Portland Farmers Market Opening Day March 2013

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Portland Farmers Market Opening Day March 2013

This is the day I wait for with keen anticipation every year. Honestly, I don’t know what to do with Saturday morning when the market is not in full swing.

Sure, there’s the Winter Market at Shemanski Park, but let’s face it, in the Northwest, winter does not yield the incredible abundance of the three other seasons. For me, even though the official launch of spring is several days away, it began today at the Portland Farmers Market.

If I can only pick one word to sum up the market today, it’s raab (AKA rapini). Heaps and heaps of Brussels sprouts raab, kale raab, broccoli raab, turnip rabb, arugula raab, mustard raab, and savoy cabbage raab bursting from the center of savoy cabbages (a two-for-one deal). We’ll be eating Spaetzle, Wild Mushrooms & Broccoli Rabb with Thai Yellow Curry Sauce  this week.

The market was also overflowing with Laciano kale, winterbor kale, dinosaur kale, Swiss chard, Chioggia beets, celeriac, white cauliflower, purple cauliflower, leeks, chives, parsley, cilantro, basil, shallots, garlic, red radishes, purple radishes, French breakfast radishes, jet black carrots, purple haze carrots, yellow pak carrots, white satin carrots, fingerling potatoes, salad and braising greens, pea shoots, radish shoots, nettles, wild mushrooms, herb and lettuce starts, and a riot of daffodils, tulips, pussy willows, and Easter lilies. I bought a few bunches of radishes and plan to make Radish Leaf Pesto tomorrow using Basic Pesto, Pesto Oil, Rosemary Hazelnut Pesto, Cilantro Ginger Pesto, Herb Garden Pesto, Basil Arugula Pesto, &  Basil Olive Pesto as a guide. The leafy tops are amazingly tasty.

The one surprising absence was hothouse rhubarb. I spied it in a store earlier this week and was expecting it at the market today. But it didn’t happen—maybe next week.  

And no trip to the Portland Farmers Market is complete without a final stop at The Tart Lady. The tender, fragrant Almond Cake is heavenly, as is everything that Monica E. Halici bakes. Be sure to grab your goodies early though, as her booth attracts long lines of fans. And if you get there first next week, leave me at least one slice of Almond Cake. I’m just sayin’.  

Early Spring Recipes from LunaCafe

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About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and founder of the Northwest Culinary Academy.

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