Monday, September 6, 2010

Farmer' Markets

We are on a family vacation for the first time in (we have calculated) six years. We've taken various trips and excursions in partial family assemblies, and we all got together for twenty-four hours at Katie's house in July, but we haven't taken an actual Rest and Recreate Vacation.

I even now hesitate to call it a Family Vacation since the whole family is not intact with Katie and hers not attending. But I have finally accepted that those kinds of vacations are not only rare but may become extinct. No one warned us in the beginning that if we had a passel of kids (we only have seven remember) the day would come when they would become adults and at that time it would be a near impossibility to gather everyone together as we did when they were children.

So we are minus one of the seven on our family vacation. The attending members have showed up in groups. I brought the youngest three kids with me on the drive to the ocean coast of Oregon. Since I had to drive through the big city of Portland I had the bright idea of checking out a big city farmer's market on the way. The problem with that is I had to deviate from the careful highway route through the city to get to the market. I had no problem getting to the market but getting back on the highway was a heinous nightmare.

First of all it was 6:00 p.m. Secondly it was Portland, Oregon. In my opinion Portland holds the distinction of having the absolute worst highway system ever. It is a tangle of bridges and freeways that were designed using the crayon scribbles of a two year old as a blueprint by someone high on amphetamines. Making it worse, there is a lack of informative signage so that even Google maps gets confused by Portland.

I've lived here sixteen years and I still waste countless hours of my life lost in Portland.

But! The farmer's market was lovely.

Portland does love its good food and organic conscientiousness (Look! That's a real word!)

I wanted to get some lucious peak-of-summer tomatoes for my vacation caprese salad and sandwiches since my own garden is not producing them.

Oh the variety of a big city farmer's market!

We sampled an orange colored watermelon.

And I swooned over the baked goods.

We had to try some of the carmelized onion rye bread.

And I bought one of these spinach boerek- divine!

The kids also twisted my arm to buy one of these cinnamon bread for our vacation breakfast. They twisted it really really hard. Ow. It still hurts. This convection was also divine.

And since this is the hip city of Portland the offerings included the unique like these:

Not your average grocery store popsicles.

I won't describe the highway nightmare that followed this farmer's market stop. Suffice it to say that my vacation did not start with a stress-free scenic drive to the ocean.

But we made it.

The evening of our first full day here, Mr. Dirtywrench and I were strolling the little beach town where we are staying. We took up a space on a charming little bench outside a quaint little tourist shop to relax and chat (something we don't have time to do on our home territory). We noticed that nearly every tourist who walked by us was carrying a bag of fresh produce. Tomatoes, corn on the cob, zucchini, and I even saw a pie go by. We ventured up the street one more block and...

...we discovered that our little beach town also has a farmer's market!

Don't ya just love Oregon?

This farmer's market actually seemed bigger and more diverse then the one in the big city!
It was also much, much more crowded with people making their purchases.

Because I am a baker and I absolutely cannot resist sampling baked goods, I bought one thing.

I was attracted by it's surprising similarity to the Amish pies I encountered in Michigan. I was intrigued by the baker's description of their family method handed down by his wife's grandmother who also came from Amish country in Ohio.

It tasted exactly like the Amish pies too. Terrible. No one here would eat it and we threw it away.

Are Americans losing the ability to make good pie? Do we no longer know what good pie is? When a company marketing pie to the public can't make it right, who can?

My town has a little farmer's market too. I have an idea out!


  1. Ok - so next time you come to town and need to get in/around downtown, park your car, give me a call, I'll come pick you up - and chauffeur you around. I know all the back/secret ways in/around town and how to avoid all of the traffic - one of the perks of having lived here for 42 years!

    And I gotta say - I avoid the PDX farmer's market - not that great a variety, to be honest. We like the smaller, out on the fringes markets. That Manzanita one looks fab!

    Have a GREAT vacation!

  2. It was Thursday so we went to the one called Buckman. It was decent. I just couldn't find my way back to 405/26 without going back to the beginning and I know very well there was a better way! But there were no $%&##&# signs and the traffic downtown was hideous too. I need a GPS.
    Thank you for the offer to chauffeur though! I don't get those very often. ;-)

  3. Even our capitol city is small town compared to places like Portland. I don't envy you one bit. And, yes, getting the family together is a nightmare when they grow up and have lives of their own.

    Our small town farmer's market features local baked goods that do very well. If you're thinking what I'm thinking you should jump at the chance. Show them what real pie tastes like!

  4. I cracked up at your description of Portland. Makes me feel better. 3 years ago when we were on vacation in Oregon getting around Portland was horrific. And we daily drive the freeways of Houston and Dallas. I just put it off to the fact that we didn't take out time to study the whole picture of the freeway system and instead just struck out with our handy dandy map. This was before GPS. I swear it didn't matter WHERE we were trying to go we would end up on the SAME bridge that went through a tunnel and into - yes - a section of road under construction. We went that way so often that I was beginning to believe the construction workers were starting to recognize us. We decided that EVERY road in the Portland area eventually connects to that one bridge. And by the time we recognized where we were each time, it would be too late. There was no turning around for miles. I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. I kept telling DH that it was a sign from the Universe that our "house" was that direction. (At the time I was on a mission to move to Portland.)
    Enjoy your vacation!

  5. Oooohhhh Seren Dippity...I feel you!! Studying the "whole picture" of Portland's freeway system is pointless because there is not one! No rhyme or reason whatsoever. I don't see any logical way of learning it. I think the only way is to make the same mistake so many bloomin' times that you decide it ain't gonna happen again! "No turning around for miles" is the other problem! In Chicago or Detroit if you miss an exit, no problem, take the next one and back track. NO WAY in Portland! No such thing! So glad you could laugh about it. I have trouble doing that.

    Southern Gal- thanks for the encouragement!


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