Farmer In The Dell


May 30, 2011 by David Gillaspie


You’ve noticed the explosion of local produce and perishables showing up in parking lots near you?

They’re called farmers markets.

Portland has one. 

So do other cities, but after the PSU campus/Portland Farmers Market, what else is there? 

Beaverton, but that’s later.

Where else but Portland do you see guys dragging their sleeping bags draped like capes and asking for coffee money.  All PSU alums know the drill.



PSU grad?

It happens around all college campuses.  They’re usually history majors lost in an era. 

Portland Farmers Market is more than an organic, free roaming, flower child, or a soup kitchen in the Haight.  It’s not some clan offering their love in the form of fresh salsa and smoked salmon.

The goods are there, but what stands out most?

The customers.

Watch carefully and you’ll see the ‘in the know’ expression passed between shoppers, between young moms raising their kids right and older couples counteracting decades of modern TV dinners on aluminum foil ‘plates.’

They’re both looking for the best food around.

The grown locally idea is very powerful, though sometimes off-track. 

What goes through your mind when you pass a restaurant that promotes local produce on their menu with dinners starting at thirty-five dollars?

From now on think farmers market.  They’re all about local produce.   

Safeway makes a difference, like Albertsons, though neither fill the gap left by Hagan’s when they open and close a store in the neighborhood. 

People cruising the farmers market have more in common than store shoppers.

They follow the markets and know the schedule.

They’re smart.

They like the outdoors, unafraid of parkas and rubber boots.

On a gray, wet Saturday morning, trucks rolled into Beaverton and set up the market.

A xylophone band played marimba music into the wind and rain that warmed the aisles.  There was no edifice of higher education on either side, like the Portland market, no canopy of ancient oak.

Not as many older people.

Instead of a slight incline, the Beaverton market lays flat with open spaces all around.  Not the claustrophobic canyons of downtown, none of the shadow.

A farmers market in the suburbs feels closer to the farms on their side of town instead of the hub that is Portland.  You’d more likely find Troutdale tomatoes in Portland than Beaverton, and the other way around.

With most visitors a trip out of a downtown core feels dicey, but a little homework and a train map makes for a rewarding day.

A Farmers Market does that for you, and more.

By David Gillaspie


2 thoughts on “Farmer In The Dell

  1. “It happens around all college campuses. They’re usually history majors lost in an era.”

    Let’s not be picking on the History majors now. We tend to run in packs… And get very snarky.

    • deegeesbb says:

      Okay, I’m a history major too, so lets blame psych majors for the bag draggers. Do you ever get the chronic student guy who just can’t seem to get off campus? At my school, the same place as the Farmers Market, it’s not a pretty picture. But it does add another element to the festivities.

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