Lents farmers market grows summer-long selling season

Organization and hard work have helped the backers of the Lents International Farmer’s Market turn into an every-Sunday food-and-fun event. Take a peek at our exclusive coverage of their opening day‚

The market manager of the Lents International Farmer’s Market, Jill Kuehler, introduces us to some of their many vendors.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Last year, the northwest corner of SE 92nd Avenue and Foster Road was the once-per-month testing ground for a new kind of farmer’s market. Instead offering up standard farm fare, they specialized in providing produce with international appeal.

“We’re providing a place for immigrant and refugee farmers to sell their crops and goods,” is what the market’s manager, Jill Kuehler, told us. “That’s why we call in an ‘international’ market. We have international entertainment, food, and produce vendors. There are produce products many people have never seen before. This part of outer East Portland has diverse cultures‚ thus, we’ve created diverse marketplace.”

Janson Owens buying asparagus from Melinda Piche, from a farm at SE 49th Avenue and Tenino St. (known as John’s farm).

Looking around we saw cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, plants, flowers, and prepared foods, many of which were grown or prepared by immigrants and refugees living in the Portland area.

Kuehler said that each week, international music, children’s entertainment, and educational talks and demonstrations by chefs, nutritionist, and gardeners, are scheduled. She added that they accept WIC and Senior coupons, and will soon accept the Oregon Trail card.

Evan Hansen and Sarah Sherertz, here buying fresh eggs from Bonnie Hodge: “Ten blocks up, 200 chickens, Brookside Farms,” she says.

Agriculture believers
“We believe that local farmers deserve a place to sell their produce,” continued Kuehler. “We support local agriculture. There are many lower-income neighbors in the area‚ and we believe fresh produce shouldn’t only be available in affluent areas. This market brings fresh produce and products to everyone here.”

Another unique feature of this market is the “Community Table”.

“Neighbors can sell surplus produce from their family gardens. They drop off their produce in the morning, we sell it for them, and they pick up the money in the afternoon,” Kuehler added.

Their hours are 9 am‚ 2 pm every Sunday. Come and visit them this weekend. Or, for more information, e-mail Kuehler at lentsfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

Da StarLiner Band ‚Äì an African reggae band with members from Ghana‚ plays their original songs.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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