Posts Tagged ‘portland’
Part 2 of 3 in our Oregon travelogue. Read about our farmers market visit, or skip to the end for some Maryland local food events this weekend!
As I mentioned previously, it is berry season in Oregon and the food theme of our trip can be summed up in three words: berries, berries, and berries. We found more than a few at our market destination of choice this trip. The Beaverton Farmers Market, one of Oregon’s largest markets, is located in a western suburb of Portland and has a distinctly family-friendly vibe. From the balloon man to the kettle corn to the live music, kids have plenty to tempt their eyes and taste buds, not to mention the fountain to cool off in and adjacent playground.
Have you ever met a Superfood in person? We did, the charming Super Blueberry who handed out recipe pamphlets courtesy of the Oregon Blueberry Commission. (Really, blueberries need marketing? How do I sign my kid up for that gig? They could pay him in berries.) My son was thrilled to receive a bookmark “with smiling blueberries because blueberries make me happy!”
I could go on all day about the wonderful produce – artichokes, sweet sugar snap peas, Walla Walla onions, Rainier cherries, apricots, dried cherries – meats and seafood, bread and baked goods, wine (yes, wine tasting at market), flavored vinegars and of course some of my favorite cheeses, not to mention the coffee truck (Pony Espresso) and cold drinks served in compostible cups — or the fact that I didn’t even make a complete pass through the market and still left green with envy — but I’ll just point you towards two favorites to wrap up your shopping trip with a satisfying brunch: Zest crepes and Hot Lips local berry sodas.
You might be surprised to hear such a ringing endorsement from me for a soda, but Hot Lips Soda is truly a special treat that kids will love and you can feel good about. Hot Lips is a Portland pizza chain I had more than a few pies from during my high school years, but since I’ve left town they’ve branched out to create their own line of all-natural, locally-sourced fruit and berry sodas. The ingredients are simply carbonated water, fruit, cane sugar and organic lemon juice. In that order. While sweet, they taste of pure, ripe fruit, without that chemically-sweet aftertaste of conventional sodas. Strawberry is so fruit-laden it is almost as thick as a smoothie, and the strawberry flavor is so intense you may have a hard time settling for a plain old berry after drinking this. My favorite is the boysenberry, the heady, fragrant berry just tastes of summer. Pear is crisp and clean, and you can get a few limited-edition flavors, like currant or loganberry, on tap at their stores. And not only are the ingredients local, but the bottles are manufactured from recycled glass in Portland.
Zest crepes are made to order from market-fresh ingredients, fun for the kids to watch and of course they have their own menu options to choose from. The boy enjoyed the “Cheese Louise,” naturally, and I had the “Sweet Basil” with basil, tomato, feta and mozzarella. Delicious. If only I had had room to try a sweet version as well, with flavor combinations including berries and mascarpone, berries and Nutella, and lemon curd and ricotta. Zest debuted at the market this year and plans to open a stand-alone shop in the near future, but for now you can find them at the market on Saturdays, 8am-1:30pm, May through October. (The market is also open Wednesday afternoons, June through August.) See more pictures of our market finds here.
Note for DC-area local food lovers: Maryland’s Buy Local Week is wrapping up this weekend, and you can celebrate the best of the Old Line State close to town with the Montgomery County Farm Tour or venture further afield to St. Michaels for the 2nd annual Chesapeake Folk Festival on Saturday — my favorite local foods event of the year. And if these crepes have you drooling, visit Farm Fresh Chef up at the Clarksburg Md. farmers market on Sunday (or make your own).
And, save the dates for National Farmers Market Week, August 2-9, which will be observed in Virginia with a Virginia Grown recipe competition.
In my previous wrap-up of our vacation, I mentioned the fabulous North Portland coffee shop Random Order where we had locally-roasted espresso and pies featuring locally-grown ingredients. I have a few more food highlights to share from our trip to the Pacific Northwest, where everything is big and bold, from the mountains to the coffee, the produce and the rain!
We spent a rainy morning at the midweek Portland Farmers Market downtown. Located just a few blocks from my old alma mater, this relatively small market was still a total sensory overload. So much variety and unique items, such as the Picklopolis stand, fresh Columbia River salmon and one of my favorites, Rogue River Creamery cheeses. We only bought a few things for dinner that evening as we were headed to the Coast the next day, so settled on some glorious baby artichokes, padron peppers and morels.
We were also blown away by Hot Lips’ local berry sodas. The label even specifies the farm where the berries were grown. How’s that for knowing where your food comes from?! Hot Lips is a local pizza joint where my classmates and I, after turning in all the soda cans we could round up (Oregon’s refundable cans, the husband couldn’t understand why we had to save all our cans), would fork over our change for delicious pizza. Now they make this awesome soda and in addition to the flavors at market – blackberry, blueberry, marionberry, strawberry, each with just a touch of real cane sugar and carbonated water – they serve a black raspberry from the tap. Sadly, we didn’t make it into the store to try that one.
We also bought some fresh tamales, mine was artichoke and peppers, and devoured them right there in the rain, while the toddler made his way through a pint of blackberries.
That night, we simply steamed the artichokes, sauteed the morels in butter, and fried up the peppers according to the instructions provided by the vendor. Each was remarkably fresh and flavorful and a great compliment to my Dad’s spaghetti.
I’ll post a weekly Pacific NW feature for the rest of the month, so check back every Monday! And on tap for the remainder of this week, a special series on Preserving the Tastes of Summer.
There’s no better place to eat locally than in the Pacific NW. On our trip to Oregon, we had fresh Coho salmon, took the kids peach & berry picking on Sauvie Island, visited a downtown farmers market where lovely morels were $24/lb. (I’ve paid $20 for a small box in DC) … then there was wine, Umqua & Tillamook (fresh and rBGH-free local dairies) ice cream and cheese at the Coast, blackberry shakes & Walla Walla onion rings at Burgerville (sustainable fast food doesn’t have to be an oxymoron). A great trip, capped off with a parting dinner at this awesome coffee shop/bakery in North Portland, Random Order. Thanks to Lelonopo for the tip – we had some amazing (local, organic) pies! Blueberry vanilla cream, Jamaican stone fruit, and plum and ginger were our picks. They also serve Stumptown coffee – yum!