Parkrose Farmer’s Market: Having an ‘awesome’ season

See why it’s always a fun time when we go to this farmer’s market to shop and talk with the vendors – and why you should go, if you haven’t yet …

Steve Voorhees, Market Master of Parkrose Farmers Market, shows he “knows his onions (or is it a leek?)” to natural beef rancher Dianne Greif of Pd Farms.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Even with his arm in a sling, the Market Master of Parkrose Farmers Market, Steve Voorhees, was upbeat when we caught up with him last week.

“This has been an awesome season so far,” Voorhees said. “We’ve been averaging about 1,200 people every Saturday – a big improvement from last year.”

Neighborhood grant sparks sales
One thing that helped tip the scale in the market’s favor, Voorhees explained, was being able to provide food for Oregon Trail Card shoppers.

“Thanks to a grant from the East Portland Neighborhood Organization, we’re able to participate in the food stamp program,” Voorhees said. “And, it gives us the ability to accept debit cards from all shoppers. So far this year, we’ve taken in over $6,000 because of this program. This is money spent in the community that would not otherwise be spent here.”

What pleases him the most, he told us, is that this money is being spent on fresh, wholesome foods produced locally by farmers, instead of on low-quality foods that were prepackaged in some distant location.

A popular band at the market, 3-Night Stand, plays rock and roll favorites, and some of original tunes as well.

Grazed beef a popular purchase
While Elgin, Oregon, is some distance from outer East Portland, Voorhees said he welcomed Dianne Greif of Pd Farms – a purveyor of all-natural grass-fed beef and fresh garden produce – because of the high quality of the foods they bring to the market.

“All of our meat comes from animals that are grass-fed,” Greif explained. “This means we don’t give them hormones or steroids to make them grow faster. They graze naturally on the free range; they’re never put into a feedlot. There’s no stress on the animals, so it results in a better product for the customer. You can taste the difference in the very first bite.”

Lydia Harner buys berries from Ruby Snyder for Sturm’s Berry Farm.

Market product outlook
“Winter squash will start coming in soon,” Voorhees said. “It’s going to be a great winter squash season because of the warm weather – it makes them delicious and keeps them from being stringy.”

Tomatoes are on their way, we learned. But, “Apricots are coming to an end, as are berries. Look for the fresh crop of apples in the next few weeks. And, the ‘Fishing Sisters’ are bringing in fresh Alaskan salmon and halibut this week.”

You can see what’s happening at the market anytime – by checking out their website:  CLICK HERE.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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