Wednesday, March 12, 2014
East Bayside along the Anderson St. thoroughfare of coffee roasters, breweries, distilleries and bakers got its ultimate validation on Saturday as a local hub for these up and coming businesses. That’s when the indoor farmer’s market debuted at the Urban Farm Fermentory complex.
The Urban Farm Fermentory building where the indoor winter farmer's market takes places on Saturdays
It was definitely the best version of our indoor market thus far, and Portlanders descended in droves. The confluence of venders was astounding, all of whom were happy to see eager crowds at their doorstep. That this will, in the months ahead, become the scene de rigeur on Saturday mornings is a certainty.
Here's the scene at the market around 9 AM; several hours later it was SRO
Simon Frost of 30-Acre Farm at his stand in the market where he sells elderberry syrup, organic vegetables and pasture-run pork
Jeff Burchstead of Buckwheat Blossom Farm, Wiscasset, where in addition to organic vegetables he sells eggs, pastured poultry, lamb and beef
While many of the farm vendors were familiar faces from past winter markets, new participants were everywhere. Notably, Pie Line had a table chock full of sweet and savory pies and pastries. Within an hour baker Briana Warner’s pie stash was nearly sold out: The savory turnovers were gone and a few pies remained when I stopped by again at 11:00 AM. What went quickly were the apple crumb, cranberry mascarpone , maple custard and chocolate stout pies.
At the Pie-Line booth the cranberry mascarpone and maple custard pies were sought after by shoppers
Warner was just starting to put our her savory hand pies, another favorite of her new fans; on the left is her apple pie but since the season is nearly over for local apples, Warner will be using pears instead and now offers a pear-cranberry version
Bomb Diggity Bakery is another addition to the indoor market lineup as well they should be. That’s because their actual place of business--the bakery--is installed at the Fermentory complex. So they set up their stand in front of their bake shop with their hearty whole wheat English muffins, breads and cookies.
Bomb Diggity's space in their bakery at the market displaying English muffins, cookies and breads
Bomb Diggity's cranberry-orange-almond cookies
In another room was a new vendor, The Good Shepherd’s Farm, from Bremen, Maine. They, too, are bakers of artisanal breads and sweets, and I picked up one of their sour dough loves, which easily elevated the tuna salad I spread on it at lunchtime.
In one of the side bays set up for vendors, Good Shepher's Farm sells their artisanal breads and pastries
At the back room is Urban Farm Fermentory’s space where all of their fermented ciders and komboucha were on display for tasting and sale. I sampled the carrot komboucha and ginger, and both were terrific. The Fementory’s aim is to promote related businesses to come to their complex as events in the future get planned.
Goranson Farm's booth with plenty of winter squash, potatoes, vegetables and pastured chickens
What’s in the offing is a Wednesday evening market, though the organizers have yet to make solid plans for it . What should also happen is to have a daytime Wednesday version iof the Monument Square marketplace, which deserves to be indoors during the cold months.
Farmer’s markets, though, are tricky business in Portland because their operation is governed by a set of arcane rules in a city charter so blithely written in the parlance of the absurd. My favorite line in the ordinance is: " It does not allow the sale of such items as rice crispy squares, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate fudge, or brownies, to name a few.”
Better watch out for those rice crispies!
Indoor winter market hours: Saturdays, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, 200 Anderson Street.
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.