East Portland’s farmers markets blossom under summer sun

Come along for a tour of the Parkrose, Lents, and Montavilla farmers markets – and see more than a dozen fun photos, showing the bounty of the fresh, locally-grown food now available …

Looking for fresh food? Head out this weekend to your local farmers market!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Folks here in outer East Portland have always found it difficult to obtain fresh, locally-grown food – but, not anymore!

See what we found, when we visited markets in the Parkrose, Lents, and Montavilla neighborhoods this summer….

Parkrose Farmers Market

Anna Egoroff of Egoroff Farms shows off a selection of fresh berries she’s brought to the Parkrose Farmer’s Market.

“Here at the Parkrose Farmers Market, it’s been a bad season for farmers, but a good season for the market,” is how manager Steve Voorhees put it.

“It’s been a tough growing season – everything is late coming in, as far as crops go,” Voorhees added. “We remind customers that we provide seasonal produce – you won’t find produce that was grown in Ecuador! In some cases, it’s actually coming from the field across the street.”

Even though crops got off to a slow start, Parkrose Farmer’s Market manager Steve Voorhees says that now, “Everything’s peachy!”

Don’t forget a treat for your pooch!” reminds Annie Sons, as she shows off one of the “Pup-Cakes” she bakes at Annie’s Pets.

“Finally now, produce is coming in ‘hot and heavy’,” Voorhees reported. “And we’re looking for our local, super-sweet corn to be in the next week or so. There’s already some pretty good Pacific Northwest sweet corn available, but it’s not the mouthwateringly-good corn that you can only get from our local farms.”

Even though they offer local hothouse tomatoes, Parkrose’s manager said they’re expecting to see some real vine-ripened tomatoes this week.

“We’ve been seeing lots of shoppers; many of them visit us every week,” Voorhees said. “We often get 2,500 visitors. But because of our large market space, it never seems crowded here.”

Joni Bixby buys giant sweet cherries from Bridgette Merrill of Takahashi Farms.

Parkrose Farmers Market is open Saturdays through October, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

And there’s live music each week. On August 20, it will be from those jolly rockers, 3 Night Stand, back by popular demand. Don’t forget to enter the “Market Bag Drawing” when you visit.

The market accepts Oregon Trail and debit cards. It’s located at Parkrose High, 12003 NE Shaver Street, a block west of NE 122nd Avenue. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.


Lents International Farmers Market

Things are in full bloom at the Lents International Farmers Market.

The Lents International Farmers Market will expand their weekly Sunday market.

That report came from their new manager, Sarah Broderick – during her first day on the job at the July 31st market.

“I’m new to the Lents International Farmers Market,” Broderick said, “but I’m also in my third season of managing the Hollywood Farmers market in Northeast Portland. I’m good friends with Eliza Davenport, the outgoing market manager here; she’s leaving to go to grad school.”

She’s looking forward to a great season, says Sarah Broderick, new Lents International Farmers Market’s manager.

Rosemary Colorafi buys squash from farmer/merchant Vladimir Stadnikov of Stadnikov Farm in Damascus.

“We’ve been seeing good traffic here,” Broderick pointed out. “It’s been perhaps one of the best days ever at this market.”

What attracts shoppers is the variety of unique produce, Broderick said. “There is a lot of produce coming in now. We’re looking at tomatoes and peppers – we’ve deftly moved away from having just greens and strawberries being the only things you can find at the market.”

Kari Deardorff, President of the David Douglas High School PTSA, says its booth is a fundraiser to build an electronic message board to be placed on SE 122nd Avenue.

New to the market is vendor Haus Bakes Cupcakes; and here showing off some of their goodies are Diana Marquez, and pastry chef Marlina Hausmann.

Lents International Farmers Market is open every Sunday between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Cooking demos take place at 10:00 and live music kicks off at 11:00 a.m. They offer a special for SNAP customers: Each $1 spent will be matched up to $5.

You’ll find the market just east of Trillium Artisans on SE 92nd Avenue, at SE Foster Road. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.


Montavilla Farmers Market

The Montavilla Farmers Market continues to thrive on Sundays, as shoppers load up of fresh produce.

“We’re still going strong,” is how Montavilla Farmers Market’s manager, Gretchan Jackson, summarized their season.

“Even though we’re only open for four hours, we have about 1,500 people who come every Sunday,” Jackson pointed out. “The season started a little slower, but now that the sun’s come out and we’ve had some nice weather, we’re seeing strong business.”

Montavilla Farmers Market manager Gretchan Jackson gets a hug from vendor Cameron Howser of The Hummus Stop. “Best hummus in town,” he pitches.

Rod Rhoads buys carrots from Chris Simmonds from Simplicity Gardens.

The fact that folks like coming out on a sunny day – and, that crops are now coming into the market – is “the perfect marriage of customers and product. Everyone seems happy. We have a full slate of vendor each Sunday.”

One reason for their continuing success, Jackson observed: “We have a nice mix of products. We hope to provide shoppers with a ‘complete market basket’, so one can cook for a single meal, or get a complete week’s worth of fresh groceries.”

Here, encouraging folks to attend the Montavilla Farmers Market Harvest Dinner, is Beth Kluvers

Volunteer Beth Kluvers stepped up to pitch their September 17th “Harvest Dinner”.

“This event helps support the Montavilla Farmers Market – specifically, our program ‘Everybody Eats’. This program helps make local fresh food more affordable for people who are in a financial pinch. And, it’s an amazing dinner. For $65 you get a six-course meal. See our website for more information.”

The fact that thieves stole most of their market gear a couple of weeks ago doesn’t let Jackson Haselnus and Megan Robinson, and Kayanna Cecchi of Liepold Farms, get them down.

Montavilla Farmer’s Market is open Sundays through October 31 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

From Noon until 1:00 p.m. is their weekly “Lunch and Learn Series” – on August 21, it’s Joel Stocks from the Bent Brick who will demonstrate how to make a Chilled Corn soup with red pepper and bacon relish. Stick around for samples!

It’s located in the 7600 Block of SE Stark St., just west of the Academy Theater, and across the street from Mr. Plywood. For more information, or get tickets to their Harvest Dinner, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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