Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Love Song for Portland

TThis is the second week of the farmers' market, a day to separate the produce friends from the fanatics, as the rain poured down in a 38 degree chill. Everyone had these conspiratorial smiles on their faces as they sought out their spinach and leeks, sharing in each others' giddy stubbornness in refusing to let the weather keep us from our Saturday fix. The veggies seemed happy enough, and we got our first rapturous glimpses of rhubarb and asparagus amidst the onions, roots, and greens.

Drenched to the core, I felt like a golden retriever at the beach as I shook my soaked hair before I raised my camera, wrapped in a plastic bag, to snap shots of the day. Note to self: Jackets with hoods are NECESSARY. A playful feeling shocked through the small crowd - we gave up caring about our appearance and became kids, jumping in puddles, drinking apple juice from the jug, and eating chocolate covered mint patties fresh from the mint farm. The smell of the smoke from Mark Doxtader's Tastebuds pizza and bagel brick-oven made the whole scene feel like a camping trip, as we took every chance we could get to huddle together under tent coverings. That being said, I can't remember a campfire ever producing bacon and leek pizza with the best crust in the Northwest.

By noon, the lines for Pine State Biscuits were still shockingly short, and those for the coffee carts wound their way beneath vendor awnings and oversized umbrellas. Everyone seemed to have the same thought on their minds - holding a hot cup of caffeine is the only way to make this bearable. As I reached into my pockets to pull out the requisite $1.25, my hands were so cold they could hardly muster the dexterity to search for coinage - so the Funky Monkey baristas (cart-istas? vendristas? Addiction Pushers?) got their tip and then some. As I filled up my cup with french press brew, topped off with Norris' Dairy cream, I couldn't help but whisper, "Damn, I love this town."

A snapshot of my love affair with this city: Coffee in my hand, Leeks, cabbage, goat cheese, fresh made noodles, scallions, cilantro, and steamer clams from the coast in my backpack, babies bundled up with bearded, tattooed daddies holding umbrellas while they eat freshly made artichoke tamales, bluegrass music wafting over the sounds of water pouring off tented produce stands, and the farmers who brave this weather all week to bring it to the heart of a big city that thinks it's a small town.

A huge pool of water escapes from the awning above me, lands on my head, and as I start shivering, I take another sip of my coffee, wipe off my poor, abused camera, and laugh - this is what it's all about. The weathermen have pointed to rain every day for the foreseeable future, and we'll be smiling our way through it. A few weeks ago, Business Week named Portland, Oregon the Unhappiest City in America. Looking around this morning, I have to say they were quite mistaken. They obviously haven't been to our farmers market at the beginning of Spring.

I love you Portland. Eat well.


  1. Hey, love! I adore the new blog, and all the others. Thank you so much for sharing what you see and feel through words and photos.
    Get cozy with that cup of tea.
    Loves and kisses.

  2. Wow, if your this optimistic when it's 38 degrees and pouring I can"t wait to read your wonderful writing when the sun shines! I picture you as a new seed about to burst through the warming soil to thrust towards the waiting sun. Keep it up. Rock E.

  3. Wow.. I admire your determination to still go under that weather. It happened to me 2 weeks ago, I caved in and went undercover instead. Great photos, and I love your blog

  4. The unhappiest city in the US, huh? Well, that'd be right, considering that the boyfriend decides to move halfway across the world to Australia! I think Portland is romantic in its own way, though, even if the rain and clouds gang up against you most of the time. But then again, I don't live there. But maybe the produce will make it all worthwhile. We'll see!!

  5. Beautiful! I am drooooooling over the pizza and artichoke tamales! Oh how I wish I could stroll down to the market, window wipers on full and giggle in the rain with the best of you. The coastal markets begin in May, so we still have a bit of a wait. I will have to come in there and get my fix. I posted you on my blogroll too. Thanks!

  6. This is absolutely a beautiful image of the city I love. I was at the Farmer's Market for an hour or so with my mom on Saturday morning. She got to try out the new knit cowl I made and we cuddled a little bernese mountain dog. We bought kale and apples that were absolutely fantastic when brought home. I hope I have many more Saturday mornings free from work to come out and help myself.

    eating chocolate covered mint patties fresh from the mint farm.
    Those mint patties were incredible.