|Market Updates |
|Thanks to everyone who came out to Opening Day last Saturday, it was great to see so many people gathered at the market, happy and excited about local food. Even with the rain we saw, we still had a great turnout. True Oregonians you all are!|
This Saturday, Lion Heart Kombucha and Dancing Light Ranch will start their seasons at the market. Please welcome them both!
Now is the time to start planting vegetable gardens, replace grass lawns with natives and other gorgeous shrubs, and basically get to work outside. We have an abundance of nursery vendors at the market and they are full of information and tips to help you make the right decisions for your yard. Remember to bring an old blanket or tarp to lay down in your car for transporting your plant purchases back home. Grab a wagon at the market so you don't have to lug your plants around, and feel free to drop off your larger and heavier purchases at the Information Booth while you go get your vehicle or continue to shop! Also, the Master Gardeners will be here again this week and next, so please bring questions!
This Saturday we will have our first Cooking Demonstration of the season with Amie Edelstein. Amie will be demystifying beets for those among us who may be a bit nervous around the delicious root. For the rest of us who are already beet lovers, she'll be inspiring us to look at beets with fresh eyes and will share a few great recipes such as beet vinaigrette and beet green pesto! Click here for more information.
Lastly, be sure to read about Hollywood Farmers Market vendor Gales Meadow Farm below. HFM volunteer reporter Chelsea Harlan paints a great picture of their farm, practices, and ideology. Get to know your farmer and then say hello on Saturday!
See you at the market!
Vendor Profile: Gales Meadow Farm
by Chelsea Harlan
|Gales Meadow Farm could be the poster child for the food revolution here in Portland, Oregon. Even the setting of the farm is idyllic: fifteen acres of partially wooded land near Forest Grove, nestled at the foot of the coastal range, where Anne and René Berblinger and their small circle of loyal employees plant, grow, harvest, can, and feast on over 300 varieties of vegetables and herbs. |
Ducks, cats, hens, roosters, and a goose roam the property; there's even a brand new custom-built beehive, home to the 10,000 bees the Berblingers purchased recently from Ruhl Bee Supply ("the bee gurus," according to Anne).
The concept of living off the land-of sharing meals made with the produce you've grown, of having a close connection to the food you eat and with the community that nurtures this movement-is a popular one in this region. You need only look at the increase in farmers markets, community-supported agriculture (CDSAs), public demand for fresh, seasonal, organic goods, and the new generation of young farmers to see its prevalence. It's a concept that small, local farms like Gales Meadow Farm helped to create and work to sustain. While farm life can be romanticized in the public mind, there are many facets to such a lifestyle that can be complicated, challenging, downright difficult, and, ultimately, rewarding.
The Berblingers have been vending their organic Gales Meadow Farm produce for about eleven years, with spaces at the Hollywood, Cannon Beach, and Hillsdale Farmers Markets. Gales Meadow Farm has deep roots in the community: they're a member of Slow Food Portland; Anne served on the Hollywood Farmers Market Board of Directors for three years, and still serves on the market's Vendor Committee, as well as on advisory committees for Friends of Family Farmers and Adelante Agricultura; René teaches guitar, banjo, and mandolin at Artichoke Music; and they both train future farmers. In fact, four former employees have gone on to start their own farms or become involved in farm-related professions after several seasons at Gales Meadow Farm. Once such former employee, David Knaus (who was also the farm's first full-time employee) is now the official farmer for the West Linn-Wilsonville school district, where he grows food for school lunches and teaches classes on gardening for students.
Full-time employees live at the farm and work about fifty hours a month in the off season, and as many as ten hours a day during the peak season. The entire crew walks from one end of the farm to another once a week, discussing what needs to be done and shaping priorities. While everyone does everything for the farm, employees are "champions" for specific vegetables. They're responsible for keeping a closer eye on their assigned vegetables throughout the season; nursing them along and making sure they're started, weeded, watered, and harvested at the right time.
When I asked Anne why Gales Meadow Farm chooses not to specialize in one or two crops, she replied, "We just can't help ourselves." They want variety in their crops, different appearance and flavor in the vegetables they grow. The result is seven acres of hundreds of kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, root vegetables, lettuces, eggplants, herbs, and more; it's a rainbow of fresh, flavorful, carefully selected jewels. They get their seeds from seed catalogues (or vegetable pornography, as Anne refers to them), such as Wild Garden Seed, Nichol's, and Baker Creek, and then flip through them, picking and choosing which veggies look promising. They try out ten to twenty new varieties each year, deciding on several to continue with after a trial growing period. More than eighty percent of the farm's seeds are heirloom varieties-open-pollinated, as opposed to hybrid-and more than fifty years old. The farm also produces its own seeds by growing out certain crops: fava beans, in particular, but also unique seeds of certain tomatoes and peppers.
