Winter Market Ahead!
New Hours, and a Hillsdale Winter Market Preview
Autumn is a time of transition for farmers and markets alike. While it’s sad to watch those summer vegetables go, winter is when we get to see what our region is really capable of. If you haven’t been to a Hillsdale winter market, you will be surprised by the quality and diversity of vegetables available there, ranging from onions and leeks to potatoes and root crops to a wide variety of fresh and zesty greens.
This time of year we get lots of inquiries about how long the market runs. We stick around all year, meeting weekly until the Sunday after Thanksgiving (when the market is closed for a holiday break). Our winter season runs from December-April, during which the market meets twice monthly.
2014-2015 Winter Market Dates
Dec 7 & 21
January 11 & 25
February 8 & 22
March 8 & 22
April 12 & 26
New Hours for the Winter Market!
This year, our winter market will have new hours. All 2014-2015 winter markets will run from 10am-1pm, starting on January th. Our Board of Directors voted to try these new hours for a couple of reasons: to help make our winter market safer by accommodating winter weather patterns at our market site (winds usually kick up between 1 and 2p.m.), and because many years of data show a pattern of sales dropping off drastically after noon. Shortening the market duration gives our farmers and food producers an extra hour out of the wind and rain to do the work that makes their products so wonderful. We welcome all comments and concerns as we trial these hours.
Winter is a great time to try a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. Winter shares are less common, but a few of our vendors have created some enticing packages to keep your larder well stocked through the cold season!
Sauvie Island Organics
A new vendor for us last winter, Sauvie Island Organics is offering a short-term winter share from December thru early March. Each share will include approximately 35 pounds of hearty winter vegetables with a focus on storage varieties, including root crops, alliums, winter squash, cabbage, radishes and more. There’s even a Hillsdale pickup—Mondays in front of Food Front Co-op. Find more information in this blog post (scroll down to the bottom of it): http://www.sauvieislandorganics.com/blog/?p=3436 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun Gold Farm
With their popular summer CSA program wrapped up, Sun Gold offers a one-time Thanksgiving Share, including a carefully selected assortment of fresh veggies and storage vegetables to feature on your Thanksgiving table and into the winter. Thanksgiving Shares will be available for pickup at the market on November 23rd and are a very affordable $40. Find out more on their website: http://www.sungoldfarm.com/id9.html
Gee Creek Farm
Organic farmers, grain millers, and healthy food processors, Gee Creek have added a food co-operative to their mission of providing the local community with nutritious and ecologically sound food. Check out their hybrid Winter CSA-Buying Club at: http://www.geecreekfarm.com/#!food-coop/c162v
Try Something New
The selection at winter markets seems to get better each year; as the consumer is more willing to try new varieties, the farmer is more willing to test unfamiliar seeds. Farmers markets are a great place to encounter new vegetables and expand your home-cooking horizons. Winter heralds its own exciting flavors: frost-sweetened carrots and kale, refreshing and tonic greens, addictingly bitter chicories, silky dry beans, freshly milled grains, and local artisan food products to add that finishing touch. It also means more time indoors to experiment with new recipes.
Long-time shopper and accomplished cook, Katherine Deumling, has been partnering with local CSA farms for years, providing seasonally appropriate, easy to follow recipes to go along with their shares. She has transitioned that model to an online subscription database of those recipes called Cook With What You Have. Her site is an excellent resource for those who really want to buy that rutabaga or celeriac, but just aren’t sure what they’d do with it. Find out more at: www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com
What's Coming to Market?
Happy Harvest Farm and DeNoble's Farm Fresh return to the market this Sunday. Deep Roots Farm will be taking the next two weeks off. We are deep into the fall harvest now. There are a lot of spectacular winter squash varieties available. The hardy greens are plentiful now as well. Don't be surprised to find a few late summer vegetables like green beans, eggplants and cucumbers. Several farms are harvesting the last of their greenhouses and will likely surprise all of us this Sunday. The wild mushroom harvest has been exceptional the last few weeks. Expect to find lobster mushrooms, chanterelle, matsutake, and porcini this weekend.
Visit our Availability Page for more information and the full list of farmers and vendors coming to the market this Sunday. The page will be updated through Saturday evening. Check our Twitter feed for Sunday morning updates.
The Fat of The Land
All plants are wanderers through history, adapting to the demands of their environment, sculpted by the preferences of their consumers (human and otherwise). The shapes, colors, flavors, and distinctions of the plants we are familiar with today have long, often mysterious histories. The only thing we know for sure is that nothing—not an heirloom, not a hybrid, not a single F1 cross—is in stasis. Landing where we’ve landed, we get to eat what’s here.
Walking through the market this time of year, it’s clear we live in an age that values novelty. Nothing illustrates this quite as bombastically as the arrival of winter squash—a category of vegetables with an enchanting display of variability that, like the tomato, has seen a renaissance of interest in the past decade.
Squash are in the same plant family as cucumbers, a botanical tribe that originated on the Indian subcontinent. Somehow, via birds or sea currents, seeds found their way to South America, where the family’s genetics eventually morphed into what we know of today as squash. Those that stayed in India tended toward cucumbers, melons, and gourds. Three distinct categories of squash developed, each with its own environmental adaptations. When Europeans first arrived in New England, they found the natives eating a relative of our modern day Halloween pumpkin, a lineage whose domestication by early humans can be dated back as far as 10,000 years ago to a cave near Oaxaca.
