|orange alstroemeria flowers|
If things have been quiet around here lately, it's because . . . I'm in London for the summer! More on that soon. But before leaving Portland, I made it to the Milwaukie Farmers Market two weeks in a row, one Sunday to buy organic vegetables and fruit—kale, chard, baby carrots, maitake mushrooms, a jar of local honey, the last of the d'Anjou pears—and the next to buy a handmade pottery gift, plus a half pint of raspberries that I immediately ate while sitting on sun-warmed cement steps in front of the Milwaukie City Hall.
The Milwaukie Farmers Market is one of my favorite farmers markets in the Portland area, though it's a bit overstuffed with prepared-food vendors and could use more farmers selling whole fruits and vegetables. Still, there's something for everyone, from beautiful turned-wood bowls to metal garden trellises to hard-to-find herbs to handmade soaps to fresh flowers.
|Milwaukie Farmers Market scene|
|herb list on painted door|
I've become a fan of Phyllis Koessler's pottery, made in West Linn. In the last month, I've bought two of her sweet little pitchers that remind me of a stylized bird with imprints for thumb and finger when pouring, a turquoise one for me and a white one with tinges of dark blue for my summer host and best friend from college. The versatile design makes for a lovely, unique small vase or creamer—an inexpensive, practical gift.
|Phyllis Koessler pottery booth|
It helped when carrying loads of vegetables, mushrooms, and honey home on the bus that I'd recently found a large herringbone-woven French market bag trimmed in brown leather and with long leather handles (at Versailles Gardens in NW Portland) that I'd been wanting for years—it holds so much! And, inspired by Zero Waste Home, I finally converted from plastic produce bags to cotton drawstring bags in various sizes (S-M-L-XL), a switch I highly recommend and should have done a long time ago (though I reuse plastic bags for scooping my cat's litter box). I've even been using the drawstring bags to organize my travel items: a bag for my slippers, a bag for a pair of sandals, a bag for power cords, and so on. But if you can sew such cotton muslin bags yourself, all the better.
So as a public service announcement, before my topic completely shifts to things-to-see-and-do-in-London-when-short-on-money, remember to check out your local farmers market this summer, wherever you are, wherever you may go. When fed from trusted local farmers, we ensure that what we're eating is fresh, seasonal, healthful, and tasty. A farmers market visit can feed all our senses.
On a walk yesterday, I saw a sign promoting the Queen's Park Farmers Market here in NW6 on Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM in a school parking lot. Can't wait!