Portland Farmers Market
In its 2011 guide to the city's farmers markets, Portland Monthly magazine described them as "our most rambunctious collisions of flavor, people, and place, and as synonymous with our city as fir trees, bridges, and rainy winters." Among the local market groups that the magazine hailed was Portland Farmers Market (PFM): "As the organization begins its 20th season, PFM's six locations define the local farmers market experience, and its Saturday flagship market at Portland State University showcases the city at its most bountiful."
The Saturday markets on a green swath of campus draw more than 180 vendors, including 22 who've sold there every year since the market opened two decades ago. The operation repeatedly has been ranked as one of the top farmers markets in the country by publications including Travel + Leisure and The Huffington Post.
Portland resident Cynthia Morgan, an artist and online manager who has shopped farmers' markets across the country, considers Portland's "definitely among the best. The people here preach whatever food they produce with a missionary zeal: Don't ever say, 'Well, I don't really like honey all that much' to the 'bee guy' unless you want to spend the next hour tasting different honeys!" Some of Morgan's favorite summer market treats are Italian artichokes, lemon cucumbers and, especially, the "these little dark-purple cherry tomatoes with so much concentrated sweet tomato flavor it's almost like eating candy."
The market is open 10 months a year (closed in January and February). In any season, one of Morgan's favorite vendors is Highland Oak Farm, which sells "the most wonderful steak jerky you've ever tasted! I sent that stuff to relatives in the military in Afghanistan and it became prime trading currency for everything from beer to rare office equipment." Portland Monthly's recommended stops at the market include Choi's Kimchi, which sells five varieties of the hot-and-pickled vegetable delicacy; and Lauretta Jean's bakery, for a slice of the signature apple pie.
SW Park Avenue and SW Montgomery Street, Portland, OR 97201
Saturdays: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. from March through October, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in November and December.
See Portland Farmers Market's website for information on its five other locations.