Monday, March 22, 2010

In Season NW: And They're Off!

If a farmers' market manager was asked what her dream opening day would look like, it couldn't have been much better than what Portland Farmers' Market got on Saturday. With clear skies and temperatures predicted to be in the mid-60s, people swarmed like flies on syrup, and even with a near-doubling of their footprint and a new "EverGreen" recycling program that basically closed all the trash containers and caused some vendors to have to take up the slack, it was a hugely successful day.

Rick Steffen Farm at PFM.

As much a social occasion as as an opportunity to stock up on supplies for the week, people greeted not only their friends and neighbors but their favorite farmers, exclaiming over the selection of greens and the size of the parsnips. And, as usual, there was much hugging and back-slapping, as well as cooing over new babies and children's growth spurts since the markets closed down the previous winter.

Raab galore at Hillsdale.

Tender spring fiddleheads, nettles and miner's lettuce made their fleeting cameo appearances along with big bunches of slender carrots, red onions and beets, and there were plenty of salad greens to pick from. Deep Roots Farm had three kinds of raab (kale, chard and one they were calling "bok-olini"), Rick Steffen had brought in some miner's lettuce and Viridian Farms was bravely (or foolishly) displaying its nettles in open boxes rather than safely bagged and tagged. (I could just seem some toddler walking by and grabbing it, or brushing by and getting stung…eek!)

Lisa Jacobs rarin' to go at Hillsdale.

Despite the traumas, real or imagined, the weekend brought a satisfied collective sigh to the chefs, foodies and just plain folks who anxiously await this annual harbinger of spring. Now all we have to do is figure out what to do with those bags of greens, potatoes and grains we bought in the heat of the moment.


koprime said...

check out the markets:
Portland Saturday -

Kathleen Bauer said...

If you don't want to cut and paste the URL, here's the interactive map. Though unfortunate it's so frame-y and doesn't have a good UI.

Kim said...

Hey sweet pea... how about a raab recipe as I'm about to plant some...

Kathleen Bauer said...

Hey, Kim, I dug around in the archives (so dusty!) and found a couple of recipes, one for "Rapini, Ceci e Pasta" and the other for "Pasta with Leeks and Raab." More are on the way!