In the flat light of a gloomy Saturday morning in early June, Portlanders get up early and wind their ways downtown. The Rose Festival parade, in full swing a few blocks away, means that the crowds on the Park Blocks are a bit lighter than usual; this is the Portland Farmer's Market, our destination of choice.
It's pretty great. Fresh fruits and vegetables, potted plants and herbs, fancy cheeses (I spent eight dollars on homemade ricotta; I couldn't hep it, but I do need to try and make my own), organic milk and meats, pastries and coffee, flowers flowers flowers, mushrooms, pickles, biscuits and gravy, ruby-red strawberries. I love how the strawberry girl's shirt (and she had on Kelly-green pants, too) matches the fruit-punch-pink highlights in her gorgeous berries.
There are so many photo ops at the market. It's crowded; sometime I'd like to go without a bag on my shoulder and a dog on the leash — just take my camera and spend the whole morning. Get there early and watch the set-up. Find those angles you seem to see best when you are looking through a viewfinder.
When I first moved to Portland, I thought it felt very European. It reminded me in many ways of London, one of my favorite cities in the world (not that I've been to that many cities, but London is possibly my very favorite; Copenhagen is up there, too. And Rome, by all means, Rome). London is my dream city. When I first came to Portland I liked to find the ways it reminded me of London, and I've heard other people say the same thing. Beautiful urban markets like this make living in a small city like Portland something special. With the cost of food skyrocketing (and I'm not sure it's any less expensive at the farmer's market, honestly, but there are so many good reasons to support the local growers), it's a whole morning's entertainment, aesthetic satisfaction, dog exercise, and grocery shoping all in one, so that's economical. I think I'll try to go every Saturday this summer, or Thursdays on the east side or in the Pearl.
I love mushrooms. I made mushroom sauce on Friday night, and used my next-door neighbor's egg slicer thing to slice two pounds of cremini and button mushrooms. I was so excited about the slicer — like, very very very excited about the slicer; I took photos, and a really cool photo of the sauce on some pasta. But then in my excitement I accidentally and immediately deleted all of them. So I'll have to do that again because that sauce is really good. I have no idea what the mushrooms are in this photo — probably morels and oysters? I have to say that button mushrooms and creminis are my favorites. But I'll eat them all, no problem.
Such pretty flowers at the market now, delicate and foresty. I thought this bouquet was particularly lovely — a fairy spray of early summer colors. I bought all of my wedding flowers at the Oak Park Farmer's Market. We all carried little bouquets of zinnias and snapdragons during the ceremony, and then popped them into big canning jars for the centers of the dinner tables at the reception. I think, when it comes to weddings, everyone has their "thing" that they really care about. Flowers were not mine; as long as they were pink, and as long as there were lots of them, I was happy. I didn't care what kind they were. I think if I were to get married this weekend, in Portland, Oregon, I would carry a big bouquet of frothy pink peonies and soft, velvety lamb's ear.
This little lamb's ear loves the market. Nervous at first, she mellows eventually, and then picks a spot for a rest while we eat our lunch and listen to the band. The market is a good place to work on socializing your puppy. And this little miss is in need of some more friends. We've been spending a lot of time at home lately, since the weather has been so nasty. But this one is a bit lonely.
Yes, I'm talking about you, darling. You need more friends, pretty girl.
I just thought this was cool. It's the church next to where we parked the car.
When I got home, I put my strawberries in my strainer. YIPES is that pretty.
Life is good. Summer, you've arrived not a moment too soon, honeybun. Not one little moment too soon. Thank you.