LocalHarvest.org lists two farmers markets this weekend. If the ice and snow don’t materialize, I plan to make it to them. Portland Farmers Market has a Winter Solstice Market on Saturday, Dec. 20, promising potatoes, squash and beets as well as free gift wrapping for your purchases. Seems a little Schrute Farm-y to think of beets as gifts, so that must refer to the items from the artisan booths. The marvelous Hillsdale Farmers Market is open on Sunday for its last market of the year. I would love to make it to that one and pick up some Sweet Briar Farm bacon and some chicken and eggs from Kookoolan Farms.
My husband said he misses salads. So do I, but I was so spoiled by the CSA and farmers market lettuce and greens that I just hate to buy bagged greens at the supermarket. Winco has a good selection of bagged greens, including organic selections. But if I make it to the farmers markets, I hope the hydroponic grower is at one of them to snag some greens from them.
We had two minor mishaps with the cold temperatures this week. Vancouver was spared any build-up of ice and snow in the weekend storm. But my big bows blew off the carriage lights and I’ve brought them indoors. Then the condensation drain line from the furnace got plugged. Luckily, I was able to thaw it as the ice plug hadn’t grown past the elbow joint where it drains from the side of the garage. We hadn’t cleared the barkdust from around it, which allowed an ice stalagmite to grow up from the ground and lead to the ice plug. We dug a hole beneath it now so it should drain freely. Our furnace gives off a quart (liter) of water every hour when it is running! Is this a possible source of drinking water in an emergency? I suppose if it were filtered it would be OK in a survival situation. But it’s hard to imagine a situation that led to the loss of water and not also electricity. I’m happier we have a couple of 5-gallon bottles of Sierra Springs water.
I use the LocalHarvest food and farming events calendar to be alerted to happenings of interest. You can enter a zip code and enter a distance radius of 25, 50, 100 or 500 miles.
Calendar of Events for Portland 100 Mile Radius
For December, there are Christmas craft fairs, a workshop on making your own wreath, Christmas trees to harvest, and even a getaway to stay at a local farm for the experience. Since I spent many a night at my grandparents farm, I’ll skip that one. Farm work convinced me I was cut out for something indoors and away from animal dung. I honor the farmers, and people think I’m nuts to prefer working with human bodily fluids in the medical lab, but that was my choice.
I stopped by the Beaverton Farmers Market for its special pre-Thanksgiving opening. It was half the size it usually is, which still made it a large farmers market. There was an abundance of various types of squash and apples and a number of booths selling locally gathered mushrooms. I was focused on potatoes, and brought home a bag of Yukon Golds for mashed potatoes and some red potatoes and russet potatoes. I also stocked up at the homemade pasta booth.
I should be able to visit the Eastbank Thanksgiving Reunion Market: “On Tuesday, November 25, just two days before the big feast, Portland Farmers Market will host a Thanksgiving Reunion Market, at the Eastbank Farmers Market site, at the corner of SE 20th Ave & Salmon St., from 1pm to 5pm. The Reunion Market provides one more chance to source ingredients as locally as possible for a country-style Thanksgiving and the tastiest of leftovers!”
Rich and I browsed through Fred Meyer last night and looked at the turkey prices. It appears I can buy a locally grown organic turkey for around $45, twice the price of a standard robo-bird. Should I bite the bullet and try the local, organic bird? Or should I espouse the new thriftiness?
It looks like I may be able to stock up on potatoes and carrots after all. Here is the list of events from the LocalHarvest calendar for the next two weeks in the Portland area.
It’s November and pretty much every farmers market is now closed until late spring. These are the challenging months for locavores. I signed up for the late season subscription to my CSA and so I’m still getting lettuce, greens, squash, and some root vegetables. But I am wondering what I will do until May. I froze a lot of roasted tomatoes, but other than tomatoes I had no surplus to put away. I really regret that my CSA didn’t seem to produce carrots or potatoes in any quantity. I still look at those as great winter staples.
Since May, I have changed my cooking and shopping habits tremendously. We have eaten out only rarely for dinner. I felt the pressure to use those vegetables I got from the CSA, which drove me to cook different dishes. I supplemented them with more produce from the farmers markets. In the end, I only stopped at the grocery store or Costco for meat, bread and milk products.
My aim was always to explore being more of a locavore, rather than a strict locavore, and in that these past six months have been extremely successful. But there were many other virtues:
- Saved money on impulse buys at grocery stores
- Saved money on eating out.
- Saved space in the trash can as there were very few take-out containers.
- Ate a far wider variety of vegetables
- Found sources for grass-fed beef
- Learned or created many new recipes.
With the recession, by spending a big chunk of money for a CSA subscription, I probably saved 5 to 10 times that amount in reduced expenses for eating out and buying prepared foods in the grocery store. While it can be more expensive to buy local products, it promotes a lifestyle that saves big bucks over a typical American “I’ll pick something up on the way home” lifestyle.
I have already signed up for the 2009 CSA subscription.
I planned my weekend walks around the local farmers markets. I needed to meet up with Kari from our Portland to Coast walking team to get the gear back from her. We met at the Beaverton Farmer’s Market. She lives nearby, but like many people she doesn’t get to it as often as she would like. I love the variety there. I bought red peppers, lettuce, cilantro, basil and beets. We walked for an hour.
On Sunday, my walking buddy Will and I wanted to visit the Hillsdale Farmers Market and to finally ride the OHSU Tram. We parked at the farmers market two hours before opening time. We went through the neighborhood to Terwilliger and encountered the the Oregon Trout City of Portland Triathlon bike leg. As we walked the three miles along Terwilliger, we were passed by a stream of 300 bicyclists. Some were all geared up with fancy bikes with aerobars, disk wheels, and streamlined helmets. That was a happy surprise. As we passed by OHSU, Will preferred that we ride it up from the South Waterfront. We picked our way down to Moody street by a route that was probably not the best (although probably the shortest possible). Once there, however, we discovered the sad truth that the tram doesn’t run until 1 pm on Sunday. The pretty much torpedoes any future plan to combine it with a trip to the Hillsdale Farmers Market. Sigh.
But even more sigh – by this time we had already walked about six miles and would now have to climb back up to Hillsdale on muscle power. We are both familiar with taking Corbett south and steeply up, then crossing I-5 on the Briar Place overpass, then back up Terwilliger to Hillsdale. Along the way, we encountered a fellow volksmarcher who said she had moved to a condo at South Waterfront and was loving it. It will be a very nice area, with the streetcar and tram for easy transport. There are more and more restaurants and shops in the bottom floor of the buildings. But on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, everything was closed and we had to beg forgiveness of a construction crew to use their portajohn.
I enjoyed the huff and puff of the climb up Corbett and noted a couple of new houses since we last trudged up this hill over a year ago. The John’s Landing neighborhood is definitely a nice place to live close-in, especially for those who work at the VA or OHSU. While South Waterfront is all about tower living, John’s Landing has single-family homes and row townhouses. I prefer the latter sort of neighborhood. Both have great access to the Riverfront Trail along the Willamette River, and the nice greenspace of Willamette Park. John’s Landing has plenty of fun restaurants and one full-scale grocery store, plus a Fred Meyers up on Barbur Blvd.
After we reached Barbur Blvd., I joked to Will that we had only 500 more feet to climb. That is only a very slight exaggeration. But the Hillsdale Farmers Market had everything I wanted at the end of this exhausting hike. I bought bacon from Sweet Briar Farms for my BLT sandwiches, local pasta and cilantro pesto. It was a great challenging walk.