Frequently Asked Questions

Does PFM receive city or state funding to operate its markets?

No, PFM is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization operated by paid staff and governed by an all-volunteer board of directors. The organization is funded through vendor fees, the generous support of market sponsors, fundraising events, countless hours of volunteer time, and numerous food donations by our vendors to our education programs. Portland Farmers Market receives no city, state, or federal funding.

Does PFM operate all the farmers' markets in Portland?

No, PFM is an umbrella organization that operates seven different markets in the Portland’s urban core. We encourage you to find out more about the many other wonderful farmers’ markets in the metro area.

How long has PFM been around?

Portland Farmers Market was established in 1992 by three local activists—Craig Mosbaek, Ted Snider and Richard Hagan—who worked with local farmers to supply fresh produce, meats, and prepared goods to the people of Portland. The original market, which was held in a parking lot at Albers Mill, had just 13 vendors on opening day. In 1996, the main Saturday market moved to the PSU campus and in 1997, a second market was added on Wednesdays. Today, operations have been expanded to manage more than 200 vendors at seven different sites throughout Portland. During the height of the season, the markets serve over 30,000 shoppers each week and vendor sales total over $9 million annually, with the majority of that income going directly to vendors themselves.

How do I become a PFM vendor?

PFM accepts online vendor interest forms throughout the season. If invited to apply, new vendor applications are sent out at the beginning of the year, usually in the first two weeks of January. To find out how you can apply to become a vendor, visit the Become a Vendor section of our website.

How can I become a market volunteer?

Volunteers are essential to every aspect of our mission and we simply couldn’t do what we do without them. Our wonderful volunteer base allows us to meet our goals of supporting locally grown and prepared foods by maintaining successful farmers’ markets and educating the public on the importance of buying locally. If you are interested in becoming a market volunteer, please visit the Careers & Volunteering section of our website.

Can I bring my pet to the market?

Pets are not allowed at PFM’s two busiest downtown markets: Saturdays at PSU and Wednesdays at Shemanski Park, both located in the South Park Blocks.

Pets are welcome at our other markets: Sundays at King, Mondays at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Thursdays at Buckman and Northwest, and Fridays at Kenton. All markets remain open to service animals.

We ask that dog owners abide by these six rules to make a pet’s visit to the market a good experience for everyone:

  • Dogs must be kept on a short leash.
  • Dogs must be under control and by the owner’s side at all times.
  • Keep dogs away from produce, plants, and other food products.
  • Dogs must be friendly with other dogs and children to earn the right to be at the market.
  • Be considerate—not everyone loves dogs and some customers are allergic to animals.
  • Don’t forget to clean up after your dog!

PFM management reserves the right to request that owners remove pets from the market.

I am a musician interested in playing on stage at one of your markets, who do I contact?

PFM hires musicians for the PSU, Pioneer Square, King, Buckman, Northwest and Kenton markets. If you are interested in playing at one of our markets, please contact our Music Coordinator, Chad Dermann, through the Contact section of our website.

Does PFM allow buskers or peddlers at the market?

Music buskers are permitted when space allows. They are asked to check in at the market information booth and wait for the Market Manager who will assign them an area if available. Buskers are asked to move after one hour to a new location. Electronic amplification is not allowed, nor is playing/singing in a loud, disruptive manner such as to impede communication between vendors and customers. Peddlers are not allowed to set up within the market or within ten feet of its perimeter.

Can I use my Oregon Trail card at the market?

PFM is pleased to accept SNAP/Oregon Trail EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards at all of our markets. To use your card, visit the market information booth, where you will receive $1 denomination wooden EBT tokens which may be used in lieu of cash at all markets within the following provisions:

  • $1 EBT Tokens may only be used for: fruits, vegetables, meats, fish poultry, dairy products and seeds and plants intended for growing food
  • $1 EBT Tokens may not be used for: non-food items, ready-to-eat foods, hot foods
  • No change can be given back by vendors
  • Unused tokens can be returned to the information booth and credited to your Oregon Trail account or used at future markets

In addition, some of our markets offer matching programs to help stretch your dollars at the market. Find out more about token matching programs for EBT users in the Programs section of our website.

