Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Return of the Butter Man

A lonely flower, struggling to push its way through the asphalt and greet the sun; an apt metaphor for the human condition, no? All right, all right, enough of that pretentious poetic crap... Today was the opening day of the Eastbank Farmers' Market, my neighborhood's arm of the behemoth that is the Portland Farmers' Market. And the vendors were out in full... well, partial force. It was lookin' a little thin, to be honest, but hey, it's the first day. Here's a shot of the eponymous Butter Man:

The Butter Man, aka Ken, is without a doubt the coolest guy at the market, to my mind anyway. Every week he holds down the fort at the Rogue Creamery stall, and does so with dignity and aplomb. The guy never complains, no matter the rain, the humidity, the madding crowds... He just keeps on dishing out the Oregonzola, the Pesto Cheese Curds and the best butter this side of Guernsey with a smile and a wry sense of humor. I'd have Ken as my wingman any day of the week. The guy is a class act. And while we're on the subject of class acts, here's a shot of Heather Hanselmann, of Blue Heron Herbary:

I used to work with Heather at REI, and she's... a character. A very good woman to have on your side, but you DON'T want to be the chip on her shoulder, trust me. She's every bit as tough as she looks. And from what I hear, she's got mad snowboard chops as well. Heather's family has been farming in Oregon since, I don't know, 1672? Or maybe 1972. A long while at any rate. The Hanselmanns' stock in trade is herb starts, and fine ones at that. Moving along, here's a shot of some lettuce and rosemary (I can't remember the vendor):

One of this year's most intriguing newcomers would have to be Solpops. These guys make the most interesting popsicles you'll ever taste. Their flagship product is the cucumber lime jalapeno pop. It's refreshing to be sure, with a little bit of a kick from the pepper, but still mild enough to enjoy on a hot summer afternoon. Here's a shot of the dudes of Solpops:

As I was strolling along, enjoying my popsicle, I ran into my old housemate Garett:

Sorry ladies, but he's married. Hey, I'm straight, and even I think the guy's hot... Garett's an interesting fella. We shared a house, for an all too brief time, with four other guys in deep southwest Portland, on the fringes of Tigard. We called the place Project 53 (it was on 53rd Avenue), and it was a monkey house to say the least. Good times were had and crazy stories were shared in that shack and its numerous outbuildings. Garett's a very talented musician (sponsored by Clif Bar no less), a troubador in the tradition of Tom Waits, or perhaps more accurately, fellow Michigan boy Greg Brown. He also heads up his own production company, which you can check out here.

So that was my day at the season's inauguration of the local market. If you live in Southeast, swing by next Thursday, or visit your own market and support your local farmer!

5 comments: said...

Ha. It's directly across the street from my house, and I mean directly.

I stopped by and got a pork & asparagus tamale. They are so bomb.

McAuliflower said...

good round up there!

I'm glad you reminded me about the solpop guys (who really need to fix their website). As I'm at the market early in the morn, I just heckled them instead of buying something. Next time...

tommy said...

Yeah, I'm glad the Eastbank market is finally up and going, and it should fill out a bit in the coming weeks. The Noris Dairy folks are also back. Gonna have to try one of those pork & asparagus tamales next week...

shuna fish lydon said...

i wish i lived there.
this is wondrous.
i sent it to my best friend who now lives there.
mmmmm popsicles.

tommy said...

What, ain't you guys got cucumber lime jalapeno popsicles in San Francisco?