April showers seem to have brought May showers, no flowers. But May is the month farmers markets begin to bloom. Last Sunday, the Hillsdale Farmers Market began its new season and the King Market opened in Northeast Portland. On Wednesday, the Shemanski Park Market opened downtown. This coming Saturday, the Beaverton Farmers Market opens. And yesterday, the Buckman Farmers Market, formerly known as the Eastbank Farmers Market opened. Strawberries, dandelion greens, pretzel bread, @jenlikestoeat dressed like a pumpkin and @eaterpdx like a tomato. And I took pictures.
The Buckman Farmers Market is a small market and a neighborhood market. Families walk to it with bags in hand to get a snack or pick up produce for the week. That said, it’s an easy stop by car or bike from Hawthorne or Belmont, just a couple blocks in on 20th.Produce was limited, but varied. Gathering Together Farm and Denison Farm each had the widest selection. Gathering Together mostly had root vegetables and greens. Their turnips, snow white with long healthy greens, looked great, as did their carrots. Bok choy, beets, and rhubarb all looked pristine. The market bought up a large portion of their rhubarb for their Taste the Place booth. Likewise, their greens such as chard and sorrel were the stuff bunnies salivate over.
Denison and Aichele Farms both had strawberries. However, Aichele’s Hermiston strawberries looked damaged, perhaps from the bad weather. Denison, a Willamette Valley farm, tunnels their strawberries, protecting them from the elements to a large degree and allowing them to fruit early for Oregon. I didn’t taste them, but they looked nice (as you can see in the photo starting of this report). Denison also had very nice potatoes, young carrots, a rainbow of beets, fennel, radishes and flowering greens. Oddly, they had both butternut squash and zucchini.Two Forks, a new vendor to the farmers markets, only has one acre on Sauvie Island that they’re leasing, but they’re taking subscriptions for their CSA and selling what they can at the Buckman Market. They had some great looking greens — dragon’s tongue, mizuna, flowering rapini, pea tendrils, and a variety of lettuces.
Packer Orchards was there with their bakesale-quality pastries and pears long past their prime. The pears, kept in cold storage, were hard as rocks, yet blemished like they had over-ripened and bruised.There were three bakeries at the market: Fressen, Black Sheep, and Great Harvest. Fressen has been one of the best and most interesting bakeries at any of the markets. They’re one of the few artisan bakeries to specialize in Eastern European and Germanic breads in PDX and the only one at any of the farmers markets. Their pretzels are used at Spints Alehouse for their “dirty” pretzels, but they’re fantastic straight, too. Anything with rye is worth buying from them as well.
Black Sheep Bakery specializes in vegan breads, pastries, and chocolates. For vegan baked goods, they’re decent, but if you’re not vegan and picky like me, they probably won’t be quite good enough. But their efforts are admirable.
Why Great Harvest Bread is allowed at the market, I don’t know. Great Harvest is a franchise-based company started in Montana, now with over 200 locations nationwide. Besides not being truly a local, independent product, the bread isn’t especially good, only slightly better than supermarket breads, far short of artisan products.Tails & Trotters has made the move from the PSU market, offering their hazelnut finished pork to Buckman customers. If you haven’t checked out their board of cuts, you should. How many butchers sell pork briskets, flatiron steaks, and belly shortribs? They also make (and sell) a range of sausages, ham, and leaf lard. Reister Farms is the only other vendor selling meat. They offer lamb cuts, plus sausages and pepperoni sticks.
Check out the rest of the photos of Buckman Farmers Market here.
Buckman Portland Farmers Market
Dates: May 6 through September 30
Times: 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Thursday Market in the Buckman/Sunnyside neighborhood of Southeast Portland is located at SE 20th & Salmon between SE Belmont & SE Hawthorne — in the parking lot of Hinson Baptist Church.
Oh, and if you are bored, desperate for attention, or have a martyr complex, you can dress up at the market like a fruit and entice (or scare away) potential customers, handing out tastes of fruit. Just email the market. I’m sure there’s not a line of people waiting to don tomato outfit, cape or no.