Oh, hello there. Look at that, despite the visit of a sporadically rainy weekend and feeling the urge for a big, cozy sweater, it’s basically summer and there you have it, spending a late Saturday afternoon with a soy latte in a neighborhood coffee shop. It’s a big vegan weekend in town and I’ll admit, it’s on the surreal side to sit this one out, but we’re heading out-of-town soon and goodness, my focus is elsewhere. It’s been an intriguing, day job orientated past year, and the seasons ahead beckon goodness and ambition. The end of VVC is now a full year behind— now, that, was surreal. It’s bittersweet, but life goes on and inspiration brings what may. I’ve been tinkering with concepts all over the place since last May (er, always), which dives into the intimate and homegrown, with the rebirth of Vegan Iron Chef and what’s unfolded as our Summer of Brunch Benefit Series…and the summer ahead. It reignited with the Rainbow Potluck, waltzed into the intention of hosting a brunch-themed social, which transformed into a series of pop-up benefit brunches across the city this July and August. How sweet is that?! For more on what’s going on with that, visit veganironchef.org/brunch, yo, or the fb event for the Kick-Off Brunch Set at Sweet Hereafter on 7/24.
Mmm, brunch. That said, my leisure time has been spent in the garden with Jules, reading, biking, talking to our cats, cooking, same same. Good good. Our new community garden plot is twice as large as our first, and we’ve been growing radishes, beets, kohlrabi, snow peas, peppers, tomatoes, a variety of basil, and even more tomatoes to come. Go figure, we’re pickling everything we can get our hands on, with an entire shelf in the fridge currently reserved for assorted jars of grand veg + brine. Oh, it’s grand when you realize you have a minimum of 2 types of pickled radishes to choose from.
And holy moly, are radish greens tasty. For the record, I still hate the heat (but I’ve quickly grown to adore what it does to my short hair these days), but knowing we’re growing our own food, witnessing the abundance of farmers markets and a trip to NYC to start things off, I daresay I’m looking forward to our first entire summer together in 2+ years. So, I’m here to express what I’m looking forward to, dusting this off, slowly channeling my voice and heart, seeing what’s in store for the summer. Dum dum dum.
Biking to the Lents International Farmers Markets, check. This is one of my very favorite parts of summer life. It’s spacious and diverse and I always pair it with a bonus stop for a fun lunch or carefree errand, like lunch at Van Hanh or Mexican beers at Portland Mercado’s bar or fresh tofu from J.C. Rice Noodle.
Although this year, it’s officially part of the Portland Farmers Markets world and moved a block or two west (impending development) which has mortified Jules with its lack of bike parking, and wait, I’m looking forward to my first Portland Pickles game, but where were the Belmont Goats?
Surviving the continued, inevitable heat with cold, afternoon cocktails in pint glasses, and yeah, giant mason jars, in addition to proper, berry-soaked hydration, because, let’s relax. Hmm, where to?
Sitting in our Community Garden plot: weeding, growing, watering…assisting Jules, the master gardener to-be
Pickling all the newbs
Pictured: skewers from my bloody, beety mary presentation at a Northwest Veg potluck last March
Make a summer liqueur or two, or three, and bitters, while I’m at it
I’m thinking summer peach, vanilla and seriously, a ridiculous but true wisp of sweet basil, swoon.
Breaking in our (and my!) first-ever tent, and grilling over a campfire
Oh, I can chill.
Getting a handle on summer style?
It’s taken me 33 years, but I’ve almost got a handle on this picky, freckled, sweaty, heat-avoiding checklist: go-to sunglasses, sunscreen, loose, sleeveless blouses, summer crocs, cold coconut. Chilled can of beer. Strawberry & lemon water. Screw it, I’ve been saving and Thai islands are calling us —What’s the point of hot and cranky when I could be hot and devouring curry and drinking Singh?
Foraging neighborhood fruit trees and free piles
Look, I’m not including a photo, because people subjecting free piles to photos and passing by makes me even sadder than the truth that free piles are sadder than ever in terms of the Portland rental and housing situation : /
Picnics on the beach at Sauvie + U-Pick
Love. Blueberry picking for an hour or two is goddamn therapeutic, and even better than you freeze and snack on the haul for the next few weeks!
Yeah. Garden grown lettuce, picked daily, fresh herbs, roasted or pickled beets, dressings-on-a-whim, and not turning on the oven. Let’s rock this out.
And hey, what do ya know, I’ve finished my soy latte.
to be continued…
You can catch semi-regular updates on my Instagram, yo @jdfunks