Friday, July 24, 2009

In Season NW: Market Roundup

There's just too much to talk about this time of year when it comes to markets. I can't imagine what it's going to be like next month when the real avalanche of fruits and vegetables starts to hit, making the profusion of July look like a wimpy little skiff of snow.

But we Oregonians are such drama queens, aren't we? It's either too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry, too dark or too bright. So my new resolution is to simply, in the words of Baba Ram Dass, "be here now" and enjoy what comes. And right now being here ain't bad, as this roundup of the past week's markets shows.

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Eastbank Farmers' Market: Dennison Farms of Corvallis got the award for most colorful booth for its ten feet of orange, yellow and red tomatoes glowing in the afternoon sun. They were almost, but not quite, upstaged by the eye-popping yellow plums blushed with red in their green hallocks on a blue cloth. (Where are my sunglasses?) Just down aisle, the purple glow coming from the sheafs and tubs of lavender in Tanya Kern's Dancing Light Ranch booth was almost surreal, and stepping inside was like burying your nose in a lavender sachet. If fresh lavender wasn't your thing, she also offered handmade soaps, oils and lotions. Thursdays, 3-7 pm; SE 20th & Salmon between Belmont and Hawthorne.

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Interstate Farmers' Market: With universal health care in the headlines this week,it was only fitting to take a trip to this market, across the street and sponsored in part by Kaiser Permanente. I was ecstatic to find Hot Mama Salsa had landed here, having become addicted to Nikki Guerrero's chips, salsas and hot chili oil when she was at the Hillsdale market last year. Her sister will be filling in for for the time being, since Nikki had her baby last week. (Congratulations, Nikki!) And you could have lit a torch with Tim Lang's smile at the J. Gelati Italian Ice booth, he was so proud of his products made from fresh Oregon fruit. And the haricot verts and tiny zucchini and crookneck squashes with their blossoms still attached were selling like hotcakes at the Radical Pastures booth run by mother-daughter team Rowena and Lily Owen (left). A quick roll in egg white batter (whipped egg whites folded into the yolks mixed with a little flour) when I got home and a few minutes frying in hot oil and those squash were ready to eat. The result? Dave and Mr. B. are asking when we'll have them again! Wednesdays, 3-7 pm; 3550 N. Interstate Ave.

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Ecotrust Farmers' Market: As promised, Baird Family Orchards was stocked to the brim with the first of the season's peaches (top photo), Bill "Call me Mr. Peach" was passing out samples and shoppers were filling bags with the richly perfumed beauties. The stunning (and reasonably priced) bouquets from Lucky Farms Flowers (left), with their unusual combinations of lilies, eucalyptus, crocosmia, dahlias and mums, were drawing stares from passersby. And the warm afternoon required a stop at Catherine Myers' Fresh Juices and Delectables booth for a fresh limeade, though I was tempted to get one of the cups of sliced watermelon carried by several market-goers (right). Like I said, this time of year is all about choices! Thursdays, 3:30-7:30 pm; outside the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center on NW 10th between Irving and Johnson.

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