That may be the scene of late Saturday afternoon, but the morning offered a slightly damp yet rain-free and welcoming trip to the first Portland Farmers Market of the season. I usually have something of a dramatic countdown in place, but a stop by the albeit smaller but year-round farmers market at Peoples Coop a few days earlier held me over and really made for a nice surprise when the weekend hit. It was suddenly the premiere farmers market event of the year! (Seriously)Two bunches of kale down later, J. Legume and I made our way to the first raabs of the season, quickly remarked on both the lack of the usual crowd, and minutes later, came to our senses and realized we should have gotten there earlier, and most importantly, perused produce & goods and picked up some early Spring bounty. My personal highlights being the plenitude of purple cauliflower (which is really more of a purple broccoli) and the most beautiful head of cabbage I have ever seen – and carried home.
Call me a fangirl, call me a Portlander…..
The Portland Farmers Markets (and other neighborhood farmers markets that are not under this official umbrella) offer weekly invitations to keep your produce bowls and drawers stocked, inspire dinners, support local farmers and vendors, and simply check out the ultimate in fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables for both casual and custom menu planning. I’ve been a weekly (if not 2-3 times a week during the summer) shopper at Portland’s farmers markets for nearly a decade now, and the Lent’s International Market, in particular, becomes the highlight of my week. I’ve dined all around the US, and the produce here really is all it’s made out to me. It’s not a gimmick, vegetables really do taste better in the Pacific Northwest (with the exception of tropical fruit and avocado, sure). Early spring’s brussel srout raab, mid-summer Sungold cherry tomatoes, and Autumn’s squash harvest – it’s incredible and lets grocery shopping and menu planning make sense. And nothing beats local red garlic here – nothing!
I have learned so much about eating locally, sustainably, and frankly, the building blocks of vegetarian and vegan dish flavors. I can only imagine how much more fanatic I’ll become once I have a community garden space!
Enough produce prophesying, let the pictures from Saturday’s market opener share the experience…
During the winter, I pick up most of my produce from the Kruger farmstand on SE Hawthorne, which much of is local and actually comes from the Sauvie Island farm, and from New Seasons. They’re both loads better than when I give into convenience and buy the rare bag of chard from Trader Joe’s and instantly regret the lack of ‘crisp’ I’m offered, but they’re no farmers market in May…
I feel like I’m talking about a new album release, but this is my jam (Ba da bing!): I was just delighted to see such early Spring cauliflower in such exciting colors.
Now I do.
An acquired taste, if you will.
This one, on the other hand…
That gentleman just may have been posing.
My farmers market-inspired dinner plans for the week so far include braised seitan & cabbbage, mushroom risotto, curry pho chay and one heck of a pretty stir fry.
First came lunch: a simple fresh Tom Kah for two from my favorite Thai cooking school & go-to Thai cookbook.
If only all my Cheers glasses from my college years hadn’t chipped!