Thursday, August 05, 2004

Subject: Grapevine #7
Date: Thursday, August 5, 2004 7:52 PM
From: gewgaw
To: Undisclosed-Recipient

The HFM Grapevine
The Official Newsletter of the Hillsdale Farmers' Market Vol. 3 Issue 7
"All the news that's fresh, we print"

Woulda Walla
Walla onion by any other name still taste as sweet?
The question, as it turns out, is more than merely a poetic or philosophical one. During a recent visit to the Hillsdale Farmers‚ Market, I noticed a vendor who once sold Walla Walla sweet onions now offering just "sweet onions" instead. Curious, I asked him why he had switched.

"Actually," he replied, "this is the same variety of sweet onions I've always grown and sold."

He went on to say that he could no longer refer to those onions as "Walla Walla Sweets" without risking a visit and a fine from what he called "the Onion Police." I laughed and continued about my business. But a little Internet research later that day revealed that the vendor's words had been no joke.

Apparently, back in 1995, onion growers in the Walla Walla region petitioned the USDA to designate the Walla Walla Sweet Onion as a unique variety. The result was USDA Marketing Order No. 956 which established the Walla Walla valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon as a federally protected growing area and that "sweet onions grown outside this production area cannot be marketed as Walla Walla Sweet Onions or face stiff federal penalties."

In other words, "Walla Walla Sweet Onion" is now an official, federally protected brand name, much like Cheerios cereal or Kraft cheese. An article published by an economist from Washington State University shortly after Marketing Order 956 went into effect suggests this kind of branding could be used to boost crop sales in other agricultural regions. The author writes: "Substituting marketing orders for federal price and income support programs covering the major field crops has considerable appeal in today's budgetary environment because marketing orders involve no direct outlays from the U.S. Treasury." And while this program may indeed prove beneficial to the federal budget, the article also noted that it was too soon to say whether it had in fact benefited Walla Walla valley onion growers.

Regardless of its benefits, the marketing order still stands and vendors who run afoul of it do occasionally land in hot water. Consider the recent case of a Coeur d'Alene, Idaho greengrocer. In June of 2004, a produce market owner noticed one of his rivals marketing sweet onions designated as Walla Wallas. This struck the market owner as a bit odd since he knew the Walla Walla onion harvest did not officially begin until eight days later, on June 11. So he reported the matter to the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee and a reporter for the local newspaper resulting, at the very least, in no small embarrassment for the offending vendor.

All of which means that none of the sweet onions sold at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market are actually "official" Walla Walla Sweet Onions. Of course, this should in no way diminish anyone's enjoyment of the delicious, sweet onions that are now plentifully available at our market (And why not try to develop our own regional brand name, say, Willamette Valley Sweet Onions or, maybe even Willa Valla Sweets, for short). As for the answer to the question posed at the top of this article, well if any of our readers care to conduct a blind taste test comparing some of our region's sweet onions with those of the Walla Walla persuasion, I'd be very interested to learn the results

No Profile This Week
Owing to the excess verbosity evinced in the foregoing commentary, we find ourselves short of the requisite space for our customary vendor profile. However, I hereby offer my solemn assurance that in our subsequent issue ˆ due one fortnight hence- I will exercise an uncommon taciturnity in deference to our featured guest, the occasionally loquacious and always delightful Charlie Harris of Flamingo Ridge Farm.

Hillsdale Votes
Regular visitors know that at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market this year, politics are as much in season as berries, tomatoes and artichokes ˆ thanks to the presence of the Hillsdale Votes table at the market each week. A grassroots effort spearheaded by local activists Rick Seifert and Diana Ponder, the goal of Hillsdale Votes is 100% voter registration and turnout in our neighborhood for the November election.
This past Sunday, Hillsdale Votes polled HFM shoppers on their preferences for the upcoming presidential, congressional, mayoral and city council races. On Monday, Rick emailed us here at The Grapevine with the following report:

We had great participation. Although a surprising number of folks were voting averse, many were excited about having a chance to express themselves. A total of 536 ballots cast. Children, out-of-staters and foreigners were invited to vote. Perhaps 20 voters fell into these "illegal categories." Because of rounding, percentages don't add up to 100.

