Saturday, April 10, 2010
This morning at the market felt like a holiday! My parents are in town from California, so I was able to show off our gem of a farmers' gathering, brag about our asparagus, treat them to their first Pine State Biscuit sandwich, and introduce them to my favorite farmers.
Not that I ever forget how amazing our market is, but there is an undeniable joy and invigorating pride that comes with introducing the market to outsiders--I say that like we're some sort of secret club...which is maybe not too far from the truth. My parents have an amazing year-round garden, both at home and at the school where my mother is a special-ed teacher, but it's astonishing how hard it is to get local produce "with the farmer's face on it" in Southern California. They have a few markets here and there, but they are always amazed to see how easy it is to get to know the people who grow/raise/make/artisanize food in Oregon. I'm on a continuous campaign to get them to move up here, and every trip to the market is one more tally in the Pro column.
A couple new developments at the market this week - the ASPARAGUS is out in full force, the rainbow carrots are showing up the ol' orange variety with their ostentatious colors, and the plant starts are all getting a little bigger.
I even spied some large potted cherry tomatoes with plenty of yellow blossoms! I took advantage of my parent's formidable carrying powers by turning them into my own "veggie valet" and was able to get one of Ron and Joan's Salad Bowls from Rainyway Farms that I'd been eying for a few weeks.
I also picked up a cherry tomato start and took advantage of the AMAZING Growing Gardens potting station with plants, soil, and fertilizer supplied by Portland Nursery and Whitney Farms.
I bought a $2 tomato plant and the lovely ladies from the PDX non-profit Growing Gardens gave it a lovely new home, complete with watering tips, for free. Yep, free. They'll be in the center of the market all month, so get out there and buy some plants!
I have a tiny little balcony in a downtown brownstone apartment, but my folks are going to help me set up a little kitchen garden. I already have a bunch of herbs in my kitchen window, but I want to use as much space as I can to grow my own edibles. If I can do it in ten square feet, so can you, especially with the help of some amazing volunteers and farmers at the market. They grow things for a living, and are always happy to give gardening tips, so ask away!
We've also just launched the Official Portland Farmers Market Blog, and I'll be a regular contributor. We'll have interviews, recipes, market news, and videos from the most happening place in town. I'll still be Lemonbasil-ing as much as I can, so keep me bookmarked! I hope to see you down at the market next week.
Enjoy Spring and Eat Well!
Here's your weekly dose of Portland bounty, fresh from the market: