East Portland Farmers Markets bring bushels of locally-harvested bounty

Take a look at the fifteen fun photos in this story, and you’ll see why you should visit the Parkrose, Lents, and Montavilla farmers markets this weekend – and what you’ll miss out on, if you don’t …

Chris Battioega of “Big B Farm” helps Parkrose Farmer’s Market customer Briana Nelson select the best farm-fresh produce.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Folks in outer east Portland are truly fortunate to have not one – but three – great farmers markets. We took a tour – and did some shopping – at the Saturday Parkrose market, and the Sunday Lents International and Montavilla markets.

Parkrose Farmers Market

Parkrose Market Master Steve Voorhees says this year’s cherry crop is bountiful, and the fruit is delicious.

“This is our third year and we are rocking,” proclaimed market manager Steve Voorhees. “We are doing great this year, averaging 2,000 people per market.”

Voorhees advises coming early because some vendors sell out. “And, it’s more fun to shop when it’s cooler, earlier in the day.”

If you hurry in this week or next, Michelle Zmolek and Courtney Anderson with Unger Farms Inc., assure that you’ll still be in luck finding great Oregon-grown berries.

Allie Silverberg and Eran Schweitzer, Sound Symantecs, Serenade market shoppers.

Come on by the Parkrose Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and check out the freshest foods of the season from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. They always have live musical entertainment; on July 31st it will be Slim Bacon. They accept both Oregon Trail and Debit Cards.

(Featured on our front page) Mason Laurer says he’s enjoying that fresh peach at the Parkrose Farmers Market.

The Parkrose Farmer’s Market is in the Parkrose High School parking lot on NE Shaver Street, a block west of NE 122nd Avenue – across the street from Parkrose Middle School. For more information, CLICK HERE to see their website.

Lents International Farmers Market

Eliza Davenport, the Lents International Farmers Market’s manager, says she is all smiles because of the beautiful weather, great vendors, and the increasing number of shoppers.

The pleasant summer weather we’ve been having lately makes her smile, Eliza Davenport, Manager of the Lents International Farmers Market, told us. “We are happy about the beautiful weather. June gave a rainy start to the season, but in July, our crowds really picked up.”

Part of their mission is helping people – from all income brackets – eat well, Davenport said. “We are still doing our Healthy Rewards program, matching food stamp dollars – up to five dollars, each week – for customers through the end of the season, thanks to grants provided by New Seasons Markets and Bob’’ Red Mill.”

Still having a good time, after playing a couple of lively sets at the Lents International Farmers Market, is musical group, “East Pete”.

“With the turn of nice weather,” Davenport smiled, “we’ve had good turnouts, with between 700 and 800 visitors a week coming to the market. They come by to listen to music, and shop from our vendors.”

David Griffin says he drove from the Rockwood area to visit the market, where he buys fresh produce from Genevieve Luikart of Zenger Farm – located just up the road.

Want fresh berries? Ruby Snyder, from Sturm’s Berry Farms, says “Come on by before the season ends”.

Now in their fourth full season, they’re open every Sunday through October 17th from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. In addition to live music, they feature international cooking and gardening demonstrations every week at 10 a.m.

The Lents International Farmers Market is on SE 92nd Avenue, just north of SE Foster Road. For more information, or to volunteer, contact the market manager by e-mail at eliza@zengerfarm.org or visit the Information Table at the market. Or, for general information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

Montavilla Farmers Market

Emily Merker shows off her new Montavilla Farmers Market T-shirt – and says they’re now available for sale!

From miles around, coming by foot, bicycle, bus and motorized vehicle, folks are heading to the Montavilla Farmers Market every Sunday.

“If we measure the success of the season by weekly attendance, we average about 1,600 customers a week,” reported Montavilla’s Assistant Market Manager Kyle Curtis. “Last year, we would’ve considered that to  be a really big crowd; this year, it’s just our average.”

Tyler Tervooren keeps shop with Confectionery proprietor Jessie Smith. “I’m really enjoying the market this year,” she says.

Bluegrass band “Worn Out Shoes” plays traditional tunes at the Montavilla Farmers Market.

Kathryn Yeomans, the market’s demonstration chef, cooks up a delicious meal of fresh lamb and grilled vegetables – using ingredients found at the market.

Curtis pointed out the new design for the market’s T-shirts, on sale at the Market Manager’s booth. “By the way, you can buy tickets for our Harvest Dinner benefit gala coming up on Saturday, August 28. It’s a five-course dinner, each course paired with wine.”

Amy and Mary Lor sell flowers from Herr’s Family Farm.

Visit every Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and shop for locally raised, grown, and created foods and crafts. The chef cooking demonstrations are usually about 1:00 p.m.; music starts at noon.

The Montavilla Farmer’s Market is located in the 7600 Block of SE Stark Street, just west of the Academy Theater, and across the street from “Mr. Plywood”. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

Sarah Hatcher and her dad, “Mr. Hatcher”, are helped by Caitlyn Safley at the Liepold Farms stand.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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