By Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD
This Saturday, I woke up and realized that the downtown Portland Farmer’s Market has started up again. So I got dressed and headed downtown to see what the season has to offer. I first headed to The Smokery, where they sell the very best smoked salmon—it is not salty and yet so flavorful. My favorites are the maple wine and the ivory smoked salmon. One word of caution: If you get their smoked salmon, you might not be able to eat any other. It’s that good.
I’ve learned so much about food by attending the market. It has really encouraged me to step out of my vegetable comfort zone. You see so many delicious looking veggies that you may never have tried—pimentos d’padron, celeriac, dandelion greens, fava beans, glacier lettuce, and so on. If you don’t know what to do with it, ask the farmer. They always have ideas for how to prepare the produce they sell.
This week’s big pick for me was stinging nettles. I remembered a delicious gnocchi dish I had last year at Thistle in McMinnville and decided to recreate it. So I headed home with my bag of nettles and searched the Internet for a recipe that mimicked the dish I had last spring. I’ve never cooked with nettles but that didn’t stop me. I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Stinging Nettles and Parmesan Cream. Instead of making the gnocchi from scratch, I picked some up from Pastaworks. It was so delicious! My husband asked me to make it again. I’ll have to do it soon because nettles won’t be around that much longer.
If you go to the market regularly, you can’t help but learn what is in season because the foods available change from week to week. Going to the Farmer’s Market is an almost weekly ritual for me, especially in the summer. I usually ride my bike downtown, or take the bus to avoid having to find a place to park. I spend at least an hour walking around, tasting different goods from the vendors, listening to music, and enjoying the great city I happily choose to call home.
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Dana Sturtevant is a registered dietitian, certified yoga teacher, and self-proclaimed foodie. She especially enjoys blogging about mindfulness, yoga, Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size®, and the Slow Food Movement.