Gales Meadow Farm, like many small farms, has its green thumbs in a diverse array of pots. They vend at farmers markets and sell their vegetables and herbs to local restaurants, such as Genoa, Andina, and Fleur de Lis, the two main endeavors that make up the majority of their profit. The farm's plant starts are a hit with home gardeners, especially the pots with a variety of lettuces. Because many Hollywood Farmers Market customers do not have sunny garden space, Gales Meadow Farm is concentrating on selecting more vegetable varieties suitable for containers-and as an inner-city apartment-dweller with limited communal yard space, I for one can appreciate having my own little tub of veggies to tend. The starts are also sold to restaurants who want to grow their own vegetables, other farms where vegetables aren't the main focus, and to Verdura Gardens, a local company that helps Portlanders plan and plant their own gardens.
The farm also educates through outreach with its Portland Tillamook Preschool partnership, where young children can plant their own pumpkin seeds and pick the resulting pumpkins once they've ripened on the farm. They also teach classes-Hands-On Organic Farming-at the farm, led by Anne. They even have their own hot sauce: Black Hungarian and Wenk's Yellow Hot Sauce.
There are, of course, pests to contend with on a farm, and the solutions for getting rid of them are more complicated when that farm is certified organic and doesn't indiscriminately spray everything with chemicals. One of the biggest problems is slugs; those that the ducks don't eat, the farm's special Slug Elixir of flour, water, yeast, and sugar takes care of (check out their website for the full recipe). There are also the usual suspects: deer, coyote, bobcats, fungi, mice, and late frosts. But weeds are, hands down, the biggest pest for organic farmers. Barriers of plastic and cloth are a simple and effective deterrent, but costly and labor-intensive. Surprisingly, one of the pests you may expect to head the list-insects, such as aphids-are kept in check. The insect population is in balance because of the farm's organic integrated pest-management techniques.
As a small local farm trying to make a profit as well as a positive difference in their community, involvement in politics is unavoidable. One of the major issues the farm has faced over the last four years is Oregon LNG and the company's intent to run a liquid gas pipeline right through Gales Meadow Farm's property. Two proposals have been created to attempt to push such pipelines through; one has been defeated and other is described as limping along. This sort of pipeline would effectively bring an end to not only the farm and to the Berblingers' (and their staff's) livelihood, but to their way of life.
Competing for the food dollar with government-subsidized crops is another challenge for small farms. Support programs are not available for fresh vegetables, and current farm bill subsidies make empty-calorie food cheap. Anne, however, doesn't want government subsidies for their family farm; she wants farmers to be able to sell high-quality, nutritious food for what it costs to produce. She suggests one way to support this goal would be to divert the money currently funneled to farm subsidies to funding food stamps for everyone, not just those in need. The food stamps Anne proposes could only be used for "real" food, real food being defined as having no trans fats, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no GMOs. This would create more demand and higher prices for vegetable farmers.
Despite such challenges, Anne and René, and many other like them, will continue their work on the farm and the mentorship, education, and community partnerships that are created along with it. Anne says that as much as eighty-five percent of small farms have off-farm income, as Gales Meadow Farm does, and fewer than fifty percent make a profit. Against such odds, I asked her why she thought Gales Meadow Farm has been such a success. Without hesitation she replied, simply, "Love."
Community Booths at the Market
Every Saturday, two community organizations provide customers with information about unique projects around the city and add to the community feel of the market. Organizations represent many different interests, from local food initiatives and healthy living advocates to conservation groups and youth empowerment agencies.
This year, the Community Booths will be located near the southeast corner of the market, along the south edge of the parking lot planter, across from Happy Harvest Farm. Drop by and talk with some of the many wonderful organizations that will be filling this spot throughout the season.
In addition to the regular Community Booths this week, OSU Master Gardeners will have a booth next to the Information Booth at the corner of 44th and Hancock.
