Farmers markets peddle food, provide summer fun

With the Parkrose, Lents, and Montavilla farmers markets now in high season, here’s a roundup of what you’ll find this weekend – and next  …

Outer East Portland farmers markets are thriving – as is clearly evident here, at the Montavilla Farmers Market.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
If you haven’t yet checked out your nearby outer East Portland farmers market, consider visiting one or more of these locations while the offerings are bountiful.

Parkrose Farmers Market

Steve and Joy Voorhees, family farmers in the area, show off their fresh fruits, which are now available at the Parkrose Farmers Market.

“We’re about halfway through our season,” reported Market Manager Steve Voorhees, “and things are going great!”

“Here at our new location, in the east parking lot of Parkrose High School, we’ve had a 30% to 40% increase in foot traffic into the market this year. Vendors have been selling out every weekend. It’s awesome being here!”

As a benefit for Parkrose Baseball, volunteer Gretchen Simkovic pitches “Old Fashioned Caramel Corn” products made fresh by outer East Portland’s “Stan the Caramel Corn Man”, and sold at the Parkrose Farmers Market.

Ross Smith of Stone Creations NW says producing these artistic creations is his “second career”. He does custom and commercial work, as well.

All kinds of green produce is coming into their mid-County, Voorhees added, as stone fruits like cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, ad well as melons, are starting – as is the summer squash. “And, we’re seeing different kinds of lettuce come in season. And, sweet corn started last week.”

People shop at the Saturday Parkrose Farmers Market, Voorhees said, for two reasons: “One is the freshness of the produce; and the other is that they like supporting local community farmers. All of our farmers are local, all are trying to make a living.”

This includes his own family’s stand, Mavdev Farms. “My wife’s grandparents and parents have been farmers here, since they came over Italy. We’re keeping up the tradition of family farming.”

The Back Alley Jammers rock out in the Public Space adjacent to the Parkrose Farmers Market.

Parkrose Farmers Market

  • 30 vendors every week
  • Saturdays through October
  • 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
  • Parkrose High School east parking lot
  • On NE Shaver Street, a half-block west of NE 122nd Avenue
  • Entertainment adjacent to the market
  • More information:CLICK HERE.


Lents International Farmers Market

Steve Stegeman carries Harper on his shoulders, as he samples the “Green Bean Summer Squash Salad” prepared by Andrew Harmon, intern at Zenger Farm, who is involved with their “healthy eating on a budget” program.

“We’re doing really great this year,” commented Lents International Farmers Market Manager Sarah Broderick.

“Our crowd counts are way up compared to last year – roughly doubled!” Broderick added. “We’re averaging about 960 adult shoppers every week. I guess the word is getting out that we have a great variety of produce here each week.”

Nikki Guerrero of Hot Mama Salsa spends a moment with Market Manager Sarah Broderick. “This market has great people who are coming out from the neighborhood. And, we always have good, live music,” Guerrero says.

At this particular market, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman is among those who came shopping. “We bought some great squash, and onions, and apples here today,” Saltzman remarks.

“The best part about our market,” opined Broderick: “Well, it’s hard to choose. Part of it is seeing our neighbors, and another good thing is the wide variety of produce is grown in this community … Or maybe it’s just tasting the chips and salsa! It’s so hard to choose!”

Area resident Jeri Chavis says she loves shopping at the Lents International Farmers Market.

Lents International Farmers Market

  • Between 20 and 22 vendors
  • Sundays through October
  • 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
  • NW corner of SE 92nd Avenue. and SE Foster Road
  • Entertainment weekly; kids area
  • More information: CLICK HERE


Montavilla Farmers Market

There’s always a great turnout of vendors and shoppers at the Sunday Montavilla Farmers Market.

“We’re doing fantastic here, in our 6th season,” reported Gretchan Jackson, Market Manager of the Montavilla Farmers Market. We are doing fantastic; it’s been a great season so far. Our vendors are happy, and our customers are happy.”

The reason for drawing consistently large crowds, Jackson said, “is that people are learning how to ‘shop local’, as well as the importance of buying from the grower or producer.”

Montavilla resident Dixie Young shops at the Simplicity Gardens stand.

Melody McBee and Aaron Shepherd of Skin and bones Bistro offer shoppers samples of their delicious prepared foods.

Jackson added, “We call shopping here ‘getting a full market basket’. You can buy all of the foods here for everyday use or for a special event. Shoppers find everything from everyday needs, to extraordinary kinds of things.”

Montavilla Farmers Market manager Gretchan Jackson rings the bell, signaling the close of another lively market day.

Montavilla Farmers Market

  • 40 vendors weekly
  • Sundays through October (Plus the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day)
  • 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • 7600 Block of SE Stark Street, across from Mr. Plywood
  • Weekly cooking demos at Noon
  • More information: CLICK HERE

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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