Mar 19 2012

Market Snapshots: Opening Day of the PSU Farmers’ Market

Where: PSU Park Blocks, Portland

When: March 17th, 2012

I awoke on Saturday to the realization that it was both St. Patrick's Day and the opening day of Portland's farmers' market. Anytime St. Patrick's Day falls on a weekend, it's fair to expect complete insanity. I expect to see girls walking around in 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish' shirts, guys sporting oversized leprechaun hats, and as the day goes on, inhibitions long forgotten.

While the entire market was filled with various shades of green, the majority of the green hues came from the food (and grass), not the people. As is typical with the Portland weather I've experienced so far, we arrived at the market to gloomy skies and spitting rain. While waiting in line at Pine State Biscuits, that rain turned to sun. And while eating those biscuits--topped with mushroom gravy and a poached egg, I might add--it began raining again!

Despite a mere two week hiatus since the Winter Market, a smaller but still excellent Saturday market in Shemanski Park, the atmosphere at Saturday's market felt expectant, with shoppers looking for vegetable starts, vibrant flower arrangements, the last of the root vegetables, fresh salad greens, and raabs of every kind. You may have only seen broccoli raab at a farmers' market or on a restaurant menu, but actually every member of the brasssica family can have a raab component. Kale, cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprout raab occurs when over-wintered plants begin to flower and send out seed shoots. When the stalks start to lengthen, the leaves change shape and become very tender. We bought kale raab and sautéed the leaves in butter to enhance the flavor.

Besides eating a truly delicious biscuit, I used the morning to walk the circumference of the market twice, attempting to learn new farm names, as well as buying produce that I didn't have access to in New York, like golden beets and different varieties of carrots.