For speed and specialties, hit the city’s small farmers markets.
Saturday’s mondo market in the South Park Blocks at Portland State University and the nigh-simultaneous Beaverton behemoth are packed with varied delights, but they are events. Just park, run up, and grab something to take to a summer cookout or neighborhood block party? Um, nope. For that, find a more manageable market to be your regular go-to. Here are a few ideas:
On Saturdays in St. Johns, score landjäger from Greenville Farms, pick up some Swahili along with your greens from Happiness Family Farm, or snag a pack of Scratch Meats brats for the grill. Sunday’s Portland Farmers Market–affiliated King market is also conducive to fast finds—maybe a salty hunk of focaccia or a decadent fig-walnut loaf from the Tabor Bread stall—to get you on your way. (You can also linger with young shoppers on the school playground or have an impromptu picnic in the public King School Park.)
Also on Sunday, the Hillsdale market features knife sharpening and Oregon State University Master Gardener consultations in addition to a dozen-plus kinds of hummus from the Hummus Stop.
Any day of the week, a scenic drive to a self-serve farmstand can stock the crisper and restore faith in humanity. In the little red garage at Draper Farms at the edge of McMinnville, hand-written signs explain the honor system and ask anyone writing a check (a check!) for under $10 to please add 50 cents as a processing fee.