Saturday, November 22, 2008

Portland in the Fall.

I confess that last year I was too cold and depressed to really get out and see the city at this time of year, and that pretty much lasted until June when it finally stopped raining. My circumstances and spirits are much improved this year, and I have resolved to get out and do as much as possible this winter. Jeff has a break this week, and we wanted to start it off right with a fun day downtown.

Today was the last day for the Portland farmers market, and they were having some chef demos, music and other fun things happening. Man, it was THE place to be! It was packed with people, and even though it was really big it took a long time to get around. I love that Portland is surrounded by farmland, and there is incredibly fresh produce, beers and wines, cheeses, meats and seafood to choose from for a most of the year. This particular market is located in the park blocks amid PSU, and is really pretty.

I love the fall vegetable vegetable offerings-- everything is pretty funky looking, rather than sleek and shiny as it is in the summer. What we brought home: Jerusalem artichokes, chanterelles, turnips, celeriac, artichokes and a dried flower bouquet.

I am loving all of the fall foliage mixed in with the cement and brick buildings downtown.

After the farmers' market, we walked a ways to Pioneer Square, where they have a gigantic Christmas tree that they are literally trimming up and stringing lights on. Then on Friday they will "trim" it again with the ornaments and such. Amelia is newly aware of Christmas trees, and super excited about getting one. It was fun to go in search of The Giant Christmas Tree.

After we found the tree and checked out some smaller ones around it, the best part for Amelia was chasing all of the pigeons around the square.

It was pretty cold out, but we were so thankful that it never rained, and we actually had some blue skies-- that made the day that much nicer, and Portland that much more lovely!
We rounded out the day with a ride on the MAX light rail within the "free zone" to a cool toy store where we let Amelia get the ants out of her pants. I was pretty proud of us for having such a fun, full day out in the city in November. It may not seem like a stretch for many people, but at this point in my life, it seems very difficult-- yet I was pretty pleased that it was such a successfully enjoyable day and feel motivated to do it again and again this winter.


Anonymous said...

That sounds like a fun day! I have to admit, I wouldn't know what to do with most of your vegetable cache. :-( What do you do with all of the veggies beside the artichokes?
aunt G

Nathan said...

what a wonderful sounding day! I love when all the moods, weather, and timing perfectly align! :)


Bethany said...

Fun! I am glad you were able to get out. I definitely find it difficult to muster the energy to take kids out in the winter, so I am impressed! This year my goal is to get out every Friday for a "field trip!" I am sure most of them will be indoors, although yesterday we went to an unheated recycling facility and Man, was it COLD!!!

I also think it is pretty cool that you could still find a farmer's market 3 weeks into November. Ours have long been closed. We have tons of Jerusalem Artichokes in our yard. We made a really tasty soup last fall that I really loved until it kept me up all night. Some people react more strongly to the inulin which "can be rather gassy" according to the wikipedia article ;-) Hopefully, no one in your family will have such a reaction, because it sure tasted good! One of these days I might work up the nerve to build up a tolerance, but I don't want it to be unpleasant for my family... he, he!

kittylovingfool said...

We (market staff) love to hear that you enjoyed the Thanksgiving Feastival! That's why we do it. Although it was the last chef demonstration of the season WE ARE NOT YET DONE! The final market at PSU will be December 20th. You still have an entire month to shop local (in the cold).

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by, Amber! Good to know that the market will keep going for another month-- we will be taking advantage!

Anonymous said...

So glad your fall and winter are starting of well! Keep it up! Love Grandma

Unknown said...

Aunt Gretchen,
A little about the interesting vegetables. Celeriac is very similar to celery, and looks like it, but the root bulb grows very big and that's the part you eat. It has a similar texture to turnip, and you can saute it or put it in soups. I plan to put my turnips in soups as well. The Jerusalem artichokes are good steamed or baked, then mashed with butter-- like a less starch mashed potato, maybe. The chanterelle mushrooms I haven't decide what to do with yet, but I sampled a nice cream based mushroom soup at the market that used them. I may saute them with butter and add them to some brussel sprouts-- we'll see!