President (536 votes cast)- John F. Kerry: 480 votes, 89.6 %; George W. Bush: 36 votes 6.7%;
Ralph Nader: 4 votes, .07 %; Undecided: 16 votes 3%.

Congress (505 votes cast)- David Wu: 400 votes, 79.2%; Goli Ameri: 33 votes, 6.5%; Undecided: 72 votes, 14.3 %.

Mayor (496 votes cast) - Tom Potter: 358 votes, 72.2%; Jim Francesconi: 58 votes 11.7 %;
Undecided: 79 votes, 15.9%.

City Council (483 votes cast) - Nick Fish: 173 votes, 35.8%; Sam Adams: 119 votes, 24.6%;
Undecided: 191 votes, 39.5%.

Eamon Corner
By Eamon Molloy, Market Manager
My yard is probably typical of most yards in Southwest Portland: azaleas, rhododendrons, crocuses, tulips, daffodils, bleeding hearts and a few miscellaneous roses bring a variety of color to the yard. Then comes summer. A few lilies and black eyed Susans, a variety of potted annuals, but overall the color display is nothing like springtime. I've wanted to have a little more color without too much effort. Now that I'm market manager, I can tap into the expertise of our market experts: Nancy Seaman of Farris-Seaman Plants, Rick Naylor of French Prairie Perennials, John O'Sullivan of Garden Color and Peter Wilson of Vanveen Bulbs.

Their advice in a nutshell: if you want color all season long, keep planting in August and September. Lilies, hydrangeas and Rose of Sharon are just a few of the many perennials and shrubs that can be provide summer color. Another insight I learned: planting perennials this month and next will give the plants that much more time to become established in your yard. Why rush around madly in April when the ground finally dries out when you can plant now?

Since seeking advice, I've picked up a Passion Vine (a climbing perennial with great purple flowers) from French Prairie Perennials and a variety of bulbs from Vanveen. I've my eye on a Buddleia (butterfly bush) at Garden Color and several perennial herbs from Farris-Seaman. Now I just need to get these plants in the ground before I start planting fall vegetables.

Note on parking: As we all know, parking in Hillsdale is tight. The businesses and business owners generously share their parking with the market. In return, we've been asked to designate a few parking spots for several businesses. Please do not park in a spot designated for a business. If it is a very busy day, you can park in the Wilson/Rieke Parking lot behind the Hillsdale Shopping Center. If you need help getting things to your car, come to the information booth and a volunteer will assist you. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sue's Recipe o' the Week
Did you delete that last issue of the Grapevine before you printed out Sue's recipe? No problem. All past newsletters are available online at In the meantime, here's another one of Sue's mouth-watering concoctions

Green Bean Salad with Pine Nuts and Feta
1 lb. green beans
1/3 cup pine nuts
7 ozs. feta cheese (Fraga Farm)
4 ozs. pitted kalamata olives
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
sea salt to taste

1. Plunge beans into pan of lightly salted boiling water, cook for 2 minutes, drain and cool in cold water. Place in salad bowl.
2. Cook pine nuts in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden all over.
3. Add pine nuts to the beans along with the feta, and olives. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and mix well.

Serves 6.

What's Fresh for August 8
Once again, it's time to get your pencil, paper and cookbooks handy and start planning those menus for the week ahead. Here's what you can expect to find, fresh, at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market on Sunday.

Aklavik Mushrooms, Portland (St. John's):
Herbs & Spices: Basil.
Mushrooms (Cultivated): Maitake, Shiitake.
Other: Cee Gwa (Asian Veggie), Nopales (Cactus, similar to Prickly Pear)
Coming Soon: Porcini Mushrooms.

Ayers Creek Farm, Gaston:
Beans & Peas: Pole beans.
Berries/Fruit: Blackberries (Chester, Triple Crown), Charentais, Galia, Ha'ogen & Petit Gris Melons.
Bulb/Root Veggies: Beets, Garlic, New Potatoes (Dug day before market), Shallots.
Herbs & Spices: Basil, Dill, Tarragon.
Leafy Greens: Beet greens, Chard, Lettuce.
Other: Immature Grains (grüenkern and firkeh), Middle Eastern Cukes, Zucchini.

