The city of Portland is quite known to be a wonderful destination for travelers because it has a surfeit of attractions. People flock to the Rose City from all over the country in order to experience its gorgeous landscapes and abundant culture, as well as the world-renowned breweries and unique food selections. But one of the most notable features of Portland that no tourist should skip while visiting the city is its amazing farmer’s markets.
Many of these markets are open year-round but most really come alive during the spring and summer seasons, where there is an abundance of wonderfully fresh local produce that you can stock up on. In addition to the usual fruits and vegetables though, Portland’s farmer’s markets also feature local artisans that sell a variety of interesting products, like pastries, jams, pottery or gardening stuff, among many others.
Most Popular Farmers Markets in Portland
There are quite a few farmer’s markets located all over Portland. In fact, no matter what part of Portland you are staying, it’s likely that there’s at least one farmer’s market in your vicinity that is worth visiting. Here are some of the most popular ones that you might want to check out.
Portland State University Farmers Market
Of all the farmers markets in the city, the one at Portland State University is by far the biggest and possibly the most diverse when it comes to merchandise and entertainment options. It has been repeatedly acclaimed as one of the best farmers markets in the United States by reputable publications like Fodor’s, Cooking Light and The Daily Mail.
This market is open year round on Saturday mornings, which is why people also call it the Saturday market. It sets up at the South Park Blocks, in the area right between Montgomery and SW College. The market covers a wide expanse of grounds and can accommodate as many as 140 vendors.
With this many stalls, you can just imagine the diversity of foods, beverages and other products that you can buy at this market. Almost every stall will offer free samples of their goods too, and there is also live music to keep shoppers entertained.
Many of the participating vendors at these markets are known local farmers like Groundwork Organics and DeNoble Farms which both offer vegetables that are 100% organic and free of pesticides. You can also stock up on all sorts of juicy fruits like peaches, apples, pears and a wide variety of berries from Unger Farms, Maryhill Fruit Company, Kiyokawa Family Orchards and Baird Family Orchards.
If you get hungry while shopping, you don’t need to wait until you get home and cook your newly purchased ingredients. The farmers market also features a lot of local food shops where you can grab a delicious brunch and satisfy your taste buds. Some of the regular restaurants that you can find at the PSU farmers market are the Pine State Biscuits with its delicious sandwiches, the Enchanted Sun with its famous burritos, Tastebud with their wood-fired pizza, and Verde Cocina with their wide array of vegan-friendly and gluten-free selections.
Hollywood Farmers Market
Another popular farmers market that is open through all four seasons, the Hollywood Farmers Market is located on NE Hancock in the middle of the Hollywood district in Portland. It spans the area between 44th and 45th Avenues. Like the PSU market, this one also opens every Saturday. In addition to the large selection of fresh produce, the vendors in this farmers market also offer more unique items like cheeses, wines, and pure organic honey.
One of the features why patrons love the Hollywood Farmers Market is because they also offer plenty of entertainment options for children. While the parents are happily shopping for fruits, vegetables and whatnot, the children can have their own brand of fun as well. This makes this market a really nice family destination for Saturday mornings.
The Hollywood Farmers Market is also where the Neighborhood Gleaners operate. They are a local charity that goes around the markets in the area after it closes, taking unsold fruits and vegetables for distribution to seniors that cannot afford to buy their own fresh produce.
King Farmers Market
If the first two markets in our list are open on Saturdays, the King Farmers Market is one of the most popular Sunday markets in Portland. Located in the Alberta Arts District along with NE 7th and Wygant Streets, which is just a block south of Alberta Street, King Farmers Market opens from May 1 to Nov 20.
King Farmers Market is right next to King Elementary School and the King Park and Playground, so it is very family-friendly and perfectly safe for children. It might not be as large as the other farmer’s markets in Portland, with just 25 local farmers and artisans at the stalls, but you can be sure that the goods you can get are of the highest quality. Some of the popular vendors that you can expect to see this year are By George Farm for dairy products, Deck Family Farm for meats, Winters Farms and Red Truck Homestead for vegetables.
Keeping in line with the artsy vibe in the district, this market is known for holding educational activities and food preparation demos for both kids and adults. The King Farmers Markets was established in 2009 and is supported in part by the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods or NECN.
Milwaukie Farmers Market
If you are craving for delicious homemade jams or some fresh corn, or maybe you are looking to buy a unique piece of pottery to jazz up your home or to give as a present, then the Milwaukie Farmers Market is the perfect place for you to visit. This market sets up every Sunday from May to October and offers a plethora of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as prepared foods, plants, and cut flowers.
This market is located between SE Main and Harrison Streets and is very accessible by foot, by car or by bike. It is also very close to the MAX Orange Line. They started setting up in 1999 and had only 7 vendors. By now, the market has grown considerably, featuring more than 70 vendors selling a wide variety of goods. Nevertheless, there is still that same laidback and comfortable vibe that make the Milwaukie Farmers Market an event that both locals and tourists look forward to each week.
Shemanski Park Farmers Market
This farmers market is quite unique because instead of on the weekends, it opens in the middle of the week. This year, it will open on all Wednesdays from May to October 25 and once again on November 22. Shemanski Park Farmers Market is conveniently located at SW Park & Salmon.
They are right behind the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and very near the Pioneer Courthouse and many other office buildings. People working in these places can easily drop by the market for a delectable lunch, and then also pick up some of the city’s best produce to stock up their pantries.
The location of this market is a park with several shady trees, making it very comfortable for shoppers to go around as they shop for food products and taste the samples. If you find yourself in this market, don’t leave without trying out goat’s milk cheese at Briar Rose Creamery, which is well-loved all over Portland.
Important Things to Know before Going to Portland’s Farmers Markets
A trip to any of the farmers markets in Portland is sure to be an exciting and mouth-watering experience. If you are a veteran shopper at farmers markets, then your trip would probably be a breeze. But if you have never gone to a farmer’s market before, there are a few important things that you should know so that you can make the most out of the experience.
First of all, you shouldn’t expect to see perfect produce. You know the kind – perfectly shaped apples, potatoes with smooth surfaces, incredibly large and fluffy leaves – just like those you can see at the big supermarkets. The products at farmers markets come directly from the farm and onto the stalls. They may not always look pretty but they are completely organic.
You will also be pleased to know that most goods that you can buy at farmers’ markets are very cheap. In fact, studies show that you can save as much as 25% by buying your produce at farmers’ markets rather than grocery stores. However, some of the vendors might not accept credit cards so make sure to bring cash.
If you expect to do a lot of shopping, be sure to bring a reusable bag with you. It is also advisable to wear a comfortable pair of shoes and light clothing, especially if you are going in the summer. Although there will probably be plenty of beverage stalls around, you might also want to bring a bottle of water with you in case it gets hot.
Portland’s farmers market season is just around the corner. There’s bound to be a lot of seasonal produce and other food products to enjoy. Whichever market you choose to visit, take the time to talk to the farmers, taste the samples and enjoy the entire experience.
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Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele.