July 5th, 2012 | by KIMBERLY HURSH Food & Drink | Posted In: Market Watch

Market Watch: Sample the Salad at Buckman

img_3987This shopper looks like she knows her way around a radish. - Kimberly Hursh

Your mom and Portland Farmers Market want you to eat your vegetables. But while your mom gave up on you years ago (maybe around the time you started partaking of that other leafy green), the PFM is still at it. Especially when it comes to first-time or infrequent shoppers.

It isn't difficult to spot these shoppers. They fearlessly navigate baked goods and cheese—stands that offer samples and sell products that don't need preparation—but watch a newbie at a vegetable stand and witness a market meltdown.

There's something intimidating about raw vegetables, especially the strange variety that tend to pop up at farmer's markets. Most novice shoppers don't know how to incorporate dill or dandelions into their dinner. They admire the nice display, maybe buy a carrot and move on. 

So the PSU Saturday market has scheduled chefs giving cooking demonstrations using ingredients available at the market. 

Farmers get it, too. Kale is scary. So, at the Buckman Farmers Market, Gathering Together Farm takes a cue from the butcher and baker and offers samples of their vegetables. On-site, their vendor throws a little olive oil together with the produce and herbs on hand, turning veggies into something that you might actually really want to eat.  

"People want to eat better, but they grew up in a generation where food came in pre-packages boxes," says John Eveland, one of the farm's owners. "They just have no clue about what to do with the vegetables, so we demonstrate how easy it is to cook these things and make them taste good." 

Eveland recognizes that people most often avoid the vegetables that they don't see in the grocery store. "I often offer [samples of] what's not moving," he says. "One time, I had a bunch of chicory, so I put it on the grill, threw some balsamic vinegar in there, stuck a toothpick in it and sold a whole pile of them."

Yet, Eveland will also offer samples of the staple veggies that the pre-packaged crowd only thinks they're familiar with, like cucumber and tomatoes. "People aren't used to what a fresh carrot straight from a farm tastes like compared to one that comes from California and has been sitting in a truck for days," he says.

So, that's it. With all that education out there, you really have no more excuses not to eat your vegetables. Your mother will be so proud.  

Location: Southeast 20th and Salmon between Belmont and Hawthorne, in the parking lot of Hinson Baptist Church. 

Time: 3 pm-7 pm. Thursdays, May 3 through Sept. 27. 

The crowd: Young east side families and a good collection of committed market veterans. 

Freshman sellers: Blackheart Bagels is in its inaugural year and looking to fill the void left by Kettleman's sell-out

Trending: Cherries and (speaking of odd vegetables) the over-sized fava bean, though its season is almost over.

Highlight: I went in search of Sol Pops, only to learn that the company has frozen its last ice pop. So, I settled with Scoop's Thai Chai Tea ice cream, which is, of course, not settling at all. 

Food carts on site: Zuppa, Casa de Tamale.

Dog friendly: Yes.

Parking: Free street parking is fairly easy to find. 

For more info, click here.

 
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