Sunday, March 21, 2010

Farmers' Market: Opening Day

 y emotions upon waking up yesterday morning could have been likened more to those of a five-year-old on the morning of a trip to Disneyland than to those of a twenty-two-year-old waking up at 7 am on the next to last day of Spring Break two weeks before her thesis draft is due. Improbable as it was, I was grinning even before I was fully conscious. I couldn't wait to get up, get dressed, and walk down the park blocks before the first opening bell of the year rang. My first surprise of the day was how ridiculously short that walk actually was. I knew that moving downtown would put me close to the market, but I hadn't thought it would take me all of three minutes to stroll past budding trees, an ambush of daffodils, and shining streetcar tracks before I came to the white-topped tents of the market vendors. I was giddy - the market is in my backyard, and it's back!
The weather was record-breakingly, breath-takingly, earth-shakingly gorgeous. Not a cloud in the sky and reaching 70 degrees, the sun seemed just as excited as I was to greet the farmers after what felt like a year, but I suppose was only three months. I arrived just in time to hear the opening bell, its ringing met with the cat-calls and happy cries of farmers and foodies glad to be back in the sun after a winter of cold storage and/or shipped-in produce. The air smelled like wood smoke, coffee, wet wool and Pine State biscuits and gravy. Truth be told, it was a little overwhelming. The market has doubled in size, everyone has moved around to new spots, and the market staff were energized but a bit frazzled with all of the new logistical changes and early-season pressures, but there was no doubt that we were all glad to be back.

I had friends coming to meet me for brunch at my apartment around ten, so I had an hour and a half to shoot photos for the market newsletter and Lemonbasil, plan a menu based on the available veggies, and gather everything while eagerly greeting and catching up with my favorite farmers and market enthusiasts. I was so happy to see my friends at Rainyway Farms, Gathering Together, Jacobs Creamery, Spring Hill, and so many others, not to mention new vendors and the PFM volunteers and staff that make it all possible.

I grabbed my first bunch of asparagus of the year as soon as I saw it (only Spring Hill had it this early, a small batch with cute tiny stems, so I knew I needed to get it before it was gone) and a basket full of other goodies, including kohlrabi, french breakfast radishes, gorgeous rainbow chard, a gluten-free sesame sourdough loaf, a dozen fresh eggs, some Holy Habanero pepper jam from Rose City Peppers, leeks, yukon gold potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and a dozen eggs. I'm lucky my building has an elevator - walking up nine flights of stairs with all that would have been a bit tricky.

All in all, it was a day to remember. My fridge is so colorful, my brunch went well, the asparagus went far too quickly (I might run by the Hillsdale Farmers' Market today to see if they've got some more) and Spring is here! It finally feels like the new year. Even though Sunday has brought back the rain and clouds (this IS Portland, I suppose) I got a glimpse of great things to come.

Were you at the market? Let me know what you bought and what you plan to do with it! Here are some shots from Opening Day - hope to see you there next week!


  1. I was there, though I didn't make it early enough for asparagus. And I didn't see rhubarb either. My haul: yellow finn potatoes, garlic, green garlic, chard, Asian raab, and French breakfast radishes. Add to that coffee from the lovely Cafe Velo and a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit from Pine State. Mmmm...heaven.

  2. FIDDLEHEADS!!!! Mike will be excited.

  3. What struck my fancy and eye was the beautiful red and orange and green chard. WOW! Let's get some when we visit!

  4. This post just made my mouth water and my body yearn for spring! Thank you for sharing such amazing farmer's market photos - we aren't quite to that point yet in MInnesota! As always, I enjoyed this post!

    I gave you a Happy 101 Award! It was given to me, and now I am passing on the joy. Follow the link to my blog for all the details!

    Have a wonderful day :) - Kim |

  5. Your photographs are so incredibly beautiful! I wish I was in Portland (Atlanta here), just to go to that market if for no other reason. :)

  6. I also missed the Asparagus, bummer, I need to get there earlier. Love your photos, keep it up