Portland State University Farmers Market, Portland, Ore.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

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I was in Portland and visited this market last year in March on the opening day of the season. There was lots to choose from then, especially a wide selection of spring greens, but nothing compared to what the region’s farmers are able to bring to market by early summer. One of this market’s specialties is foraged produce. Last time, I picked up some wild chanterelle mushrooms and miner’s lettuce. This time, I scored sea beans.
Located in a grassy, tree-canopied mall in the middle of the Portland State University campus near downtown, this market is one of eight run by an organization called Portland Farmers Market. They are all authentic farmers markets, according to the organization’s web site, which declares, “We are accountable to our shoppers by requiring our vendors to produce and source what they sell with integrity.”

– Mark Thompson

slide show

Location:
Portland State University
SW Park Ave. and SW Montgomery St.
Portland, OR 97201
Saturdays, March 16 through Dec. 21
8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (March-Oct.)
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Nov.-Dec.)


What I Bought

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sea beans

Price: $4/pint basket

Known colloquially as sea beans, or glasswort or samphire or beach asparagus, among other names, this wild foraged plant’s botanical appellation is salicornia. It grows in salt marshes in many parts of North America as well as in Europe, South Africa and South Asia. It is so salty that it can be chopped up and tossed into any dish as a salt substitute, according to the vendor. I doused the sea beans I purchased with olive oil, wrapped them in tin foil and placed them alongside a slab of salmon on a grill. After 10 minutes or so, the foil packed yielded a steaming mound of crunchy greens that tasted of the sea, and was a perfect accompaniment to the salmon.


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strawberries, blackberries and gooseberries

Price: 3 baskets for $8


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cherries

Price: $5/lb.


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Siletz tomatoes, sugar snap peas

Price: $4/lb. for tomatoes
$3/pint for peas

The Siletz tomato is an “extra-early” variety that was developed at Oregon State University to thrive in the cool, foggy weather that is prevalent in the spring around here.


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Walla Walla sweet onion, cucumber

Price: $1.50 for onion
$1.75 for cucumber


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Blackberry, strawberry, gooseberries and a cherry from the Portland State University Farmers Market in Portland, Ore., June 15, 2013, photographed on Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge

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