Farmers Markets Ring in the Spring
Karen Wagner, founder of the Pendleton Farmers Market, has spring fever, and she’s not ashamed to say it. “It’s been a long, cold, dark winter out here,” she said.
But those dark days are long gone with Oregon farmers setting out their bright, fresh fruits and vegetables at markets across the state. No matter where you travel in Oregon this spring and summer, you can get your fix of locally grown goods at farmers markets statewide.
Wagner said she’s excited about the tangy, savory greens that come to market this time of year — mustard greens, Swiss chard, tender baby lettuces, and her favorite, “arugula, arugula, arugula!”
Chef Matthew Bennett of Sybaris in Albany is on the lookout for tasty greens too—particularly the high-maintenance fava bean. “During the winter we are peeling root vegetables and washing kale,” he said. But he said the little fava, which has to be removed from its pod and then its jacket before cooking, “This is definitely yelling, ‘Spring!'”
It’s not all about the greens, either. Rebecca Landis, market director for the Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets, notes that naturally raised beef, chicken and pork are now commonly available at many Oregon farmers markets.
And for Ashland Saturday Market Manager Heidi Dawn, the new market season is all about dairy. “I love early spring, when local goat’s milk and goat’s cheeses are available,” she said.
Whether you are a locavore, a budding chef, or just happy to finally be out in the sunshine, Oregon farmers have something for everyone.
Many markets start in early May and run into October. For a complete listing of the more than 102 farmers markets across the state, visit the Oregon Farmers’ Market Association website.
To jumpstart your seasonal cooking, enjoy this fava bean recipe from Chef Matthew Bennett, who was recently honored with a James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef of the Northwest.
about author Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.
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