This dark and rainy spring has made me more impressed than ever with our intrepid farmers, not only considering the hard work required to grow crops but with the early mornings and long hours they spend at farmers' markets, standing in the cold and rain, bringing the incredible bounty of our region to all of us.
The hidden gem that is Northeast Portland's Lloyd Farmers' Market is ramping up for spring with mushrooms both fresh and dried from "Wild Bill" Cole's Nature's Choice. Always a font of information, this week Bill featured one of the biggest porcini mushrooms I'd ever seen that was easily the diameter of a soccer ball. And I discovered Fressen is now making its own granola and looks to be of the not-so-sweet variety that I prefer. Packed with dried fruit and nuts, at $6 a bag it looks like a deal. And the Albions were on full display at Unger Farms, who were bursting with the news that they're about to open their very own farm store out in Cornelius. Look for unusual organic greens from that quiet guy with the very sparkly blue eyes named Curly at Osmogaia, and piles of carrots and seasonal veggies from Rick Steffen Farm. And if you ask really nicely, you might just get a hot-off-the-press playing card (put out by the Food Alliance) from the person at the Rogue Creamery table…collect 'em all!
Details: Lloyd Farmers' Market. Tuesdays, 10 am-2 pm in the Oregon Square Courtyard on NE Holladay St. between NE 7th and NE 9th Aves.
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The sun came out and beamed all day for the shoppers at the Hollywood Farmers' Market, with sun-dazzled children almost too stunned to dance to the music being played by local musicians. Heck, even the dogs (allowed after 10 am) were well-behaved! Sophie Rahman (right) was doing huge business at her Masala booth, making her authentic South Indian masala dosas for the hungry crowds. Like a crepe or burrito, it's a filled wrapper, only this one is made from a sourdough-like, fermented lentil batter that is filled with a turmeric-infused, spiced potato mixture, both vegan and gluten-free. And, need I say, delicious! The guys at Big B Farms were in a hugging mood (top photo) as they kidded around with customers snatching up bunches of basil, spring squash and herbs, and were hatching plans to expand their empire beyond the three tents they currently have with the help of a lift truck, if necessary, to get their way. Things at Sweet Leaf Organics on the other side of the market were a bit more sedate, though the line to the checkstand snaked out into the aisle as happy shoppers exclaimed about the weather and compared recipes for strawberry jam.
Details: Hollywood Farmers' Market. Saturdays from 8 am-1 pm on NE Hancock between 44th and 45th Aves.