Baird Family Orchards, Dayton:
Berries/Fruit: Nectarines, Peaches.

Bear Creek Floral, Tillamook:
Other: Artichokes.

Deep Roots Farm, Albany:
Beans & Peas: Green Beans, Purple Beans, Wax Beans.
Berries/Fruit: Cantaloupe, Watermelon (Yellow & Red Seedless).
Bulb/Root Veggies: Beets, Elephant Garlic, Garlic, Potatoes, Shallots, Turnips, Sweet Onions.
Herbs & Spices: Fennel.
Leafy Greens: Chard, Collards, Dandelion, Escarole, Kale, Lettuce, Spinach.
Other: Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini.

Earthshine Gardens, Sherwood:
Beans & Peas: Green Beans.
Bulb/Root Veggies: Beets, Carrots, Potatoes (Red, White, Yellow).
Herbs & Spices: Basil.
Leafy Greens: Cabbage, Lettuce, Mustard Greens.
Other: Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Cukes, Lemon Cukes, Salad Mix, Summer Squash, Zucchini.

Flamingo Ridge Farm, Gaston:
Other: Cucumbers, Eggplants, Peppers, Summer Squash, Tomatoes.

Gee Creek Farm, Ridgefield, WA:
Beans & Peas: Fillet Beans, Green Beans, Wax Beans.
Berries/Fruit: Apples.
Bulb/ Root Veggies: Beets, Carrots, Onions.
Herbs & Spices: Basil, Cilantro, Fennel, Italian Parsley.
Leafy Greens: Cabbage (Green & Red), Chard, Kale, Lettuce, Mesclun.
Other: Baby Squash, Broccoli, Middle Eastern Cukes, Peppers.
Coming Soon: Radishes, Tomatoes.

Happy Harvest Farm, Mt. Angel:
Beans & Peas: Green Beans, Indy Gold Beans, Purple Beans, Wax Beans.
Berries/Fruit: Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Peaches, Watermelon (Yellow).
Other: Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Zucchini.

Liepold Farm, Boring:
Berries/Fruit: Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries.

Lone Elder Farm, Canby:
Beans & Peas: Green Beans, Roma Beans, Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas.
Berries/ Fruit: Apricots, Blueberries, Cantaloupes, Peaches.
Bulb/Root Veggies: Beets, Carrots, Green Onions, Kohlrabi, Potatoes (Red, Yukon Gold), Radishes, Red Onions, Sweet Onions.
Herbs & Spices: Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley.
Leafy Greens: Cabbage, Chard, Lettuce (7 varieties), Spinach.
Other: Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Peppers, Rhubarb, Summer Squash, Zucchini.

Packer Orchard, Hood River:
Berries/Fruit: Cherries, Peaches.

Rick Steffen Farm, Silverton:
Berries/Fruit: Apples, Apricots, Blueberries, Cantaloupes, Cherries, Peaches, Raspberries, Shiro Plums.
Bulb/Root Veggies: Sweet Onions.
Other: Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Cukes, Okra, Tomatoes, Zucchini.

Salmon Creek Farm:
Other: Cukes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (Hydroponic)

Stephens Farm (Dayton):
Berries/ Fruit: Apples (Williams Pride, Gravenstein), Yellow Plums
Other: Summer Squash.

Unger Farms, Cornelius:
Berries/Fruit: Blueberries, Strawberries (Selva).

Upcoming Market Guests & Events

Musical Guests
August 8: BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Greg Clarke (Bluegrass)
August 15: Artistic License (formerly Standard Deviates)

Guest Organizations
August 8: SWNI/Community Cycling Center Back to School Bike Drive
August 15: Hillsdale Branch Library

Guest Businesses
August 8: Healing Touch Acupuncture August 15: Devine Chiropractic

Special Events
August 15: Taste the Harvest Festival- Sample the variety of fruits and vegetables grown by the farmers at the Market. The library will have a display of books on food and agriculture as well!

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