What's Coming to Market?
A few late summer vegetables like eggplants, peppers and tomatoes will still be available this Sunday as long as we don't get a frost. Most fall crops will be plentiful, including broccoli, cauliflower, celery, hardy greens, apples, pears, cranberries, hazelnuts, walnuts and more. looking for hazelnut shells? He Sells These Shells returns for the winter season. And finally, the vendor formerly known as Savory et Sweet returns as Arugularium. No crepes (you need to go the restaurant) but a great selection of pies and quickbreads.
Garden Color back in December
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.
Volunteer Profile: LeeLa Coleman
Hillsdale Farmers’ Market couldn’t function without the work done by a dedicated group of volunteers. Board members, market assemblers, token sellers, smile givers, community creators: our volunteer force has always been the secret ingredient to our success. We’re celebrating their unique contributions to the market by sharing part of their story.
Why did you start volunteering at the market?
I have been volunteering at the Hillsdale Farmers Market since it first opened in 2002.
What market volunteer duty do you most enjoy?
As strange as it sounds, I like cleaning food tables and emptying the garbage bins. I enjoy talking to our customers while I’m cleaning tables, as they enjoy wonderful market food and visit with family and neighbors. Emptying the garbage bins gives me an appreciation of how much of the earth we needlessly throw away and I think about how we can do better. For example, we used to give bottled water to vendors. We now keep a large dispenser filled with wonderful Oregon water at the information booth and encourage vendors and customers to refill and reuse.
What stands out about HFM in a city with so many great farmers' markets?
Our market fosters a strong sense of community and connection with the earth and farmers who sustain us. A trip to our market is an experience.
What keeps you coming back as a volunteer?
My wonderful friends and community.
Outside of market volunteering, what do you do for work and play?
I work in Public Health as a cancer consultant and am an active member of my labor union. I spend much of my non-work time fighting for social justice. My paid and volunteer work and labor activism are all connected. Corporate farms have dominated our food systems and more and more chemicals are dumped into the environment, which creates unhealthy food products, low wage jobs, and increases the risk of cancer. I am currently focusing on the fight for $15 minimum wage.
What is your favorite item to buy at the market right now?
Oh my, I can only pick one? It would have to be Fraga Farms cheese. In one bite of cheese, I can taste the Oregon rain that grows the meadows, that provide nourishment for the goats, that produce the milk that makes the cheese. I get very happy when I am enjoying Fraga’s cheese.
Feeling inspired? Want to try your hand at market volunteering or just want to know more about what is involved? Find us every Sunday at the market information booth (Capitol Hwy entrance) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fat of The Land
Grass and Muscle
In the early 2000’s, I was not long out of my childhood home, still new to shopping and cooking on my own. I’d been a bona fide vegetarian for four years, a habit I picked up while working at a small-town food coop that sold sometimes ragged but always fresh organic vegetables.
In college, I started having dreams about meat—juicy hamburgers hovered in my subconscious until I couldn’t take it any more and at a campus-wide picnic my junior year I just walked up to the grill and held out my plate. Meat found its way back into my diet, but as journalists and documentarians unveiled suspicions of the commercial meat industry into the mainstream, my coop conditioning predisposed me to listen.
The narrative they carved has become well known to foodies and locavores. Industrial meat production (i.e. cheap meat) relies on a paradigm shift: feeding grain to animals with stomachs that evolved to digest grass. In order to keep the cattle from getting sick on a food source that could literally kill them, they are treated with antibiotics. Such operations keep costs down by packing the animals into lots where they mill around in their own excrement and eat grain (whose price is kept artificially low through government subsidies) all day long.
Such measures become necessary in a country where the average person consumes over 75 pounds of red meat each year (a statistic that is deflated by the inclusion of babies and non-meat-eating populations—the actual statistic for meat eating adults is likely much higher). As urban populations put continued pressure on available rangeland and its resources, industrial meat (especially beef) has become an increasingly bad bargain, calorically speaking. The patty of a quarter-pounder requires almost seven pounds of feed, putting to question (as many have) the logic of a system that ties up farmland to produce grain to feed an animal that must be medicated to eat it whose digestion of it does not increase its protein (or nutritional) value.
Enter: grass. Well, pasture, actually, a blend of grasses, broadleaved plants known as forbs, and cereal grains (in their vegetative state). It’s what our ruminant companions have evolved to eat, whose stomachs, unlike ours, can convert it into protein and fatty acids. Pasture-raised cows produce what many consider to be healthier meat, but it takes longer and comes in smaller yields per acre than grain-fed cows (however, the acreage per cow is not so small in grain-fed operations if you take into account the acreage required to grow their feed).
In the infancy of its renaissance, grass-fed beef had a reputation for being tough and gamey. Producers had to relearn the intricacies of raising beef on pasture; older breeds, better adapted to a grass diet, needed reinforcing; consumers, used to always-tender high-fat beef, needed educating. High-quality grass-fed beef is not as simple as access to plentiful pasture. It requires (as does all good agriculture) attention to the soil, to land management, to incorporating diversity into the farm’s system from the pasture-mix on up to the grazers.
Several production techniques greatly influence the quality of grass-fed beef: dialing in the right combination of forage species and cattle breeds for your region, leaving the cows on dense pasture until they have put on the requisite fat (a process that can take twice as long as a grain-fed cow), and allowing the slaughtered cow to age (a method called “dry aging” that allows naturally present enzymes to tenderize the muscles).
No other food has saturated our cuisine and cultural identity as much as cattle. From steak, hamburgers, and hot dogs to cowboys and country music, a prominent brand of American identity is intimately bound to cows. The statistics don’t lie—we like our beef. So much so we sometimes dream about it. Yet, during the first years of my return to carnivorism, the meat aisle was always a challenge.
The problem for me was price, my eyes darting back and forth between the words and the numbers, the label claims and the level of financial burden purchasing the claims I felt good about would bestow. There’s no way around it: good meat is expensive, ethical good meat even more so.
In the future, we may find a world less accommodating to cattle—with the possibilities of drought, farmland degradation, super-bacteria, and food shortages looming, our fixation on beef may have to eventually wane. Ranchers that have transitioned to pasture are doing the hard work of building sustainable systems that could navigate the challenges ahead. Supporting them means eating some of the best meat out there (though likely you’ll be eating less of it). It also means investing in the next phase of cow culture—one with a focus on longevity over quantity.
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.
MAC OPEN HOUSE
Friday, November 7
5:00pm to 8:15pm
Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy
Multnomah Arts Center is holding an Open House on First Friday in the Village. Events include an opening reception for the Instructors Show in the Gallery, Little Artists Preschool Open House and Village Vaudeville presented by the Performing Arts Department. Find out more 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).