Portland-based Sons of Norway Grieg Lodge was founded in 1910 and built its home, Norse Hall in 1928. They are an all-volunteer, non-profit fraternal organization with nearly 700 members, dedicated to supporting an array of social, cultural, educational and humanitarian pursuits connected with our community, and Norwegian and Scandinavian heritage - old and new! They'll be sharing info on a few of their upcoming events: Viking Adventures for Kids Library Extravaganza, on May 15 from 3:00 to 4:30pm at the Norse Hall (111 NE 11th Ave.), an afternoon of storytelling and exploration of this unique Norwegian-themed collection; and Syttende Mai - Norway's Constitution Day Celebration and Parade, on May 17, a celebration of Norway's most important national holiday - a festive afternoon of traditional foods, music, dance, raffle and parade at the historic Norse Hall; doors open at 4pm.
Heifer International is a global nonprofit with a proven solution to ending hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Heifer helps lift families out of poverty by providing them with gifts of livestock, seeds and extensive training, which becomes a multiplying source of food and income. While Heifer promotes peace and equitably sharing the resources of a healthy planet, their on-the-ground strategy is to "Pass on the Gift". As people share their animals' offspring with others-along with their knowledge, resources and skills-an expanding network of hope, dignity and self-reliance is created. This simple idea of giving families a source of food, rather than short-term relief-a cow not a cup-caught on and has continued for more than 65 years. Today, millions of families have been given gifts of self-reliance and hope. Stop by their booth and ask their Heifer Portland volunteers how you can get involved today!
The Oregon State University Master Gardener Program is an Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service program that educates Oregonians about the art and science of growing and caring for plants. This program also facilitates the training of a highly educated corp of volunteers. These volunteers extend sustainable gardening information to their communities through education and outreach programs. The master gardeners will be answering customer's gardening questions at their booth throughout the market. Come by if you have a garden-related question!
The views expressed by the organizations in the Community Booths are those of the organization and its representatives and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Hollywood Farmers Market.
|At the Market|
Sons of Norway
OSU Master Gardeners
Cooking Demo with Amie Edelstein - 5/14, 9:30am and 10:30am
HFM's 15th Birthday Party - 5/21, 10:30am
| Featured Products|
May 14, 2011
Violetta Artichoke Starts
Gales Meadow Farm
These beauties require a little patience as they will not produce artichokes the first year you plant them. But when they do, you won't be sorry!
THINK Unique Garden
Only $1 each! This gorgeous blue annual belongs to the buttercup family and makes every yard dreamy with a tangle of ferny foliage forming a mist around the flowers.
Smoked Salt French Macaroons
Gluten free, fabulous, and bigger this year!
Our newest hot food vendor will offer the Locomoco this Saturday. Rice, a burger patty, gravy with local shiitake mushrooms, and a fried egg on top! Protein to satisfy while you shop the market.
Crimson Red Rhubarb
Peak Forest Fruit
Check out the tip of the week below to find out how to make a delicious spring drink with rhubarb!
| Tip of the Week|
brought to you by Robert Reynolds' Chefs Studio
Rhubarb Spritzer - For a refreshing spring drink:
Simmer 4 stalks of rhubarb (cut in 2-inch pieces) in a syrup (2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, lemon zest) until soft. Place everything in a blender and liquefy until as smooth as possible. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve. Use the rhubarb syrup to flavor sparkling water. Enjoy!
| Cooking Demonstration with Amie Edelstein |
|This coming Saturday at the market will include our first cooking demo of the season! The cooking demos will run through November, on the second Saturday of each month. This year our cooking demos are a|
partnership with the Robert Reynolds Chef Studio, which offers culinary training in SE Portland. Chefs from the studio, including teachers, students, and alumni, will present the demos.
Amie Edelstein moved to Portland 5 years ago and although she liked to cook before, she found herself inspired by the beauty and abundance of local produce and food. She started assisting with cooking demos at the farmers market to help others learn about using seasonal fruits and vegetables. She completed a year-long course of study in French and Italian culinary technique with Robert Reynolds at the Chef Studio.
Her mission is to help the world eat better by cooking and eating seasonally and locally. She teaches private and small group cooking classes focused on seasonal foods and loves helping people try new foods and improve their culinary skills.
This Saturday, Amie will be showcasing one of our quintessential northwest ingredients, the beet, in three different dishes. She'll be making asparagus with beet vinaigrette, pureed beet soup with sheeps
cheese and herbs, and a preparation of that often-overlooked ingredient, beet-green pesto.
Cooking demonstrations will be held at 9:30am and 10:30am at the musicians' tent on Hancock Street. Look for the recipes in next week's edition of The Local Dirt!