Known as Cucurbita pepo, this branch of the family vine had already traveled widely, its genetics already deeply explored by millennia of Native Americans (and a few centuries of colonial gardeners) by the time a man named Peter Henderson emigrated from Scotland to New Jersey in 1843.
A student of the Royal Botanical Society of Edinburgh, Henderson wasted no time leasing himself a 10-acre plot of land in Jersey City and dove head first into market farming, providing vegetables and flowers to a growing urban population. His land holdings increased, and Henderson eventually switched his focus to seed production. He built top-of-the-line greenhouses, employed over 100 gardeners, and opened a flagship store in lower Manhattan (the former site of his store was later occupied by the World Trade Center Towers).
Henderson was a pioneer in early market farming (what we might call today “urban farming”). He wrote extensively on the subject, and sold only seeds he had grown himself, selecting new varieties and adapting Old World vegetables to New World growing conditions.
Though he may not have lived to taste it, Henderson’s company is credited with the release of the Delicata squash (which premiered in 1893, six years after Peter’s death). Likely the selection of a local farmer (seed catalogs of the day offered monetary rewards to growers who turned in high quality sports that could be developed into new varieties) that was then tested and marketed by the Henderson Co., the Delicata was an unusual C. pepo.
A branch of the family known more for its tender summer squash and stringy pumpkins, Delicata exhibited the delicate skin of its zucchini cousins while melding the sweet, rich flesh of a pumpkin with a finer, drier texture. For a winter squash, Delicata came in a surprisingly small package. Weighing roughly a pound, a Delicata cut in half made a meal for two, stuffed with an assortment of herbs, nuts, or meats. Its fine flavor, ease of use, and high yields made Delicata a popular seller.
As heirlooms go, Delicata’s story is short on details. Modern sources say it was also sold under the names “Bohemian,” “Sweet Potato,” and “Ward’s Individual,” and that it was popular through the 1920’s, at which point it fell out of favor (for a perpetually unspecified reason). Combing through scanned copies of Henderson catalogs, I found it listed up until 1951, not long before the company shuttered in 1953.
In the 1944 catalog, the new and novel Butternut squash made its Henderson debut (it was originally released by Joseph Breck & Sons in 1936), touting sweet, fine-textured flesh and a neck that was solid all the way through. Butternut is much better suited to commercial growing than is Delicata—thicker skin, longer storage life, and a higher weight per volume ratio likely attracted farmers to it. As home gardening diminished and commercial farming flourished, perhaps Delicata just quietly faded into obscurity, known to those who grew it, unknown to those who didn’t.
Along with Acorn and Butternut, Delicata is again one of the most recognizable squash varieties at market. It grows well in our short northern summers and we love it for the same reasons Henderson’s customers did—its delicious flavor and delicate skin make it versatile and approachable in the kitchen. We can just scoop out the seeds, slice it and sauté it, getting squash to the table in under 30-minutes. Delicata are still the perfect vessel for stuffing, and their cheerful green and orange striping still makes a decorative centerpiece.
But don’t hesitate! Delicata won’t last and they are at their best right now. Save the Hubbards and Butternuts for deep winter, Delicatas start to quickly diminish by the first of the year. I try to use the last of mine in one or another holiday feast, baking and freezing any remainders. This year I’ll be tipping a forkful to the bohemian behind the Bohemian: an innovator and wanderer, patron farmer of Delicatas everywhere.
Sarah West is a gardener, eater and admirer of the agricultural arts. She gladly spends her Sundays as assistant manager of the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market, basking in the richness of its producers’ bounty and its community’s energy. Find archives and more at http://thefatofthelandblog.wordpress.com.
Halloween in Multnomah Village
Trick-or-Treat (rain or shine!)
Friday, October 31st
3:30 - 5:30pm
Trick-or-treat starts at Starbucks where you can pick up a walking map and parents get a complimentary cup of coffee! Finish at Dr. Jensen's for a special surprise treat (7717 SW 34th Ave). Find out more here (link).
Halloween Build Your Own Waffle Bar
Gigi's Cafe, 6320 SW Capitol Hwy
Friday, October 31st
4:00 - 8:00pm
GiGi's Café says hello to the community on Halloween with a free build your own waffle bar for kids! Come by, in costume, and receive 1 free waffle that you can top to your hearts desire from our waffle bar. Get it wrapped to go if you want to get back to trick or treating, or you can enjoy your creation in the new dining room! Find out more here (link).
SWNI Fall Cleanup and Litter Patrol
Portland Christian Center
5700 SW Dosch Rd
Saturday, November 1st
9:00am to 1:00pm
Scrap metal, old furniture,large appliances and yard debris will be welcomed at the annual fall cleanup. Community Warehouse will be accepting donations and the litter patrol will be cleaning up the mess that has accumulated over the summer. Volunteers welcome! If you are interested in volunteering, call Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. at 503-823-4592. Find out more about the event here (link).
IN THE BAG
Sunday, November 9
10am to 3pm
O'Connors in Multnomah Village, 7850 SW Capitol Hwy
This wildly successful Sale & Silent Auction raises money for the arts programs at Wilson High School. We have every color, style and price of handbag. There is a silent auction for our "special” items (not just handbags). The more we sell, the more money we raise for the Arts. It's going to be hard to choose the “handbag"—don't worry, we'll help you out with free mimosas to ease the pain of decision-making. Cash, checks, credit cards. Get there early! More at: http://fb.me/InTheBagPDX. Question: Linda @ Lsdoyle@earthlink.net (503-539-7240) or Jaci @ JLE184@comcast.net (503-502-7612).