Can you hear it? That slight rumble in the distance, like a thunderstorm on the other side of the mountains that gradually builds to a deafening roar. It takes a couple of months to reach full pitch, but what you're hearing is the tsunami of fresh produce that's starting to pour into local farmers' markets. Last month the rhubarb trickled in with late winter greens and spring onions. Now we're seeing the first of the Oregon strawberries, soon to be followed by blueberries, raspberries, giant heads of lettuce and a a catalog of peppers and melons.
Hollywood Farmers' Market: It was garlic shoots both straight and curly, spring onions and vegetable starts at Gales Meadow Farms. More exotic greens were on display at Blooming Goodies, and Seng Lee and her nephew (top photo) were excitedly describing magnificent stir-fries that could be made with their pea shoots, gai lan, amaranth, curly Thai flowers, ong choy, basil and mint.
Saturdays from 8:30 am-1 pm on NE Hancock between 44th and 45th Aves. in the Hollywood neighborhood.
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Lloyd Farmers' Market: Almost literally hidden between big office buildings in a small park just south of Lloyd Center in Northeast Portland, this market is made up of vendors hand-picked for the quality of their products. From pastries and luscious lunch crepes you can pick up something to munch on while you shop. And that's just what manager Eamon Molloy wants you to do. He's even been known to send photos of vendors from his Blackberry to lure customers. The photo at right came with the description "Kirk & Julie of Red Tree Farm work 2 acres on Sauvie Island, commuting from N Portland. They brought salad greens, radishes and eggs this week."
Tuesdays from 10am-2pm in Oregon Square on NE Holladay St. between 7th and 9th Aves.
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People's Farmers' Market: An old-world charm gushes from the humming little market that clusters around People's Co-op in this densely populated Southeast Portland neighborhood. Young women with babies on their tattooed hips, men with more silver in their ears than most people will wear in a year and all of whom exude an earnest happiness gather and laugh and talk local politics. My favorite vendor is Herman Obrist (left), whose gentle Swiss accent and sparkling blue eyes twinkle when he describes coming to Oregon in the middle of the last century with his wife, Lydia, and settling on his farm in Gaston. His honey is renowned for its subtle sweetness and an aroma of a field of flowers.
Wednesdays from 2-7 pm at People's Co-op, 3029 SE 21st, between Powell and Division.