Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Day's Work

The Farmers' Markets are in full swing in Portland now. Our summer starts on July 5th and the warm winds, long daylight hours, and bright mornings are very much in evidence in the size, color, and yield of this seasons fruit and vegetables. I always walk the perimeter of the downtown Farmer's Market first. Yesterday it was blueberry city. Native American fishermen had wild salmon from the Columbia River they had caught the previous day. Lots of onions, cauliflower, broccoli, and peppers. Strawberries, marionberries, raspberries, and cherries of all kinds completed the palate. Of course there are urban farmers who sow and reap in the concrete fields of the citiy offering chocolate, baked goods, breads, and wines as well.
People watching at a farmer's market is outstanding. On the Portland State campus, the visiting academics, Asian tourists, and our of towners are easy to spot. Sometimes all I have to do is close my eyes and listen. Since Portland is very dog friendly, a good many folks bring their best friends. A chunky woman with a huge Doberman was trying to fill a bag with red potatoes while her leashed companion lay his drooling head on a nearby pile of Yukon Golds. I moved on. Damned if my favorite berry farm didn't have the biggest blueberries (about the size of nickels) at a better price than most.
I always stop by the stall of an older man all the way from Joseph, in Eastern Oregon. He grows root crops, beets, turnips, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and the like. They are gnarly but colorful. As I approached the stall, I could hear the farmer, who is easily in his 70s telling a customer that he eats his potatoes a couple of times a day. Taking a dusty, deep brown potato off a nearby pile he reached for a knife.
"Are those Russets?" the woman asked. "Oh no, these are a German potato, like a gold," he said. Cutting the potato in half to reveal a yellow gold, creamy interior he continued," I cut some of these into my eggs every morning, then sprinkle some cheese over the top. You can go out and do a day's work after that."
I bought a few thinking potato salad. Wonder how much work I could get out of that?

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