What is an Oregon Trail card?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, administers benefits through an Electronic Bank Transfer (EBT) system. SNAP recipients receive their benefits electronically, and access them with their Oregon Trail Card, which operates on similar technology as credit and debit cards. The SNAP Program is a federally funded USDA Food and Nutrition Services program.

Can I use my credit or debit card at the market?

No cash? No problem. For regular market purchases, PFM will accept debit and credit cards and provide shoppers with $5 denomination wooden tokens.

  • There are no restrictions on what can be bought with the $5 tokens.
  • Treat them just like cash at any market booth
  • All vendors accept them and give full change at the time of purchase
  • The tokens may be used at all PFM markets and have no expiration date
  • $5 tokens cannot be refunded for cash once purchased by market staff
  • There is a minimum purchase of $20
  • A $3 bank charge will be added to each transaction
  • Tokens make great gifts!

Visit any market information booth to find out more and to purchase market tokens.

What are FDNP and WIC vouchers and does PFM accept them?

The Oregon Farm Direct Nutrition Program (FDNP) is a state-administered federal nutrition program. FDNP funds go to low-income, nutritionally at-risk pregnant women and young children enrolled in the Women Infants & Children (WIC) program and to eligible low-income seniors and people with disabilities. These federal funds are specifically distributed in order to purchase locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables directly from authorized farmers at farm stands and farmers markets.

Many of our farmers have applied to accept these vouchers at their booths. To find out which vendors participate in this program, look for signs displayed in their booths, or ask someone at our market information booth.

Does PFM conduct market tours?

Market tours are a fun and educational way for small groups of students, tourists, and civic groups to learn about how food is produced, why it is important to make good food choices, and to meet the farmers and artisan food producers from our market community. Guided tours of the market can include the history of the market, talks from local producers and product tastings. Tours are conducted on a pre-arranged basis and are customizable based on the interest of the visiting group. If you are interested in a market tour, please contact us.

Does PFM allow community organizations to set up a table at the market?

PFM is proud to offer the market as a resource to other community-based nonprofits. Space is held for groups conducting educational outreach related to our organization’s mission and values. Specifically, we ask that partnering organizations have their major focus in at least one of these areas:

  • Leadership in the farm direct movement
  • Promotion of consumer support for local agriculture
  • Development of distribution channels for farm direct products
  • Preservation and stewardship of farmland
  • Food policy advocacy focused on our region’s agricultural community
  • Food and nutrition with an emphasis on access to local, fresh foods by people of all income levels
  • Public outreach regarding sustainable agricultural/gardening practices

There is no charge for tabling. No sales are permitted from community booths. Pre-approval from PFM staff is required. If you meet the above criteria and are interested in tabling at our markets, please contact us.

Can I conduct a test sampling of a new product at the market?

On certain occasions PFM allows test sampling of new products for a fee. These products must meet strict criteria and align with the mission of the Market. Items that directly compete with the regular market vendors’ products are not allowed. If you are interested in test sampling a product at the market, please contact us and we will send you our product sampling guidelines.

Why does PFM offer additional programs and events?

Market programs and special events are the vehicles for enacting PFM’s educational goals. PFM believes if the markets are to continue to grow and flourish it is critical to educate consumers on the value of supporting regional agriculture. We annually review and evaluate all our programs in terms of costs and benefits, deleting and adding programs where appropriate. Funding for these activities is raised through sponsors and in-kind donations. In addition, volunteers give countless hours of their time to ensure the success of these events.

Why does PFM have sponsors?

PFM’s Board of Directors is dedicated to consumer education as a critical component of building sales for local agriculture. Vendors’ fees at PFM cover the basic cost of operating the markets, including site rental, permits, advertising, insurance, and staffing. In order to keep vendors’ fees as low as possible and still fund educational outreach, PFM solicits sponsors for individual markets, special events and programs. Sponsor candidates are evaluated on an individual basis to ensure there is not direct conflict with the Market’s mission. In addition, PFM holds fundraising events, receives numerous in-kind donations, benefits from the support of volunteers, and cultivates community partners.