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Getting Here

The market sets up in the Rieke Elementary parking lot in Portland, Oregon. Parking is available at both entrances. Fom Capital Highway: enter at Sunset Blvd and turn left into the lot along the Wilson High School track bleachers. From Vermont St: parking is allowed along the north side of Vermont as well as the south end of the Rieke Elementary parking lot.


View Hillsdale Farmers' Market in a larger map

Smoking is not permitted in the market or on Portland Public Schools property including the school parking lots.

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Contact information

Hillsdale Farmers' Market
PO Box 80262
Portland OR 97280

phone
503-475-6555

email
contact@hillsdalefarmersmarket.com

« Success with Tomatoes | Main | Ayers Creek Farm Newsletter September 20 2015 Market »
Tuesday
Nov102015

Vendor Spotlight: Caldwell Family Farm

Farmers’ markets are a collection of businesses, a temporal grocery store where each shelf comes with a smiling face and a wealth of knowledge about the products they create. We’re giving our vendors the spotlight to share more about their role in the Hillsdale market community.
 
By Sarah West

 

Brett Caldwell in his winter brassica field.

Like many first-generation farmers, Brett Caldwell was drawn to farming after years of practicing in the garden. Though he grew up in Ohio, where commercial farms were a part of his childhood landscape, he knew nothing about how to run one. Just four years ago Brett was still working for Comcast, while he and his wife, Judy, tended a large edible garden that progressively took over the yard of their south Florida home. As the garden outgrew their family’s needs, he shared the bounty with friends and neighbors.
 
“I found that I really enjoyed feeding people just as much as I enjoyed growing food,” Brett explained about this first inkling that he might like to try his hand at farming.

Kids contest winner 1
A January King cabbage plant catching the morning sun.
 
Their pipe dream started to gel when the Caldwells visited Portland in 2011, falling in love with the region's beauty, strolling farmers markets, and catching drift of the active small farm scene.  A year later, a Comcast position opened up in Portland and Brett applied for it with the idea that it could help them relocate and get established while they acquired land and slowly built a farm business. He didn’t ultimately get the job, but he and Judy decided that the application process had proven to them that they wanted to go anyway.
 
“Most people,” Brett told me, “would have waited for the next opening and tried again. We, on the other hand, weren't so patient. I quit my career of 18 years, we sold everything in our house, packed up our clothes, and headed to Oregon.” 
 
Kids contest winner 2
Some of the day's fresh eggs waiting to be washed.

At a visit to the Oregon City Farmers Market, Brett learned about Clackamas Community College’s horticulture program, where both he and Judy eventually completed degrees in horticulture and urban agriculture. That education and the local connections that came from it led to the breakthrough they were waiting for, including a tip about a rental property with small acreage. By the spring of 2013 they were prepping the soil and planting their first farm vegetables.
 
Farmers markets were integral to the Caldwell’s startup, from inspiration to education to the community support that was essential to their growth.
 
“We knew we wanted to be vendors after our first visit to the Oregon City Farmers Market,” Brett recalled. “I loved seeing the farmers at the booths making connections with the people they were feeding. It was the same feeling I enjoyed when I shared food from my garden in Florida. As a vendor, I've learned so much from the people that shop with us. They've taught me various ways to use vegetables that I had previously not experienced. It's been the personal feedback from our customers that help me learn everything I need to grow delicious, healthy food.”

Kids contest winner 3
Arugula in one of the winter vegetable high tunnels.

Since 2013, the Caldwell’s have moved to a bigger farm site just south of Oregon City and now have a 17-acre spread with high tunnels (unheated greenhouses), a large covered house and yard for their poultry flock, and room for a small orchard. Caldwell Family Farm also maintains Certified Naturally Grown status, a peer-reviewed certification whose standards are based on those of the National Organic Program.
 
Caldwell Family Farm will be at Hillsdale through the winter season, selling a variety of salad and cooking greens, root vegetables, chicken eggs, duck eggs (when available), and their farm-direct preserves. Follow their Facebook page to learn more about the farm and keep track of what they’ll be bringing to market!