26 October 2012

Great Pumpkin Expectations

We’ve got pumpkins on the mind. Kabocha, sweet dumpling, delicata, butternut and red kuri too.  But back to those pumpkins…

This weekend at our PSU Market we’ll be holding our annual Great Pumpkin Event.  This year’s  festivities include the ever-popular pumpkin carving contest with prizes for the best adult and child carvings. The pumpkin carving contest runs from 9:00am-noon (or while supplies last) and awards will be announced at 12:30 at the music stage.  The winning child will receive a basket of market goodies and the adult carving winner will receive $130 in Organic Valley coupons.

Costumes are encouraged for vendors and shoppers, plus there will be a children’s costume parade around the north block of the market, with market goody bags for all participants.  To join the parade, just gather at the information booth at noon.

Organic Valley, our Great Pumpkin Event Sponsor, will be at the market sampling organic grassmilk at their booth.  When you stop by, you can also meet Melissa Collman of Cloud Cap Dairy, one of the local farms that provide milk for Organic Valley.

In addition to all those pumpkins and squashes, you will also find other seasonal delights like chestnuts both fresh and roasted at Cascadia Chestnuts, ruby red cranberries at Eagle Organic Cranberries and ridiculously good raw, roasted and chocolate-covered hazelnuts at La Mancha Orchard.  For a taste of the unusual, La Mancha also has winter melon, while Groundwork Organics grows fresh ginger and Rayblest Farm offers locally grown lemongrass.

This Sunday is our last regular King Market of the season–though King marketgoers take note: all your favorite vendors will be reconvening once again for a special Thanksgiving Harvest Market on Sunday, November 18th, where you can pick up everything you need for your locavore holiday table.  This weekend though, there will be plenty of pumpkins for pies and carving, apples, pears, wild mushrooms, leeks, Brussels sprouts and other autumnal goodness.

Now it’s time for some shout outs.  We are in constant awe of how hard our vendors work to bring us beautiful food each week and we proud of their many accomplishments.  Here are a few things we’d love to share with you:

Chef Kathryn serving it up at the market

Chef Kathryn Yeomans works with Springwater Farm at the market each week, dispensing samples, kitchen wisdom and, now, hot soups from the adjacent Soup Annex.  She also does regular pop-up dinners that feature ingredients both farmed and foraged by Springwater Farm.  On a recent tour of Portland’s food scene, GQ Magazine’s food critic, Alan Richman, had the pleasure of eating at one of Chef Kathryn’s pop-up dinners and here’s what he had to say about it:

“My most delightful meal was a pop-up lunch that fortuitously took place while I was in town…Among the best dishes, as noteworthy as any I ate in Portland, were bruschetta topped with morels poached in Chenin Blanc, stinging nettle flan with tomato-coulis, and, best of all, verging on magnificent, an assemblage of morel mushrooms with poached eggs and roasted asparagus…That was the finest and, for that matter, the most iconic vegetable dish I ate. It wasn’t just Portland food. It was idealized Portland food, the kind I thought I would find in every restaurant but did not. This was a glorification of farm, field, woods, and wild.”

Wow.  Congrats to Chef Kathryn and Springwater Farm for the lavish and well-deserved praise!  If you want to see what all the fuss is about, do as Alan Richman did and visit one of their pop up collaboration dinners, like this Pozole and Taco night next Monday.  We love pozole here at PFM (see this pozole post by our Senior Market Manager, Jaret Foster) so we’ll see you there!

Two of our vendors have also opened new bricks-and-mortar stores.  Fressen Bakery recently opened in the former home to Black Sheep Bakery (also a PFM vendor).  Now fans of their exceptional baked goods can satisfy carb cravings six days a week.  In addition to their stellar line-up of rustic European breads and pastries, they are also selling sandwiches, frittatas and what sounds like the world’s best pig in a blanket, featuring an Olympic Provisions frankfurter wrapped in their famous pretzel bread.

Pie lovers rejoice!  Market darling Lauretta Jean’s has opened a second location on Division in the former Pix Patisserie location.  Here you will find the sweet and savory pies you fell in love with at the market, as well as coffee service, soups, salads and sandwiches–all served in a space as charming as baker Kate McMillen herself.