Harvest fest fills SE street with food and fun

See why food samples, a pie-eating contest and musical entertainment drew a merry throng of folks to this annual event at SE Portland’s People’s Co-op ‚Ķ

In the lower part of this photo, standing next to the blue canopy, you’ll see Celtic Sheppard Creamery’s Brendan Enright (in the striped apron) visits with People’s Co-op farmer’s market coordinator Ariana Jacob (wearing the hoop skirt) amid the bustle of market’s Harvest Festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Drivers who were trying to cut between SE Powell Ave. and Division St. using SE 21st Ave. found a detour blocking their way between SE Tibbetts St. and Brooklyn St. on Wednesday, October 4th.

In our case, however, we were delighted, not angered, with this discovery–we’d found the location of the annual People’s Food Co-op Harvest Festival. We stopped and joined in.

When we asked to speak with People’s “boss”, we were kindly informed that this unique, full-line grocery store is owned by the community and is cooperatively run. We were introduced to the Farmer’s Market Coordinator, Ariana Jacob.

Farm and craft street party
“Today’s Farmer’s Market is special. Welcome to our Harvest Festival,” Jacob greeted us.

She told us that People’s Food Co-op provides the best, most wholesome food available at the lowest price possible. The co-op, now in its 36th year, has always supported local farmers, producers, and craftspeople.

“Some of our suppliers decided to have a Farmer’s Market; it operates on Wednesdays,” Jacob said. “Unlike other markets, the People’s Farmer’s Market operates year around.”

A fun feature of the Harvest Festival is the pie-eating contest. It looked like all entrants won – a belly full of fresh, organic pie!

Bringing people together
“Our festival brings out everybody, all at once. Neighbors who live nearby come and join in our celebration along with People’s Food Co-op member/owners for a fun time. We spend time together, eating food, and drinking cider, wine, and beer. We celebrate the bountiful harvest and the spirit of community.”

In conjunction with farmers and producers offering samples of food, produce, breads, organic cheeses, the festival annually hosts a craft fair.

The People’s Co-op Harvest Festival turned SE 21st Avenue into a festival center, featuring food vendors, crafts, and lots of entertainment.

Meet a farmer (or is he a rancher?)
Jacob informed us that consumers like the farmer’s market because they can speak directly with even the smallest food producers here. “They run their own businesses, work the land with their own hands, and sell it directly to the customers.”

One local food producer we met was Celtic Shepherd Creamery’s Brendan Enright. “I sell my sheep cheese here. This market gives us the opportunity to educate consumers about our products.”

Enright said they operate a family farm outside of Canby. On 40 acres, they heard 40 sheep, and operate their own licensed cheese-making operation. “We’re only one of two in Oregon,” he stated. “Did you know sheep milk has more calcium and protein than cow’s milk?

One of the musical acts entertaining people at the Harvest Festival’s is this duo, named “Beliss”.

Co-op open to all
While everyone is welcome to shop at People’s, Jacob told us, those who choose membership shop at a discount. Folks who become “hands-on owners” by volunteering at the co-op earn substantial reductions in their grocery bill.

The co-op is located at 3029 SE 21st Ave., between Division and Powell open daily and is from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. The Farmer’s Market is open year-around on Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

For more information, see www.peoples.coop or call (503) 232.9051.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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