18 March 2011

Things We Do Well in Portland

We eat well, we live in Foodlandia.

We dress sensibly, arguably too sensibly (especially with the shoes).

We prefer local. A new poll this week finds Pacific NW residents love their local foods. When asked about issues of freshness, environmental concerns and quality – 3 of 4 respondents say local foods are superior to foods grown elsewhere.

We love our Farmers Markets. Last year, 700,000 people shopped at our Markets. And that is just the six that our organization runs, there are over 40 farmers markets in the Portland area.

And we love our kale. This is a “fact” in the sense it is an opinion, but nevertheless is mostly valid. In case your wondering what actually grows in this weather…there are indoor starts, hot houses and warm frames help & protect the fruit and veg along early in the season, but rest assured for tomorrow, like the title of a Coen Brothers movie, There Will be Kale. Hearty, hearty kale.

And there will be good things that have been cellared over the winter. Plus cheese does really well in the early spring as well. Then there are a half-dozen new vendors who will be at their first market tomorrow. So for those brave souls who get up tomorrow morning there will be plenty of good local things to eat.

Like a groundhog on a cloudy day, not seeing your shadow at the first Market is actually good, it means spring-like weather is just around the corner.

Even with the cherry blossoms starting to bloom, there is still a need for color; Laurel Valley Farm can pretty-up the most desolate interior with early season daffodils. If you don’t like flowers (or kale) and were too busy watching basketball to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, it isn’t too late to get your Irish on: Lovejoy foods is serving Irish stew made with SuDan lamb and local porter. Lillian Soderman opens our musical season at 9am followed by Dan Lange and his magical guitar at 11. The guitar itself probably isn’t all that magical, but the way Dan plays it is.

The last thing we do well – is get out in the cold and wet. Much to the amusement of anyone who has lived at least 100 yards east of the Cascades, our beloved city may shut down because of a ½ inch of snow, but the one thing we truly excel at is getting stuff done when it is wet and in the 40s. Not that it will be like that when Dave Dahl of Dave’s Killer Bread – once a vendor, now a Market sponsor – rings the bell at 8:30 to kickoff the 20th season of the Market, but just in case it is, we are going to dress sensibly, get out in the rain and shop for our preferred local foods.