23 March 2012

Believe the Hype

As anyone who was at the opening of the PSU Market last week can attest, it really was all that.  The season started with a bang, wowing shoppers with an awesome array of locally grown and crafted edibles.  Now that spring has officially begun, this week the market holds the promise of warmer days and the season’s first rhubarb.*

Radishes for breakfast?

Those looking to gorge themselves on fresh spring produce will not be disappointed.  There will be everything from roots to tops waiting to fill up your basket: crisp carrots and fennel, yellow and purple potatoes, tart sorrel, cabbages of many colors, mounds of every type of leafy greens under the sun, plus their respective raabs (sorry Jim, we know how you feel about this term, but it’s part of the farmers market vernacular now!), gorgeous crimson and white French Breakfast radishes, peppery arugula and pleasingly bitter chicories, leeks, broccoli, chives and more. Foraged delights include stinging nettles, hedgehog mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns and miner’s lettuce.

After you’ve filled up on fresh (sound familiar?), you might want to check out the many delicious ways our vendors have preserved the harvest: Winters Farm has berry jams, Zoe’s Favorites and Unbound Pickling have relishes and pickled things, Choi’s has kimchi and Raynblest Farm has everybody’s favorite ‘dried plums’ aka prunes, which our very own Dave Adamshick recently waxed poetic about in this Oregonian article.

Fans of Ancient Heritage Dairy will be happy to know that they have returned to the market with their fabulous sheep and cow’s milk cheeses after a hiatus spent moving to their bigger, better digs.  Round out your cheese plate with goat cheeses from Monteillet Fromagerie, blues from Rogue Creamery, a baguette from Delphina’s bakery, walnuts from Oregon Walnuts and some varietal honey from Boyco.

Even the oats are local

If you have yet to meet our new vendors, be sure to stop by the Greenwillow Grains booth for locally grown and milled flour, oats and wheat berries, then head over to Pono Farms for a gander at their well-marbled Wagyu beef and a sample of one of their many smoked sausages.  Do yourself a favor and pick up some of their heritage pork.  This week, Bob Pullen of Know Your Food cooked up a Pono Farms Red Wattle pork loin at a special dinner for staff and board members and we were blown away by how tender, juicy and deeply flavored it was.  Honestly, it was like nothing we’d ever tasted before.

Despite the fact that there was snow on the ground mere days ago, it’s not too early to think about planting your spring garden. Sun Gold Farm has plenty of herb and vegetable starts like sweet peas, lettuces, parsley, beets and turnips to get you out digging in the garden.

*That’s right, Marven at Winters Farm called to say he’s bringing 20 lbs of the season’s first ruby stalks to market this weekend.  Get there early!