Hollywood Farmers' Market
Location: NE Hancock between 44th and 45th Aves.
Hours: Saturdays, 8 am-1 pm
(Dog-free hours 8-10 am; dogs allowed 10 am-1 pm)
The stars must have been aligned and the gods of spring distracted reading their Saturday New York Times, since even the rain held off for most of the Hollywood Farmers' Market season opener.
Xavier's eye-popping display of bright orange carrots and brilliant red beets piled four feet high in front of the Sweet Leaf Farm stand stopped shoppers in their tracks and made for long lines at the checkout counter. But everyone was so happy the market was finally open and so busy visiting with neighbors they hadn't seen during the dark days of winter that the wait became a pleasure.
And Tyson, the young bearded fellow with bright pink cheeks at Winter Green Farm, happily discussed everything from favorite recipes to Bernese Mountain Dogs as customers piled his White Russian kale, purple potatoes and spring onions into their wagons (supplied by the market for customers' purchases).
Looking almost but not quite too good to eat, the cupcakes (left, above) that Jessie Smith had packed into the bright pink display case was a smash hit with the younger set, and more than a few parents and grandparents seemed to be adding on to their kids' orders. It was Jessie's first market day ever for her brand new business, called Confectionery, but she said she'd be setting up her table at several markets this season, including Lake Oswego, Milwaukie and Montavilla.
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King Farmers' Market
Location: NE 7th & Wygant between NE Alberta and Prescott Sts.
Hours: Sundays, 10 am-2 pm
If shoppers at Saturday's markets felt blessed not to be drenched while shopping, the neighbors who flocked to the Sunday debut of the King Farmers' Market in NE Portland must have thought they'd stumbled on holy ground with the sun shining in a cloudless blue sky and temperatures nearing 60.
There were so many people, in fact, that many vendors were running out of product after just a couple of hours, and were torn between elation at the market's success and stupefication at the unexpected crowds. Several NE neighborhood businesses were represented in the mix, including Random Order Coffeehouse, along with Portland Farmers' Market regulars like Lisa Jacobs of Jacobs Creamery and the ever-effervescent Connie Rawlings-Dritsas (left) offering samples of her sugarless fruit-based Blossom Vinegars.
Food vendors cut a wide swath as well, with buckwheat crepes from C'est Si Bon, the fluffy-as-a-cloud tamales from Micro Mercantes and, perfect for a sunny day, fresh fruit popsicles from Sol Pops (who get my award for having the cutest stand).
As for the question of whether Portland has too many farmers' markets, you only had to look around you to know that there's plenty of room for more. And if its first day was any indication, this new market looks like it's going to be a jewel in the PFM crown.