This time of year, many of us are slowly emerging from a haze of holiday parties and gloriously guilty indulgence. We've frolicked through a few weeks enjoying fudge, cheesecake, eggnog and other treats that don't pass our lips so often at other times of the year. We may even have bravely stumbled onto the bathroom scale this new year – and likely scowled at the results.
An excellent way to chase away the post-holiday downer (or upper, in terms of the numbers on the scale) is to head out to one of the winter farmers' markets. A choice few have opened up again for the winter months, with limited (and civilized) hours. The benefits of a trip to the winter farmers' market are great: practically everything you'll see is a super food. Well, that's not including the year-round pastries and cookies, but the winter market is a colorful way to get you inspired and come down off that sugar or fat-filled holiday high.
In contrast to the summer markets, the winter farmers' market is refreshingly calm and not overcrowded. And on a dingy dark day, when 1 p.m. feels like 5, being surrounded by richly hued squashes, apples, greens and other colorful edibles is a welcome relief. For a visual sampler of what's in season now at the winter farmers' markets, take the slide show tour. Be prepared: you will see carrots that look like they are tie-dyed purple.
There is a hearty handful of marketers who persist through the winter. The centrally located Portland Farmers Market is held Saturdays 10 am-2pm at Shemanski Park (the north end of the South Park Blocks). Outside of downtown, the westside is covered by the Hillsdale Farmers Market held in winter (every other Sunday through the end of April, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; next date: January 20, 2013). Southeasters should check out the People's Co-op Farmers' Market Wednesdays, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. all year round. And Northeast quadrant dwellers are served by the Hollywood Farmers Market, held the first and third Saturdays of each month through April (9 a.m.-1 p.m.).
Special note to people who pay attention to punctuation: the folks at the Portland and Hollywood markets choose not to use an apostrophe after their farmers, in contrast to the Hillsdale and People's Co-op marketers... definitely one of the trickier punctuation situations of our era; just sayin'.