Portland Farmers Market adds craft spirits to new lineup

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - New Deal owner and master distiller Tom Burkleaux adjusts a steam valve on his still, used for making gin and vodka. Artisan spirits from two craft distilleries are now part of the offerings at the eight Portland Farmers Markets this spring and summer. For the first time in Portland Farmers Market’s 23-year history, shoppers may sample artisan vodkas while perusing the heirloom tomatoes.

Two Portland craft distilleries will make their debut this weekend, March 22 and 23, at the Portland State University Farmers Market, on the South Park Blocks. House Spirits Distillery and New Deal Distillery are two of the 10 new vendors at the PSU market’s 2014 season, which kicked off March 15.

Including at Portland Farmers Market’s seven other markets — Shemanski Park (Saturday and Wednesday), Pioneer Courthouse Square, Buckman, Northwest, Kenton and King — there are 18 new vendors in all.

“I think it’s a big deal; it’s good to get out there with all the other artisan food and beverage businesses,” says Tom Mooney, co-owner of House Spirits, which was founded in 2004 on what is now known as Distillery Row. “If we could talk to 10 percent of the people that come through, that would be excellent.”

An Oregon Liquor Control Commission rule change two years ago allows distillers to sample their product and sell bottles in public spaces, similar to the way wineries operate off-site. When the rule change first happened, Mooney says, “people didn’t quite know how to use it.”

A trial run at the Beaverton Farmers Market last summer was successful, Mooney says.

This year Mooney and the other new vendors are excited to expand into Portland, surrounded by other artisan baked goods, meats, cheeses, seafood, seasonal produce and now booze.

Entry into the Portland Farmers Market is competitive since most vendors return year after year.

Still, the market admits 10 to 25 new vendors annually, according to market spokeswoman Mona Johnson.

The process starts when vendors submit interest forms throughout the year. Market staff screen them and invite a selected group to apply in January. This year the market invited 70 vendors to apply and received 50 applications.

Another screening process led to a final product jury panel of staff, volunteers, board members, peers, market vendors and other farmers market friends, who make the final cut.

The market gives preference to vendors from neighboring counties, but accepts vendors from across Oregon and Washington. Most of the latest crop of vendors hail from Portland and surrounding areas, but two are from Washington state.

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - House Spirits will sample its culinary spirits such as ginger liqueur made with fresh ginger root and gin with whole juniper berry to farmers market shoppers. A total of 18 new vendors are part of the new lineup. Ole World Oils, a four-year-old artisan company in Eastern Washington, about 60 miles southwest of Spokane, presses and bottles camelina oil, an ancient oilseed crop that is a cold-pressed, naturally raw product high in omega 3s and vitamin E. “We’ve heard that the PSU market was a very good market to sell your product and had hoped we would get in,” says co-owner Lynn Greenwalt.

Starvation Alley is an organic cranberry farm on Washington’s Long Beach peninusula, the first organic cranberry farm in Washington state and the closest organic cranberries to Portland.

Both Ole World and Starvation Alley come from a distance but offer “unique products that we feel are high quality, of interest to our shoppers and are not being represented by other vendors,” Johnson says.

Starvation Alley began selling their juice and berries at farmers markets in Seattle, then applied for the PSU and King farmers markets in February, expecting there wouldn’t be any room left.

They were accepted and have been selling at King’s Sunday market and the “shoulder seasons” at PSU. Their juice is freshly pressed and delivered to Seattle and Portland every other week, and in the fall they’ll add berries.

Fresh faces at market

Many of the vendors will rotate between PSU and the other markets. Check for details and locations.

Other new vendors include:

• Fairlight Farm — The Gaston company grows 33 varieties of heirloom apples. (

• Greenleaf Juicing Co. — The Portland company makes fresh-pressed organic fruit and vegetable juices. (

• Merry Meat Pie Co. — The Portland company makes a variety of meat pies.

• Minto Island Growers — The Salem company sells organic vegetables, blueberries and tea. (

• Mio’s Delectables — The Portland company makes hand-crafted pastries with a “French tradition and Japanese refined simplicity.” (

• Oregon Aqua — The Portland sustainable aquaculture farm raises Oregon White Leg Prawns without the use of GMO feed, hormones, antibiotics or chemical treatments.

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine