This past Saturday, Mr. Fancy Pants and I made it to the Portland Farmers Market for the first time. We traveled to the market on PSU’s campus a.) because it’s the biggest and b.) because I wanted to see the campus where William will be at school. Random side note, PSU was holding their Summer Commencement Ceremony while we were there. I guess that’s what people do in Portland…have graduations in farmer’s markets. Not too shabby!
I was so impressed by all of the vendors, food, fresh produce, and ALL the people. It was incredibly crowded but not bad enough that we were miserable. We kept commenting that when a group of people or city set out to start a farmers market, THIS is what their goal is. Whether or not they know it, the Portland Farmers Market is any new farmers market’s end goal. After we got home I was reading their website and found these stats fairly impressive:
- Portland Farmers Markets were founded 20 years ago
- The first farmers market had 1 location and 13 vendors
20 years later:
- There are over 250 vendors
- 6 locations
- Markets on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday
- Total sales for all vendors are nearly $6 million annually, with the majority of that income going directly to vendors themselves.
We were having some new friends over for dinner so I had a list of things in mind that I was going to get otherwise I probably would have purchased a lot more than I did. What I love about farmers markets (as opposed to shopping in Whole Foods or Trader Joes etc. etc.) are the farmers are at your disposal to ask questions, suggestions, etc. I bought some summer squash from a wonderfully helpful woman who gave me a great recipe of how she cooks them! In my opinion, cooking is such a personal act, why shouldn’t we get to interact with those who worked so hard to give us the ingredients!? On the growers’ end, blood, sweat, and tears pour into each crop. On my end, the same (mainly because the windows in our kitchen will not open and it gets unbelievably hot in our kitchen when I’m cooking!)
I think we’ll probably make this part of our weekly activities. It’s much more pleasant to shop outside than in a grocery store! I haven’t sat down to figure it out yet, but I’m fairly certain it is cheaper than most grocery stores. Either way, I’m sold!
My loot!! We ended up with some carrots, green beans, summer squash, corn, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and tomatoes. All in all, I’d consider that a successful outing! As a side note, we had planned to eat breakfast there. Pine State Biscuits have a booth there and we were really looking forward to trying our first biscuit. BUT the line was 18 miles long, so we had a breakfast burrito that was pretty tasty! Next go around…Pine State is a MUST.
Here are the links to the local farms whose booths are pictured above: