through educational opportunities as well as providing the community an outlet for supporting other local organizations, Food Front makes buying, preparing, and of course EATING delicious local food a more meaningful part of our lives.

So what is the relationship like between Food Front and Portland Farmers Market? 100% supportive in both directions. PFM relies on the support of local businesses like Food Front to fund educational outreach as well as keep vendors’ fees low. And Food Front loves having a weekly presence at the NW Market. In the words of Food Front’s Director of Marketing & Outreach, Jessica Miller, “Being a market sponsor allows us to connect with community members and local farmers and producers simultaneously. Food Front’s contribution to the NW Market is another way we can support local farmers and producers outside of our daily store operations.”

If you’re interested in checking out Food Front, stop by any time for your grocery shopping needs, but be sure not to miss the November 10th Thanksgiving Tasting Event!  One of our market vendors, Deck Family Farm, has partnered with Food Front this year to sell their heritage turkeys.  On November 10th, you will be able to sample their turkey and then order one in time for Thanksgiving!

Becoming a member-owner of Food Front includes a manageable fee of $150 (most owners break this up into $5/month payments) which allows them to meet the needs of their member-owners and our community.  What better time to join than in the fall, when many farmers markets begin to wrap up for the season?

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Collective Cooking

By Rell Ohlson, Kitchen Commons

National Food Day is coming up on October 24th, which is a celebration of healthy and sustainable food systems. Here in Portland, many of us are aware of the different aspects of socially and environmentally just food systems, particularly in relation to the local growing and distribution of fresh food.

However, I’ve always felt that the role of cooking in food justice is just as vital. I think most of us can appreciate the simple pleasures of sharing an awesome meal with our friends. Preparing and sharing meals together has been a part of many cultures for hundreds of years, and not just for special occasions. Yet cooking together can also keep us engaged with one another and more appreciative of the food we eat.

Since I’ve started working for the local non-profit Kitchen Commons, I’ve seen firsthand how cooking can be used in community building. We’ve been supporting a network of organizations who are either interested in creating their own cooking groups or sharing their kitchen space with the community. My role has been to organize and help facilitate two collective cooking groups in NE Portland.

Collective Cooking Groups are a way of stretching food dollars, strengthening community ties, promoting cultural preservation and fostering resource and skill sharing. Participants learn from each other, sharing tips and tactics for cooking healthy food even with busy schedules. Our groups have made dishes such as fennel salad, pumpkin tortilla soup, corn chowder and peach blueberry cobbler, and on a budget to boot!

As the year winds down, we’ve been gathering the information and lessons we’ve learned in order to share ideas with others who are interested in using cooking groups as a community building tool. On October 20th, we are hosting a free Collective Cooking Group Facilitator Training and Information Session. Our group leaders and I will share what we have learned throughout the year in our pilot cooking groups, share resources and help you navigate through the initial steps of organizing your own cooking group. We’ll be meeting in one of our partner kitchens, with a chance to prepare a simple dish together. Our brand new Collective Cooking Group Handbooks will also be available to share with participants.

WHEN: Saturday, October 20th 2012, 12-2 pm
WHERE: Trinity Full Gospel Pentecostal Church, 4801 NE 19th Avenue, Portland, OR 97211
Light refreshments provided. Send RSVPs or questions to rell@kitchencommons.net.

There’s still room for more participants, so don’t hesitate to sign up at the last minute if need be. Whether you work with an organization that wants to integrate cooking programs into your work, have access to a kitchen space that can be used by the public, or are simply interested in collective cooking groups, we’d love to meet with you.

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What do the kids eat these days? In my day, it was PB & J on white bread; cut diagonal. The diagonal was very, very important for reasons I can’t even guess at now. And there were  chips and Little Debbie’s. It’s okay though, all the parents did that back then, plus I grew up to love all kinds of food and have been known to eat a sandwiches that are square/rectangular.

An item both the packers of lunches and the eaters of lunches can agree on is fruit. While PFM fruit looks like other fruit and won’t draw untoward attention for your little foodist’s lunch choices, it tastes so much better, they’ll crave, they’ll eat, they won’t complain about it being in their lunch bag. Bring the kids and let them pick their own fruit for the upcoming week.

Not just for kids anymore either: I’ve been eating peaches, mostly – sometimes nectarines – in the afternoon, it’s so much better than a trip to the vending machine.

We are in the last month for Friday’s Kenton, Thursday’s Buckman & NW, and Monday’s Pioneer Square Markets. Go often and enjoy. Wednesday’s Shemanski and Sunday’s King go through October. PSU RUNS UNTIL THE SATURDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS. (Sorry about the CAP/bold thing, but it’s actually pretty effective – try it in the subject line of the next email you send, it’ll get read.)

Speaking of PSU, the Healthetarians, who are like vegetarians, but for health, are at PSU this Saturday. The Healthetarians, these Healthetarians, are all about inspiring the next generation of healthy eaters – they will have recipes and activities – stop by or visit their website at www.healthetarians.org.

Also PSU/School lunches, Dave’s Killer Bread will be on hand Saturday. Need sandwich ideas, last month DKB was on hand at PSU to celebrate their 7th breadiversary – inviting local restauranteurs to make sandwiches. Video below. 

Also like Dave’s Killer Bread, Verde Cocina who are at Saturday’s market, have grown. They now have a bricks and mortar location, you can read a review of it here.

Closing – A few weeks ago, the Oregon Department of Agriculture pushed through a rule allowing canola to be planted in the valley. You can read about why this is problematic here. Despite the adminstrative rule, we can, for the time being, score one for the good fight, according to Friends of Family Farmers, “Oregon Court of Appeals agreed with the arguments set forth by Friends of Family Farmers and four other plaintiffs, finding it very likely that the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA’s) temporally rule is invalid.” The fight over canola in the valley is far from over, more details are available here from FFF.

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Canola

UPDATE: Despite many requests and close to 20,000 petition signatures, the Oregon Department of Agriculture issued temporary rules yesterday opening up canola production in the Willamette Valley. Friends of Family Farmers has more info and links here.

UPDATE II: The Oregonian has a fairly balanced article with quotes from principals and more background. You can read it here.

UPDATE III: An Editorial from seed Grower Frank Morton, here.

UPDATE IV: Score one for the good fight, according to Friends of Family Farmers, Oregon Court of Appeals agreed with the arguments set forth by Friends of Family Farmers and four other plaintiffs, finding it very likely that the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA’s) temporally rule is invalid. The push for canola in the valley is far from over, more details are available here from FFF.

 

Normally, our Friday blog post is dedicated to upcoming Markets: Hours, events, what is in season, what to do with the bounty of NW’s agricultural goodness, but today’s post is about canola. Not because any of our farmers or growers sell bushels of the commodity scale crop formerly known as rapeseed oil, rather because Oregon Department of Agriculture is considering sidestepping rules to end gridlock over a boundary map of where canola can be grown in the Willamette Valley – The ODA usually has a 30 day period for comments and consideration when they are set to change rules and policy, but they are contemplating changing the canola growing area via temporary rule today, August 10th.

So why is there a canola growing area? Canola is a promiscuous little devil, a brassica, a member of the mustard/cabbage/turnip/cauliflower family, it will cross breed with any and all of it’s cousins and this will be a problem for Willamette Valley’s seed growers. The Valley is a unique area whose climate and human capital have made it a prime seed growing area for over a century. The seed packets you get for your garden, the massive vigorous seeds used by large scale planters to grow crops for grocery stores, comes from the $34 million industry based in the Valley. Canola, a crop that is being expanded for use in biofuels, is putting over a 100 years of Oregon based knowledge, a unique biosystem and a major Oregon industry at risk. A person can be for biofuels and for Oregon seed growers at the same time, the question is – Does canola need to be grown in the what is considered to be one of the last remaining premiere seed producing areas in the world?

In addition to the threat of cross-contamination, canola mono-cropping also brings the threat of  pests that are currently absent from the Valley. Much of the canola crop is genetically engineered, a complicated issue onto itself, but there are two things two keep in mind with the issue of GE (genetically engineered) and GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) crops. One, the term organic excludes GEs and GMOs, so a farm that works hard to remain pesticide free, can lose their certification if their crops are cross-contaminated. Two, the company that holds the patents for much of the GE Canola seed has a history of suing individual farmers when their GE seed or crops turns up on land, even if the seed has fallen off a truck and cross-bred or volunteered on a family farm’s land. Given the resources backing a multinational corporation, these stories never end David and Golith style.

