29 April 2011

Meet a Pedal-Powered Food Peddler

Photo of vendor Eatin' Alive

Paige Common of Eatin' Alive with her raw food chariot.

Paige Common of Eatin’ Alive, one of the many new vendors to peddle their wares this year, took a slightly indirect path to get where she is today. She lived abroad working in WWOOF programs (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Then she pursued a degree in naturopathic medicine, but became a yoga instructor instead. Now Paige is a grade school teacher.

But her early training in the world of food never left her system. This Sunday, opening day of the King Market, Paige will be taking a much more direct route to get where she’s going. This time through Portland streets atop a darling “bicycle-powered vending station.”

Eatin’ Alive’s mission statement says it all:

We believe in harnessing raw energy in our transport and our cooking. We use all organic, locally grown produce to create seasonal, freshly prepared raw snacks such as: seed and nut pates, wild crafted pesto, garden wraps, a variety of prepared salads, and delicious sweet treats.

With the help of her boyfriend, who won a grant to design and build pedal-powered “bike cars,” Paige is not just talking the talk but biking the bike. She started slowly, selling handmade chocolates off her bike at events like First Thursday. She befriended vendors who knew she was a good cook. They encouraged her to apply to be a vendor.

Herself a vegetarian, she learned about raw foods and said she’s never felt better. After “falling off the bike” during a particularly busy period with school, she recommitted to raw foods and had much more energy as a result. That being said, she does enjoy cooked meals with friends. Paige learned on her travels that it was a mistake to turn down foods offered by locals. These food faux pas helped her confirm that sharing food with others is just as important as the food you put in your body.

With a grin stretching across her bright face, she said, “my food is like medicine”—in the best kind of way, of course. She’s bothered by the perception that raw food is somehow elitist and said that in some circles, packaged raw food is very expensive. “Good, healthy food should be for everyone. It shouldn’t be exclusive.”

So what can you expect on Sunday?

• Sunny Seed Pate

• Wild Dandelion Pesto

• Pear Fig Hazelnut Cobbler

You’ll be able to sample these raw treats with what she calls krautkers, her version of a cracker made from pureed vegetables and flax seed, which is then dried. You’ll find Eatin’ Alive’s goodies in glass jars. Shoppers can pay a $1 deposit, which they’ll get back the next week if they return the jar. Or they can reuse it!

So stroll on over to the King Market this Sunday to meet Paige and the other new and returning vendors. Or better yet, pedal on over.