by Kelly Merrick
I love this time of year because it means I get to spend more time with my family. However, the holidays can also tend to be a busy and hectic time. This can feel especially true for those who are hosting or responsible for contributing to holiday meals. Between meal planning and shopping, confirming the guest list and cleaning the house, there’s a lot to do to prepare for a holiday meal.
Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and if you’re playing the role of host or even if you’re just contributing to a meal, I’m sure you’re brainstorming ways to reduce the stress that comes along with those responsibilities.
I don’t have a lot of experience hosting holiday meals but I can give you this tip: shop early and shop at one of the three Portland Farmers Market locations that will be open between now and Thanksgiving. The PSU Market happens this Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9 to 2, then there’s the King Market on Sunday, Nov. 23 from 10 to 2, and for the first time ever, the Shemanski Park Market will be open on Wednesday, Nov. 26 from 10 to 2.
Think about it – instead of navigating a shopping cart through crowded grocery store aisles, you could be walking leisurely through the market while sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with vendors to find everything on your shopping list!
For many people, Thanksgiving is all about the sides, but there will be plenty of protein options between the three markets too. You can pick up some seafood, poultry, and other things to roast. At this point, most vendors are sold out of turkeys, but if you act fast you might be able to scoop up one of the few remaining birds at Champoeg Farm. Tails and Trotters is taking orders for holiday hams.
If you’re following tradition and making stuffing, you’ll have many options to find bread, eggs, sausage, chestnuts, herbs, onions, celery and mushrooms. Speaking of tradition, if cranberry sauce is on your menu, head directly to Eagle Organic Cranberries (PSU and Shemanksi) or Starvation Alley Farms (PSU and King). Canned sauce has nothing on these fresh berries.
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without all of the sides, so it’s a good thing there are endless ingredients for nearly any recipe. You’ll be able to find a variety of winter squash (my current favorite: delicata), potatoes for mashing, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, celery root, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets and more for the base of your sides. To lighten things up, pick up some lettuce or chicories for a fresh salad. You can find salad dressing and vinegar at Blue Heron Herbary (PSU), and you might be surprised by the variety of sauces and condiments you can find at other vendors’ booths – just look around.
To drink, pick up some fresh apple or pear cider and perhaps a drinking vinegar from Blossom Vinegars (PSU) to try out a mocktail recipe. For the grown ups, real cocktails can be made with spirits from Stonebarn Brandy Works (Shemanski) and House Spirits (King and PSU) there is wine from Twist (PSU), mead from Nectar Creek (PSU) and hard cider from Wandering Aengus (PSU).
If you’re feeling up to making dessert from scratch with some mighty fine local ingredients, head over to Gee Creek (PSU) to pick up some locally milled flours. If you’re not the baking kind, then you’re covered there too. Market Fruit/Packer Orchard, Divine Pie, Lauretta Jean’s, Petunia’s, Black Sheep Bakery, and Two Tarts all offer an assortment of sweets that will satisfy a crowd of any size.
And last, but certainly not least, there are the beloved appetizers, which in my family are almost as anticipated as the Thanksgiving meal itself. And, as you’d expect, the markets have you covered there too. You can find cheese (goat, cow, sheep, fresh, aged, vegan), hazelnuts and walnuts, cured meats, pickles, bread, jellies, and fruit to create a smorgasbord of snacks to tide you over until meal time.
Phew! That’s a lot to take in, so I suggest you stop reading, grab a pad and paper and make room on your calendar to visit one of the markets that will allow you to stock up on everything you need for your big meal. To help with your planning, a lit of vendors available at each market are listed below. Happy Holidays!
Click here to view an interactive map of vendors at the PSU Market for Saturday, Nov. 22.
The current list of vendors at the King Market for Sunday, Nov. 23:
Alsea Acre Alpines
Bushel and Peck Bakeshop
C & K’s Flower Garden
C’est Si Bon!
Dancing Chicken Farm LLC
Deck Family Farm
Enchanted Sun Breakfast Burritos
Hot Mama Salsa
House Spirits Distillery
Kiyokawa Family Orchards
Linda Brand Crab & Seafood
Mudjoy Farm, LLC
Night Owl Roasters
Starvation Alley Farms
Tierra del Sol Cuisine
Willamette Valley Cheese
Winter Green Farm
The current list of vendors at the Shemanski Park Market for Wednesday, Nov. 26:
Gathering Together Farm
C&K Flower Farm
Wildhare Backyard Farm
Happy Cup Coffee
Eagle Organic Cranberries
Stone Barn Brandyworks