19 July 2012

Market of the North

There are about 50 Farmers Markets in the Portland Area. Our nonprofit organization, Portland Farmers Market, operates 8 of these, but tucked into Portland’s neighborhoods and neighboring communities are vibrant Markets just as passionate about bringing the bounty of regional farms to urban and suburban settings. One of those Markets, the St. Johns Farmers Market, is in Portland’s Northernmost neighborhood, an area I like to call the Sellwood of the North – Part of Portland, but isolated enough to very much be its own destination. 

Author and St. Johns resident, Alexis Smith, who often shops her neighborhood Market, filed this dispatch. If you aren’t familiar with Alexis, you should be. You can find her book here and read what she wrote about Yak meat here. The St. Johns Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 9 to 2 at St. Johns Plaza til October 13.  We encourage you to shop at your local Market and include a list of other Portland area Markets on our website here.

Sign Doesn’t Say
Sellwood of the North

St. Johns Farmer’s Market

Photos & Post by Alexis Smith

Welcome to the green and friendly North! The St. Johns Farmer’s Market, like the neighborhood that hosts it, is a gem in the crown of Portland. Situated just off the eastern end of the St. Johns Bridge, with its Gothic arches framing the majestic Doug firs of Forest Park, the market manages to offer everything you need (and plenty that you don’t) on the smallest of footprints. You can walk the entire market in less time than it takes to find parking at New Seasons. And yet, you’ll linger for hours, dancing to live music, watching food demos, eating lunch, and chatting with strangers. Among the vendors you’ll find the likes of Able Farms and Split River Growers (Who also sell at PFM’s Monday Pioneer Sq. Market) delivering fresh produce, starts, and eggs from their micro farms just minutes away. The coffee may not be grown locally, but it’s roasted a block away at St. Johns Coffee Roasters . And St. Johns Cellars pours Oregon-grown red and white wines (all bottles under $20). For lunch, take your pick: the brats at Urban German and the tamales at Micro Mercantes hit the spot every time. I satisfy my sweet tooth at Miss Zumstein’s Cakes and Desserts, and Russell’s Bread’s savory baked goods are my favorite carb-loaded snack for weekend hikes. And there’s more: local cheeses, meats, berries, salsas, jams, mushrooms, and honey.

You can’t appreciate the St. Johns Farmer’s Market without experiencing the neighborhood. The market is a homegrown operation, with neighborhood volunteers and board members, and local businesses (big and tiny) pitching in to support the effort. While crowds and lines are forming at other markets, in St. Johns, you can take your sweet time browsing, then enjoy the community that sprouted it: there’s the Market Day Poetry Reading at St. Johns Booksellers; The Olive & Vine with its fine teas, olive oils, sipping vinegars, and salts; for second-hand hounds, there are four vintage shops just steps away; and, of course, Barrique Barrell for outstanding beer, Vinyl Resting Place for a soundtrack, Tienda Santa Cruz for tacos and postres, and Cathedral Park for falling in love…