PFM has signed a petition asking the ODA to abide by its own rules. You can join Slow Food, Gathering Together Farms, Friends of Family Farmers and others by clicking and electronically signing this petition. Or please, politely email or call  ODA director Katy Coba: (503-986-4552, kcoba@oda.state.or.us) or call Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s office (503-378-4582) with your concerns:  That the department abide by its own lawful rules and adhere to the transparency that comes with good governance, to respect the Valley’s unique culture as a seed proiagator and to protect the majority of Oregon’s family farmers from pest infestion, crop contamination and possible litigation.

Special thanks to Friends of Family Farmers, who do such great work each and every day, for keeping us abreast of these developments. You can keep track of the canola story, one that is both important and not exactly headline news by visiting the FoFF website.

Keep track of Facebook and Twitter for Market updates over the weekend.

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If things a feel a little different this week, it’s not the heat, it’s national Farmers Market Week. 

It might be the heat too.

The USDA announced that due to demand, the number of Farmers Markets have grown by 9.6% in 2012. The combination of high-quality produce and crafted foods, a traditional market place to meet family, friends & neighbors, a chance to directly support local farmers and innovative programs like Fresh Exchange that make local foods available to all of Portland’s residents have fueled this growth.

PFM isn’t celebrating with any specific events, since every week is a Farmers Market week to us. However, we’d like to thank (always) the people who work so very hard to grow and make our foods, along with everyone who supports local agriculture. We’d also encourage you to use the occasion of Farmers Market Week to check out the good work our friends at the Farmers Market Coalition do to promote local agriculture and thanks also to Governor Kitzhaber for the helping promote agriculture in Oregon – link the proclamation below. Personally, I’m celebrating with a peach, one so big it might make Roald Dahl’s James a little envious.

FarmersMarket2012-1

 

 

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Summer. A time like-minded people gather to enjoy the bounty of the the Pacific NW. Most often that means select time with friends and family around a grill. Other times the gatherings are organized around professional associations or common interests (book clubs, knitting groups and Farmers Markets). Occasionally, a random shared trait will bring people together, as was the case when nearly 200 redheads recently gathered in North Portland at Cherry Sprout Produce.

For the decade I’ve lived in North Portland, there hasn’t always had a full-service grocery store in my zip code, or the King Farmers Market nor the new Kenton Market, but there has been an affordable place to buy produce thanks first to Big City Produce then it’s scion, Cherry Sprout. Located on a double lot on the corner of Sumner & Albina, half the space is occupied by the store, half is green space – Cherry Sprout is the perfect neighborhood fixture for onions, lime, tortillas or groceries.

One of the things you notice about the building when you go by is that it’s topped with a large carrot. Not a real carrot, more of a sculptural carrot, an installation vegetable. The carrot is a fairly recent addition, having materialized at some point within the last 18 months. Like the mysterious Pyramids of Giza and enigmatic Stonehenge, no one knows exactly how the great carrot appeared on the roof of Cherry Sprouts. Except, despite that grandiose pronouncement, we can reasonably sure both the pyramids and Stonehenge are the result of careful planning and simple leverage whose construction was likely fueled by beer. Likewise, we know the 50ft carrot that now crowns the Cherry Sprouts was picked up in the greater Olympia area by a man wearing a bunny suit (true fact) and its installation on building’s roof likewise involved some combination of planning, leverage and beer.

G is for Gathering

A building topped with giant carrot seems like an apt place for a group of redheads to assemble – somehow the carrot top reference was meta without being obvious. Redheads account for 1-2% of the human population. Before the understanding of genetics informed us that red hair is the result of two copies of a recessive gene, (Shoutout to Chromosome 16), redheads were historically thought to be sanguine, of fiery temperament, morally base, wicked and occasionally thought to be witches (our bad). Currently in popular culture, the animated Eric Cartman of South Park fame dismisses all people with light skin, freckles and red hair as ‘Gingers’, claiming they suffer from the incurable genetic condition known as ‘Gingervitis‘. Either because this specific gathering doesn’t subscribe to basic cable and remain blissfully unaware of the derision, or they are working to reclaim the term, the assembled group freely self-identified as Gingas or Ginger-Americans.

So what do 200 redheads do under a giant carrot? Nothing dramatic, no list of demands, there was no march, no chants of “What do we want?”, answered in unison by “SPF 120” – nor a second call and response of, “When do we want it?”, “Whenever the sun is out or about to come out”. Instead the group munched on carrots provided by Cherry Sprout, traded stories, engaged in a little shop talk and commemorated the event with a few photos (pictures courtesy of Marci MacFarlane).

All Hail Giant Carrot

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