Find out why many folks across southern outer East Portland say the opening of this farmers market signals that summer is just around the corner …
An hour after the Lents International Farmers Market opens for the first time in 2013, shoppers are heading in for their first visit of the season.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Many neighbors in the Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert, and Foster-Powell neighborhoods look forward to the Sunday when the vacant lot at the northwest corner of SE 92nd Avenue and SE Foster Road again springs to life, as the Lents International Farmers Market opens for the season.
Folks in outer East Portland do love their farmers markets. Two others have already opened:
> Read about the Parkrose Farmers Market opening this year: CLICK HERE.
> See our story about the season opener for the Montavilla Farmers Market: CLICK HERE.
The “sweetest pea” in the market, Zenger Farm Executive Director Jill Kuehler, welcomes shoppers.
“We are continuing as a program of Zenger Farm,” Lents International Farmers Market Manager Sarah Broderick said.
This is our seventh full season,” Broderick told East Portland News. “but it’s actually our eighth, if one counts our first, ‘pilot season’ year.”
Nicolas Amaro and Norma Amaro show of N & N Amaro Produce show their offerings to Lents International Farmers Market Manager Sarah Broderick (who is standing between them).
It’s important to the community, she said, “Because to have a farmers market here provides a unique farm-direct opportunity – for growers and buyers – here in the southern part of outer East Portland.”
Market visitors tell her they look forward to the market’s opening every year. “It’s a community gathering space, as well as a place for people to access fresh fruit and vegetables.”
New to the market this year is House Spirits Distillery, and that’s Christina Shapalis providing samples to shoppers.
Broderick said that what sets this farmers market apart from others is that it is the only internationally-focused market in the metropolitan area.
“We support immigrant and emerging small-business owners and farmers,” Broderick explained.
Shopper Denise Hauser buys from volunteer Mark Golden, who is helping out at the “Community Table”.
“We have Russian and Hispanic farmers, as well as a group Mien women who garden at the Zenger Farm, they sell their vegetables at our Community Table,” said Broderick. “We have a couple of Hmong women vendors here. And, we work with IRCO, the small-business development program, to find budding restaurateurs for our hot food vendors.”
On opening day, the market started off with 23 vendors. “We’ll probably have 26 to 27 vendors as the season matures,” Broderick said, “maybe as many as 30 on some Sundays.”
Zenger Farm Market Intern Olivia Durif entices buyers with fresh leafy greens.
A new program at the market that Broderick is enthusiastic about is called “Food Scouts”.
“With ‘Food Scouts’, kids from age five to twelve can receive $2.00 every week to spend on produce, fresh food, or food-producing plants – and to participate in fun activities or games.”
Find out more, when you visit the market this week.
In addition to “Food Scouts”, this market also offers the Healthy Rewards program – a nutrition incentive program for SNAP participants, which matches up to the first $10 in SNAP purchases each week.
“Enjoy your dessert first” might be the motto of Laura Farina, who tempts shoppers with the rich, luscious macaroons she creates at her shop, Farina Bakery.
Lents International Farmers Market
- 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
- SE 92nd Avenue and SE Foster Road
- See their website: CLICK HERE.
© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News