East Portland farm markets flourishing

If you haven’t been to one lately, take a look and see what’s going on at your outer East Portland farmers markets …

The Parkrose Farmers Market is open this summer on both Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s been a great season so far for farmers markets this year – in terms of vendors, numbers of customers, and sales.

The Parkrose Farmers Market continues to do well with both its Saturday and mid-week Wednesday afternoon sessions.

> To read “Parkrose Farmers Market opens Wednesday afternoons, too”, CLICK HERE.

The Saturday Parkrose Farmers Market is open from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and runs through October 11. Their last Parkrose Wednesday Market, open from 2:00 until 7:00 p.m., is on September 3. It’s located at 12505 NE Halsey Street, just east of BI-MART.


Lents International Farmers Market

Many shoppers come to weekly to the Lents International Farmers Market.

Lents International Farmers Market Manager Sarah Broderick, who was out for maternity leave during the first six weeks of the market, welcomed East Portland News back for a mid-season visit on a warm August Sunday morning.

“We’re all happy to see our crowd counts are going up every season,” Broderick said. “We’re seeing about 1,330 adult shoppers during our five-hour market. This very favorably compares to 460 that we saw the first year I started. This kind of growth is really impressive!”

Of their some-25 weekly vendors, about 70% of them are selling fresh fruits or vegetables.

At the Lents International Farmers Market Community Table, Heather Miles shows the collard greens she’s grown; Rigoberto Soto sells his zucchini and Amanda Soto pitches her Romaine lettuce.

Wesley and Evelyn Grzemkowski make dill pickles with the help of the Zinger Farm Food Scout Coordinator Anina Estrem.

“One of the most popular features is continuing ‘Food Scouts’ program,” Broderick noted. “Children ages five to 12 years old get two dollars to spend on fresh vegetables, fresh fruit or fresh food plants when they visit the market each week, and enjoy food-based interactive activities.”

Playing their style of lively Klezmer and Balkan music, The Pale Players entertain at this market that features weekly live music.

Lents International Farmers Market Market Manager Sarah Broderick spends a moment with Brittany Iredale and ROSE CDC Resident Asset Coordinator and neighbor Luke Bonham.

“We have had a changeover in some hot food vendors,” Broderick said. “We are looking for one or two hot food vendors to finish out the season. If anyone is interested in vending hot food, we have customers who are ready and willing to support them!”

Jennifer Dean and Erik Smykal of PLUM sell their preserves at the market. But this duo, who say they moved to Portland from Key West, Florida, “to get away from the hot weather”, also do full-service catering.

Lents International Farmers Market
Every Sunday through October 26
10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Northwest corner of SE 92nd Avenue and SE Foster Road
See their website: CLICK HERE


Montavilla Farmers Market

The Montavilla Farm Market continues to attract both quality vendors, such as Simplicity Gardens, and lots of shoppers.

Another booming Sunday food bazaar is the Montavilla Farmers Market.

“The market is going great,” said Manager Amanda Cross. “August is really exciting because we have expanded our Snap match. Instead of our five dollars, we’re doing a $10 match on the Snap EBT Oregon Trail Card, sponsored by New Seasons Markets.”

Andrew Rowlett with Jim Merril Farms and Maryhill Orchards sells to Montavilla Farm Market manager Amanda Cross.

With 32 vendors on the lot, they have a wide variety of produce and products from which shoppers can select. “We have more vendors scheduled to come as the fall season comes on us,” Cross said. “We can get as many as 40 vendors in our market space.”

Typically, more than half of their sellers are offering products from their own farms each week to the 1,400 people coming through during each market day.

Fifth-generation Gabrielle Rossi grows her produce on her family’s Parkrose farmland.

“What I like about this farmers market,” Cross stated, “is that people get to understand more about where their food comes from, and why it costs what it does. Knowing who actually grows and makes their food helps people learn about the jobs that they are supporting, and how that is all valued.”

Montavilla Farmers Market
Every Sunday through October 26
10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
7600 Block of SE Stark St., across the street from Mr. Plywood
See their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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