03 February 2012

Portland's Edible History

By Anna Curtin, Portland Farmers Market

With the opening of PFM’s new Winter Market, Portlandivores can once again purchase farm-direct year-round in the heart of the city…after a 70 year hiatus. Since the closing of the Portland Public Market in 1942, Westside residents and visitors have migrated to seasonal outdoor markets, such as the PFM markets at Portland State, Pioneer Square and Shemanski Park. Now that the winter harvest has returned to the downtown core, we invite you to take a peek at the last building to house Oregon’s bounty.

We thank the staff at the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) for sharing these images with us.  Want to see more?  We encourage you to make a day of your market visit with a stop at OHS, located only a couple blocks away. Free for residents of Multnomah County and open from 10am-5pm on Saturdays, OHS hosts permanent and rotating exhibits about the history of our unique state, including an extensive collection of more than 85,000 artifacts and 3 million photographs and films. Among the current exhibits are Oregon Rocks!: A History of Popular Music in Oregon and Treasures of the Vault.

Of particular interest to the food and farming crowd is the upcoming Smithsonian traveling exhibit of Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964, opening Saturday, February 18th. This bilingual exhibition explores the Bracero Program, the largest guest worker program in American history. Between 1942 and 1964, millions of Mexican nationals came to the U.S. on short-term labor contracts, many in the fields and farms across Oregon. Their dramatic story reveals an important, overlooked chapter in our nation’s history.

To learn more about Stumptown’s greenmarket history, see this detailed article from The James Beard Public Market. For the statewide take on Oregon’s markets, see this article written by Rebecca Landis, President of the Oregon Farmers’ Markets Association.

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