Friday, May 26, 2006

Grapevine May 28 2006 Market

in this issue
--What's Coming to the Market this week?
--Recipe - Carrot Salad

It's been a rainy week but with a little luck we should have a fair day weather-wise on Sunday. If you are planning a Memorial Day outing, you'll have a good selection of fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other good things to choose from.

Sundance Lavender Farm and Salubrious won't be at the market this week. Both will be back next week. Unger Farm and Liepold Farm should be making their first appearances at the market next week if the weather cooperates and the berries ripen. Fraga Farm will be back at the market this week. See you on Sunday!

What's Coming to the Market this week?

So close and yet so far away. Acres of orange-colored Hood strawberries are sitting in fields, waiting for a string of warm sunny days to ripen them. Fortunately the early strawberries coming to the market have been great and will hold me over for now.

On the other hand, the rain and cool weather works well for greens so we can't complain too much. Lettuces (leaf, romaine, butter), spinach, kale, arugula and mustard greens should be in good supply. Broccoli, broccoli raab, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, carrots, snow peas, radishes, green garlic, spinach, shallots, onions, wild (morel) and cultivated (maitake and shitake) mushrooms and hydroponic tomatoes should be in good supply too. There should also be some zucchini and summer squash too.

Recipe - Carrot Salad

Carrots are one of those vegetables that you can find almost any time of the year. But there is always a small period of time where the locally grown carrots are hard to come by. From mid-April to mid-May, local carrots were hard to find. But they are back now and their flavor is so much better than the other carrots available.

Carrots, raw or cooked, are used in every course of a meal, from appetizer to dessert. Carrot salad is an easy dish to throw together quickly. There are many variations but all start with shredded carrots, usually about a pound and some kind of vinaigrette. Some salad recipes might add other root vegetables like beets or turnips. The recipe below, with ginger and rice vinegar, takes on an Asian flavor.

Carrot Salad

1 minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound coarsely shredded carrots (about 4 cups)

Puree the shallots, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil in a blender or food processor. Add the olive oil in a slow stream while machine is running and blend until smooth. Toss carrots and dressing together in a bowl and serve.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Grapevine May 21 Market

in this issue
--What's at the Market this week?
--Market Ad wins Oregonian's Design-An-Ad competition

Looks like we're heading for another nice weekend.
There are several returning vendors this week. Happy Harvest Farm rejoins the Hillsdale Farmers Market this week with its red and white striped canopy and truly outstanding strawberries. The salmon fishing season opens for four days this week which means that Oregon Wild will be at the market this weekend. Fraga Farms won't be at the market this week. Pastrami King, a new venture from Ken's Home Plate, starts at the market this weekend serving pastrami sandwiches and other goodies. See you on Sunday!

What's at the Market this week?
OK, I may be jumping the gun by a week or two but between the warm weather and the great tasting strawberries showing up at the market, I'm declaring that strawberry season has begun. How far behind can cherries be?

There will be plenty of other spring and early summer fruits and vegetables available. The asparagus season has been great in both variety and quality and will continue this week. You should also find lettuces (leaf, romaine, butter), salad mixes, kale, arugula, broccoli, broccoli raab, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, carrots, snow peas, radishes, green garlic, spinach, shallots, onions, wild (morel) and cultivated (maitake and shitake) mushrooms and hydroponic tomatoes.

Other foods at the market this weekend include breads, pastries, jams, honey, pasta, cheese, eggs, beef, chicken, rabbit, pork, spice mixes, lox, smoked sable, coffee and chocolate.

Market Ad wins Oregonian's Design-An-Ad competition
Karen Bartus, a 6th grader at Hosford Middle School in SE Portland, took first place in the grades 4-6 category of the Oregonian's 4th Annual Design-An-Ad project. Her winning ad, displayed on the right, was
one of over 50 ads for the market submitted by students in the Portland Metro area.

All the submitted ads were very good. Selecting one ad to participate in the larger competition was not easy. Thank you Karen and all the other students for your excellent work.

Spinach is commonly found at the market in spring and fall. A versatile vegetable, it can be found raw, wilted and cooked in salads, side dishes, soups and main courses. Whatever your intended use, be sure to thoroughly wash spinach to remove the grit from the leaves.

Spinach salads are a common spring dish. For a simple salad, take washed and dried spinach (tear the leaves into bite sized pieces if big), dress with your favorite vinaigrette and add chopped hard boiled eggs, red onion and croutons.

You can also make a quick pasta dish. This usually works best with a tubular pasta like rigatoni. While the pasta is boiling, saute 2-3 chopped garlic cloves in some olive oil over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add about 1/2 pound of washed and coarsely chopped spinach and turn heat down. Saute until the spinach wilts then remove from heat and add one cup of ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir until mixed then add cooked and drained pasta, mix and serve.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Grapevine May 14 Market

in this issue
--What's at the Market this week?

Greetings and Happy Mother's Day!

We had a pretty wet start to the season last week. It's hard to play a kazoo let alone a guitar in the rain. Thank you Josh for playing in the rain.

The weather for this weekend looks a lot better. Look for more returning vendors this weekend including Deep Roots Farm, Garden Color, Happy Harvest Farm, Herr Family Farm, Stephens Farm and Vanveen Bulb. We also have a new vendor starting this week, Blossom Vinegar. See you on Sunday!

What's at the Market this week?
Thanks to the sunny and warmer days, strawberries will be more plentiful this week. Other spring crops like snow peas, green garlic, radishes and spinach should be in good supply too. Asparagus will be readily available in many varieties. You'll find green, white and purple asparagus as well as triguero, a long stemmed variety originally from Andalusia. You'll find a good supply of cauliflower, broccoli, shitake and maitake mushrooms, lettuce, beets, hydroponic tomatoes, garlic, potatoes and greens.

Asparagus is a local crop that signifies a very specific time of year. (The Hood strawberry is another crop and they are coming soon!) With its season running from mid-April to early June,
asparagus is a very clear signal that spring is here. Farmers at Hillsdale and other Portland markets have been growing more varieties over the past few years and now you can find locally grown green, white and purple asparagus and more exotic spanish varieties as well. These varieties are far better than the dull grey-green canned spears I ate as a kid.

While eating a tamale at the market last week, I found myself looking at all the shoppers carting
away asparagus and thought to myself "I really want an asparagus tamale". I did find a recipe but haven't gotten around to trying it. This week was not one to try a new recipe.

Steaming or boiling is a common (and simpler) way to prepare asparagus. Roasting is an equally simple and flavorful way to cook asparagus. Simply toss clean spears in some olive oil and lay flat, single layer in a roasting pan. Place the pan in a preheated 450 degree oven. Shake the pan once or twice while cooking to turn the spears. Roast for 10-12 minutes until the asparagus is tender. Place roasted asparagus on a serving platter, drizzle a little basalmic vinegar across the spears and serve.