Farmer' Markets

We are on a family vacation for the first time in (we have calculated) six years. We've taken various trips and excursions in partial family assemblies, and we all got together for twenty-four hours at Katie's house in July, but we haven't taken an actual Rest and Recreate Vacation.

I even now hesitate to call it a Family Vacation since the whole family is not intact with Katie and hers not attending. But I have finally accepted that those kinds of vacations are not only rare but may become extinct. No one warned us in the beginning that if we had a passel of kids (we only have seven remember) the day would come when they would become adults and at that time it would be a near impossibility to gather everyone together as we did when they were children.

So we are minus one of the seven on our family vacation. The attending members have showed up in groups. I brought the youngest three kids with me on the drive to the ocean coast of Oregon. Since I had to drive through the big city of Portland I had the bright idea of checking out a big city farmer's market on the way. The problem with that is I had to deviate from the careful highway route through the city to get to the market. I had no problem getting to the market but getting back on the highway was a heinous nightmare.

First of all it was 6:00 p.m. Secondly it was Portland, Oregon. In my opinion Portland holds the distinction of having the absolute worst highway system ever. It is a tangle of bridges and freeways that were designed using the crayon scribbles of a two year old as a blueprint by someone high on amphetamines. Making it worse, there is a lack of informative signage so that even Google maps gets confused by Portland.

I've lived here sixteen years and I still waste countless hours of my life lost in Portland.

But! The farmer's market was lovely.

Portland does love its good food and organic conscientiousness (Look! That's a real word!)

I wanted to get some lucious peak-of-summer tomatoes for my vacation caprese salad and sandwiches since my own garden is not producing them.

Oh the variety of a big city farmer's market!

We sampled an orange colored watermelon.

And I swooned over the baked goods.

We had to try some of the carmelized onion rye bread.

And I bought one of these spinach boerek- divine!

The kids also twisted my arm to buy one of these cinnamon bread for our vacation breakfast. They twisted it really really hard. Ow. It still hurts. This convection was also divine.

And since this is the hip city of Portland the offerings included the unique like these:

Not your average grocery store popsicles.

I won't describe the highway nightmare that followed this farmer's market stop. Suffice it to say that my vacation did not start with a stress-free scenic drive to the ocean.

But we made it.

The evening of our first full day here, Mr. Dirtywrench and I were strolling the little beach town where we are staying. We took up a space on a charming little bench outside a quaint little tourist shop to relax and chat (something we don't have time to do on our home territory). We noticed that nearly every tourist who walked by us was carrying a bag of fresh produce. Tomatoes, corn on the cob, zucchini, and I even saw a pie go by. We ventured up the street one more block and...

...we discovered that our little beach town also has a farmer's market!

Don't ya just love Oregon?

This farmer's market actually seemed bigger and more diverse then the one in the big city!
It was also much, much more crowded with people making their purchases.

Because I am a baker and I absolutely cannot resist sampling baked goods, I bought one thing.

I was attracted by it's surprising similarity to the Amish pies I encountered in Michigan. I was intrigued by the baker's description of their family method handed down by his wife's grandmother who also came from Amish country in Ohio.

It tasted exactly like the Amish pies too. Terrible. No one here would eat it and we threw it away.

Are Americans losing the ability to make good pie? Do we no longer know what good pie is? When a company marketing pie to the public can't make it right, who can?

My town has a little farmer's market too. I have an idea out!