Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Market Roundup: St. Johns and Montavilla

If St. Johns feels more like a small town than a neighborhood, there's a reason. It was laid out as an eight-block city by James Johns in 1865 and wasn't annexed by the city of Portland until 1915. Opening day of the St. Johns Farmers' Market dawned sunny and clear, with the green spires of the stunning St. Johns bridge (named for the neighborhood) visible from the edge of the market. Strawberries were the theme of the cooking demonstration of Pitxi Dining Room and Wine Bar chef and owner Edward Martinez, as he whipped up a strawberry coulis and nearly got trampled by the small children running up to taste the samples he offered. The Ladybug Organic Cafe had an impressive display of its whole wheat flax bread, fresh-roasted coffee beans and jars of hot sauce, and the bags of English muffins were flying off the table as neighbors took advantage of the opportunity to take some home for breakfast. Garlic was the big draw at Sasquatch Acre, Evan Driscoll's one-acre farm on Sauvie Island, with bulbs of spring garlic and the curling scapes holding sway over the mustard mix and snap peas. Cece Hall Lilla Farm Lavender was running wands of lavender through a sieve by hand, the scent wafting down the aisle and drawing shoppers to her booth stocked with dried lavender, lavender oil and lavender room spray.

Details: St. Johns Farmers' Market. Saturdays, 9 am-1 pm, in St. Johns Plaza at the intersection of N Lombard and Philadelphia.

* * *

It looked like the whole neighborhood, including its canine contingent, attended opening day at the Montavilla Farmers' Market, with the head count of the human portion topping last year's biggest day by more than 40%. There were several new food vendors, including Kebab-A-Rama, who were making the bread for their kebab sandwiches over the fire before the market opened. John Sonksen (left) was kept busy at the grill as customers went crazy over his sauces. Simplicity Gardens brothers Vyasa and Gopal Thomas (top photo) were showing off their jewel-like radishes in hot pink, purple, red and white, and flashing wide smiles as they described the carrots they've grown this season. And there was enough sunshine to warrant a line at Liquid Sunshine Lemonades, and it was no surprise that the fresh-crushed strawberry was the favorite by a mile.

Details: Montavilla Farmers' Market. Sundays, 10 am-2 pm, in the 7600 block of SE Stark between Mt. Tabor and 82nd Ave.

No comments: