One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to go and check out the local farmer’s market. I love wandering from vendor to vendor, just taking in the sights and smells. I’m a big fan of sampling their bounty and getting a sense of what’s in season.
The Saturday market on the Portland State University campus is one of the best farmer’s markets I’ve ever been to. What qualities do I think makes a great farmer’s market? I usually like them to be fair-sized, because with that you generally get a lot of variety of products being sold. I also like it when there are vendors selling prepared foods since most of the time, I’m not staying anywhere with a kitchen, so it’s nice to be able to try the local foods without having to prepare them myself. I’m also happy when I go to a farmer’s market and they don’t have too many crafts. Local crafts have no business being at my ideal farmer’s market. Portland’s market had all of the above, (well they did have some crafts but they were off in a corner, so they didn’t blip on my radar) and so much of it! Here are some snapshots of my adventure at the Saturday market.
This was one of the more popular stands at the market, probably because the guy puts out 2 whole boards of samples, one of cured meats, the other of pate’s. There were quite a few varieties of sticks of cured meats and I wanted to get something, but I was juggling trying to take photos and trying to taste my the samples that I got a bit claustrophobic in the process and had to step away.
We planned on having breakfast at the market, but I thought that we were just going to pick up a baked good and some fruit. What I didn’t realize was that there were a lot of food carts and thus there was so much to choose from. Originally what piqued my interest was a breakfast sandwich with sautéed mushrooms from the mushroom people at the entrance of the market. But as we wandered around to the back corner of the market, we saw a huge line, and huge lines are generally a sign that there’s something good at the front of that line! Luckily it looked like the line was moving, so I convinced Ben to stand in it.
In the meantime, I wandered around and found a tamales stand. I’m always in search for great tamales, but for the most part I’m disappointed. I ordered the artichoke and queso tamale with hot salsa and sour cream. It wasn’t the most traditional tamale I’ve ever had, but it was definitely tasty! The masa was light and fluffy and the cheese and bits of artichoke added a lot of flavour to the tamale. The salsa was good, although I could have done without the sour cream.
Back with my tamale to help tide us over while waiting in line, I started to realize that I probably wasn’t going to get my mushroom sandwich.
Mmmmmmmm, biscuits! Ben was contemplating what to get, the biscuit with homemade sausage & egg? Or would he go all out? I was thinking of you, the reader, when I convinced him to go all out. The Reggie, is a beautiful buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and slathered in white country sausage gravy. When they asked, “can I get you anything else?”, all I could think was “an AED?”. I’m happy to report that this was one of the most decadent and delicious breakfasts I’ve ever eaten. With all the rich fillings, you’d think this would have been heavy but it wasn’t. I’m not kidding myself though, I know that I will have to hit the gym a bit harder in the upcoming weeks to make up for this indulgence.
Walking by the mushroom people, they were sampling some of their shiitake miso soup. They said saute the mushrooms before adding to the soup for optimal flavour.
Berries were in season so we couldn’t leave without buying this sampler flat.
We were at the Portland Saturday market for a couple of hours. There were fine examples of cheese, meat, fish, produce, nuts, wine, honey, etc. but it would have been overwhelming to document all of that in addition to what I’ve listed above. One last mention though, taken from the last time we were at the market 2 years ago. If you happen to go, and don’t kill your appetite overindulging like we did, save room for a fruity Solpop. Their paletas are jam-packed with fruit and are perfect on a hot summer morning in Portland. Enjoy!