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Farmers Markets

by: JAIME VALDEZ, A farmers market isn’t a summer-only affair at People’s Co-op, where 3-year-old Oscar Goodrich (left) gets ready for a fresh Fressen Bakery pretzel while Lee Kametani sorts through Jerusalem artichokes (below, left). Other fresh goods like Asian greens (below, middle) are available outside, and there’s more inside the market.

WEDNESDAY

People's Co-op Farmers Market

The wares at this small but high-quality market vary weekly depending on the weather, but during the holidays there usually are some special treats.

For example, Celtic Shepherd Creamery, producers of local, organic sheep's milk cheese, have been selling a distinctive orange ricotta cheesecake. Wingnut Confections offers vegan truffles with sparks of flavor from chilies and Earl Grey tea.

Other Oregon farms bring seasonal staples like heirloom pumpkins, all types of winter squash and hearty cold-weather greens. The potassium- and vitamin-rich vegetables are ideal for warding off colds and flu.

Of course, shoppers always can go inside the co-op for more local, organic groceries.

3029 S.E. 21st Ave., 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. year-round (store open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily), www .peoples.coop

SATURDAY

Portland Farmers Market

The last market of the season (this Saturday) is an ideal time to stock up for Christmas and Hanukkah with artisan breads, cheeses and chocolates, as well as squash, potatoes, beets and cranberries, all of which have a long shelf life.

For givers, the market is providing a gift basket and shipping service. Carolers and hot chocolate will spur the seasonal spirit and help take the chill off the weather.

This year's Chinook Book owners can bring their $5 off coupon before it expires, which is good for farmers market souvenirs like aprons and cloth shopping bags.

South Park Blocks near Portland State University, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 503-241-0032, www.portlandfarmersmarket.org

SUNDAY

Hillsdale Farmers Market

This market makes it easy to stock one's cupboard with locally grown produce year-round. It is open two Sundays a month in the colder seasons, but most of the hearty vegetables sold - like russet potatoes, celeriac, collard greens, Hubbard squash and Japanese turnips - last longer than their warm-weather counterparts.

There also is a hazelnut stand, featuring raw and roasted nuts. Besides being good snack food, they work well in baked goods like chocolate-chip cookies, as a crust for fish and produce, and in salads.

Many of the goodies are from Ayers Creek Farm, which marks its fourth year at the winter market with all organic, field-grown (rather than hothouse) vegetables, roots, herbs and greens.

Warm up with coffee and pastries, either from the market, or at Baker and Spice, a gourmet outlet a two-minute walk away (6330 S.W. Capitol Highway) for galettes, scones and bread puddings made with seasonal produce and nuts.

Behind Hillsdale Shopping Center, Southwest Sunset Boulevard and Capitol Highway, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, also Jan. 14, Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 11, March 25, April 15 and April 29, 503-475-6555, www.hillsdalefarmersmarket.com

DAILY

Vancouver Indoor Farmers Market

Not only is this Vancouver, Wash., market open year-round, it's open daily.

As winter approaches there are fewer fresh fruit and vegetable vendors, making room for more prepared foods, like jams, honey and chutney, fit for lining holiday tables.

Plenty of arts and crafts also are sold, and, because the market is indoors, shoppers can sit down with prepared food from local restaurants and eat breakfast or lunch on the spot.

It's a convenient way to get out of the house during Portland's drearier months and makes a good attraction for visitors.

Corner of West Eighth and Esther streets, Vancouver, Wash., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 1-360-737-8298, www.vancouverfarmersmarket.com

- Brooke Myers