New Faces

The countdown to opening day continues with only one week left before we pull out the tents and ring the opening bell for our flagship market, the Portland Farmers Market at PSU, opening March 20. If you haven’t already heard, we will expand to include the block directly south of its existing location. The expansion will allow the more than 120 vendors and 10,000+ shoppers more space to shop for farm-fresh produce, baked goods, meats, cheeses, seafood and more. Although the Saturday PSU farmers’ market location will double in size, we will not double the number of vendor booths. Instead, vendor booths will line up along the perimeter of the South Park Blocks, eliminating the majority of the inner ring of vendors’ stalls (aka ‘mud row’) formerly packed into the previous market footprint.

If you want to do some advance reconnaissance to find your favorite farmer fast, we have provided a map of the vendor locations for opening day. The locations shift week by week as the season progresses. Look for these new vendors as you stroll through the market this season:

Farm. – Farm. is an exciting new produce venture in Oregon’s French Prairie region. Young farmers have come together, informed by the tried and true practices of the American family farmer.

15 Miles Farm – This local farm sells a variety of certified organic fruits and vegetables, and a large portion of their harvest is donated to local charities including the Oregon Food Bank.

Nut-Tricious Foods – Nut-Tricious Foods specializes in agave nectar-sweetened fresh nut and seed butter blends, including almond, cashew, hazelnut and walnut. Utilizing their unique and proprietary processes, they maintain the nut and seeds’ nutritional value and benefits. They will be at the market once a month as a product representative.

Oregon Kombucha – Oregon Kombucha creates kombucha – a naturally fermented tea beverage – from cultures grown in Portland using only four ingredients. Half of the tea used for brewing is sourced locally. They will be at the market once a month as a product representative.

Pasta del Sol – Pasta del Sol will be offering fresh pasta, including linguine, rigatoni, rotini and other assorted fresh and organic noodles.

Sassafrass Catering – Sassasfras will be selling their line of unique relishes, chutneys and preserves based on old-world Southern recipes. All of their products are created in small batches at the peak of the season, and they strive to buy their ingredients directly from local farmers.

Sexton Ranches – Sexton Ranches is a family owned ranch in Eastern Oregon that raises natural grass-fed and grass-finished lamb and beef, plus pastured poultry and eggs from pastured hens.

Upright Brewing Company – This small craft brewery specializes in French and Belgian-inspired farmhouse ales, which will be available in 750 ml bottles.

Via Chicago – Chicago-style pizza for real! Via Chicago makes the real thing four different ways, with the freshest local ingredients around.

See you at the market!

the true cost of a t-shirt

Have you ever looked at the ubiquitous symbol of comfort that is the t-shirt and thought about the ‘ingredients’ that go into the finished product? Take the two most obvious: water and cotton. One organic cotton t-shirt is coaxed into existence by more than 400 gallons of water. Conventional cotton production accounts for roughly a quarter of all pesticides used in the U.S., according to the USDA. That’s a heavy load to wear.

Even though Portland Farmers Market is in the food business, we dabble in the world of apparel when we choose which t-shirts to offer for retail sale at the markets. Each year, we take a close look at the sourcing and components of the apparel we select, seeking out merchandise that reflects our values to the greatest extent possible. We believe our name belongs on only the most local and sustainable option out there. That’s why we are particularly excited to partner with Looptworks to create our t-shirts for the upcoming season. Looptworks is a Portland-based apparel manufacturing company using 100% “upcycled” materials. Rather than manufacturing shirts from new materials, Looptworks uses quality, unused fabric that is destined to be discarded before it is made into finished pieces when the factory has completed a production run. This means everything Looptworks creates is from pre-consumer excess. The company’s goal is to promote closed loop manufacturing by making good use of surplus textiles, pushing for textile recycling at the community level, and advocating for textiles to be recycled into new fabrics. As a result, the manufacturing ‘loop’ is complete with less or no new materials needed. Bottom line: Looptworks is in the business of turning waste into want. That’s exactly the kind of company Portland Farmers Market is proud to support.

For a closer look at life cycle of apparel, see this article from Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Taste Testing

How many people can say they eat for a living? Here at Portland Farmers Market, we have the good fortune of doing just that during product jury time. Every year as part of the application process, a select group of potential processed food vendors are invited to bring in their goods for evaluation by a panel of PFM staff and Market Advisory Council members. Products are assessed based on a number of factors. Although passing the taste test is the most important criteria, the jury panel also takes a hard look at ingredient sourcing, aesthetics and packaging, balance of products in the marketplace, and alignment with PFM’s mission

This season, we received a record number of extraordinary applicants. The jury had the honor of sampling 20 entries representing everything from baked goods to wine to chutney. After several hours of eating and drinking, the jury panel was faced with some very tough decisions. Even though we had to decline many qualified vendors based on space availability and market needs, the sheer diversity of entries tells us this will be a banner year for artisan foods in Portland.

Among the businesses that will be joining PFM for the 2010 season are Oregon Kombucha, Sassafras Catering, and Leftbank’s own Upright Brewing Company. Congratulations, Alex & Co.!

36 days and counting

The applications are in for the upcoming Portland Farmers Market season and we are ecstatic to report receiving over 600 entries for our six market locations! We are most excited to report submissions from more than 25 new (to PFM) farms. That means there’s a good chance you will get to meet some new faces at the market this year. Stay tuned for hints on new vendors and products you can expect to see!

Mark your calendar now to greet the first day of spring with fellow food lovers on opening day at our flagship Saturday at PSU market. The market will be open 8:30am – 2:00pm every Saturday through December 18. (9:00am – 2:00pm in November & December.)

As long as you have that calendar open, please take note of opening dates and hours for our other markets. Find your favorite and join us to welcome the farmers back to the heart of the city. Or better yet, plan a trip to each location and discover the unique flavor every market has to offer.

Sunday at King Elementary School (NE 7th & NE Wygant)
May 2 – October 31
10:00am – 2:00pm

Monday at Pioneer Courthouse Square (SW 6th & SW Yamhill)
June 21 – October 25
10:00am – 2:00pm

Wednesday at Shemanski Park (SW Park & SW Salmon)
May 5 – October 27
10:00am – 2:00pm

Thursday at Hinson Church (SE 20th & SE Salmon)
May 6 – September 30
3:00pm – 7:00pm

Thursday at NW 23 (NW 23rd & NW Savier)
June 3 – September 30
3:00pm – 7:00pm

See you at the market!