Portland Farmers Market is the largest of the markets
in the metro region. The Saturday market, from 8am to 1pm in SW
Park Blocks near PSU, is the largest with some 70 vendors. The Wednesday
market is smaller, more European in style with about 40 vendors. It
is held from 10am to 2pm at SW Park Blocks near Salmon. The newest
market was started in response to the request of the Pearl District
Neighborhood Association. It will run Thursday evenings, 4-8pm from
July 5th to August 27th at NW Park Blocks between
Burnside and Glisan.
Dianne Stefani-Ruff, manager of the market, was excited about some
of the new features of the market this year, like once-a-month Saturday
tastings of whats in season and kids cooking classes. Among
the local farmers and vendors attracted to the market, over half
are organic, and they also have the largest stands and the biggest
variety. In addition to produce, you will find plants, baked goods,
beef, lamb and the most wonderful goat cheeses feta and hard
The Farmers Market is due to get a big brother, a new Portland
Public Market. Within a few months the decision should be taken
as to which of three choices will be the permanent home of the new
market, currently on City Hall drawing boards.
This public market is not just a Farmers Market on
steroids. It will have other dimensions a sense of permanence
and place. The Portland Public Market seems to be part of
Ron Pauls subtle campaign to infuse the Portland scene with
some European flair, à la Americaine.
The energetic Chief of Staff to Commissioner Charlie Hales is full
of enthusiastic plans for the project that will take 4 to 5 years
to complete. The market will offer something for Portland residents
and visitors of all ages and means, and if it realizes only part
of Ron Pauls dream, it will be a truly vibrant contribution
to the life and appeal of the city.
There will be a winery to showcase local wines and offer tastings
and information on winemaking. There will be a major educational
component to the market, including tours for students, demonstration
kitchens and opportunities for high school students to join apprentice
programs and work with local farmers learning the food business
from the inside. The ongoing education program will emphasize nutrition
and ecology. It will support the Oregon Food Bank and gleaning,
as the present Farmers Market does.
The City hopes to create a market district on 5 or 6 blocks of
underdeveloped land, and currently there is a shortlist of 3 sites
under consideration. They hope to make the decision by the fall.
The current Portland Farmers market will be relocated alongside
the new permanent structure, so that vendors of perishables like
meat and dairy will have indoor space available for refrigerated
Former restaurateur Paul was the first guest chef from Oregon to
be invited to cook at the foundation set up by Julia Childs and
others in memory of the late food writer and bon vivant, James Beard.
Paul was instrumental in attracting the support of the James Beard
Foundation for the Portland Public market. Beard was from Oregon
and the Foundation felt that the market was a fitting recipient
of support, and they will donate Beards papers to a library
to be established as part of the market.