Have you ever walked in to a farmers market and just breathed in the aroma of fresh fruits and vegetables because it filled the air? Well, I hadn’t. I live in Kansas, and you’d think for being an agricultural state we’d have world-class farmers market. But where I live, calling our little Saturday markets a farmers market would be generous.
I went on vacation over Labor Day to Portland, Oregon. The trip was a first for me and I just soaked up the cool vibes, cool weather, and cool people. I also reveled in their amazing Saturday morning farmers market on the Portland State University campus. If our itinerary hadn’t already been jam-packed for that day I really could have spent hours there.
The biggest, brightest bell peppers I’d ever seen were stacked in mounds almost as tall as I am. Baskets overflowing with ripe peaches poured out across tables. Green beans, broccoli, artichokes, and potatoes were plentiful. You name it, it was there. The average variety of fresh produce, but of quality far better than I can find anywhere at home, was found in booth after booth. As well, booths full of fresh seafood brought in from the coast, farm-raised eggs, and humanely raised beef and chicken were available. There were booths with gluten-free offerings, some of the most stunning flowers I’ve ever seen, and a few selling honey from the Mt. Hood slopes.
I stopped and enjoyed the music played by a man and his toddler son on didgeridoos. I bought a ridiculously over-sized giraffe balloon animal for my niece. I snacked on a basket of the best-tasting raspberries I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
I basked in the entire experience that morning so much that I’ll never miss a farmers market on vacation again. It truly is a wonderful way to experience a city, get a little exercise by walking or biking, and be a part of its culture first-hand. Plus, my go-to vacation souvenir is a bottle of honey, and there’s no better place to find local honey than at a farmers market.
When planning your next vacation, especially in these first weeks of fall, leave some time on Saturday morning to visit the farmers market. If you’re renting a vacation house, you’ll really love picking up groceries for your stay in the freshest place possible.
Photo by Brandi Koskie