Do you love going to a farmers market on the weekend? It’s fun to see what’s fresh and in season. And often there will be food trucks there as well for takeout. You probably will have worked up an appetite walking the stalls.
But did you know that there are farmers’ markets open during the week too? So depending on the time of year, you could hit at least three in one week, buying only what you need for a few days. Imagine juicing with the freshest foods that are in season?
Your body will thank you with awesome health.
What Are Farmers Markets
Just in case you’re new to the scene, a farmers market is a physical place where local farmers and crafters set up at least once a week to sell their products directly to you. You can talk to the producers and find out how things were grown, and what is at its peak today.
You can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the growers. You can even make special requests. Let’s say you wanted a package of your favorite greens, vegetables, and fruits each week, and they know you’ll buy from them. They may have it ready for you when you show up. And you may have given them a great idea for selling their produce – prepackaged juicing.
Farmers’ markets also have meat and fish as well as cheese, raw milk, and butter. Some vendors may sell nuts and dried fruits. There is usually at least one vendor selling baked goods. What makes the market fun is there are often entertainers playing music or putting on a show.
Tips for Shopping at a Farmers Market
To have the best experience, here are our favorite tips.
Walk through the whole market first before buying. You’ll be able to see who is selling what and for how much, so you can plan your budget accordingly. Also, look for an information booth. You can learn a lot about the market, and sign up for an email newsletter at a lot of the markets.
Many vendors are going high-tech using card readers like PayPal and Stripe or scanning QR codes like Venmo. Some still are cash only, so take out enough cash to cover your budget, plus a little extra in case you find a fun treat. You can help the vendors by bringing a mix of bills. Some vendors accept SNAP and other vouchers. Don’t wait to arrive before you get cash, as there aren’t ATMs at most of the markets.
The rule of thumb about when to go is pretty simple. Go early for the best selection. Go later for the best deals.
The markets are usually less crowded when they open. Some people even show up to shop before the market is officially open. Be polite when trying to buy before the official opening time so the vendors can finish setting up.
And for the last hour of the market, the vendors will often discount products, so they don’t have to load stuff back up. Some markets prohibit this, so know the rules of your particular market.
Speaking of the rules, most farmers’ markets do not allow pets in the shopping area. This is considered a health department regulation. So if you bring Pansy, make sure you have someone else who can keep her along the outside if the rules do prohibit pets from walking along the aisles.
While vendors often have bags, they’re plastic. So bring some reusable market bags with you. Having ones with handles makes it a lot easier if you’re stocking up. Some people have wheeled carts and wagons (especially if there are small children involved). If you use one, please be mindful of the other shoppers. Don’t block areas for very long.
The more often you go, the more you’ll learn about what is in season, and will be the best tasting as well as the most nutritious. It will also be the least expensive. Spend some time online or with some fun books planning meals around what’s in season. Then buy what you need from the vendors.
Some of the vegetables will look different from the supermarket, and that’s great for you. At the farmers market, you’re buying the whole vegetable like carrots and beets with their tops on. This allows you to get two dishes out of one purchase. Carrot tops can make a terrific pesto, and beet greens are delicious sauteed with a spritz of lemon.
Markets are open regardless of the weather. And you know how we can get weather. So if it looks like rain, just bundle up and go down anyway. The farmers could use your support.
Finally, not every farmer’s market provides facilities. So you’ll want to do some research before heading out.
Best Farmers Markets In Portland
Now for the fun part! Let’s look at where and when you can go shopping around Portland.
Portland Farmers Market
We have to start with the largest and probably the oldest farmers’ market. The Portland Farmers Market has five open markets.
The largest is at Portland State University. They’re open Saturdays year-round from 8:30 am – 2 pm. From November until March, they open at 9 am. It’s located at 1717 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97201. They have over fifty vendors offering baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee and tea, flowers, and food vendors. You can get breakfast and enjoy it while checking out what you’ll make the rest of the week and can pick up something for lunch or dinner.
On Sunday, there are two farmers’ markets open. Lents International is at SE 92nd and Reedway and is open June-November. Their hours are 9 am – 2 pm. And King is on NE 7th & Wygant. They’re open Sundays, May through November. The King farmers market is open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
If it’s Wednesday and you’re craving some fun, you have two options. Shemanski Park is located at SW Park and Main. They’re open May through October, and the hours are 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Kenton is located at N Denver and McClellan. They’re open from June until September, and their hours are 3 – 7 p.m.
People felt that the Kings market was smaller compared to the others, but they had more options for people with dietary considerations. For example, one vendor sells vegan ice cream.
You can call at (503) 241-0032 or find out more information about all of these markets at their website: portlandfarmersmarket.org/
Hillsdale Farmers Market
If you’d like a nice variety without feeling overwhelmed by crowds, you may want to check out Hillsdale. There are over fifty local farmers and food artisans offering seasonal fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses, honey, baked goods, and prepared foods.
There is easy parking over by Mary Rieke School with a short walk up to the marketplace.
The market is Sunday from 9 am until 1 pm from the first Sunday in May through the Sunday before Thanksgiving in November. Then it goes down to twice a month, December through April.
It’s located at SW Sunset Blvd and SW Capitol Hwy in Portland, OR 97239
You can call at (503) 475-6555 and find out more information at hillsdalefarmersmarket.com
Lake Oswego Farmers Market
This is a very family-friendly farmers’ market. They have a Farm Fresh Kids program. And if you like gardening, they provide nursery stock. Plus you can bring home a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers along with your market goodies.
There are food vendors as well as bread, eggs, baked goods, and more. You can view the “Virtual Marketplace” on their website to see who will be at the market.
While there is an underground lot off of A Avenue, most people prefer to park a block or two away and just walk in to avoid the congestion.
The market is open Saturdays from 8:30am – 1:30pm May through October.
It’s located at the Millennium Plaza Park 200 First Street, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
You can call (503) 675-3983
And you can get more information at https://ci.oswego.or.us/lofm
Beaverton Farmers Market
Beaverton farmers market is another long-established market dating back to 1988. It’s geared more toward families and home gardeners. There is a great variety of local produce, local wine and cider, flowers, and more. There are also food vendors if you want to get a meal.
The downside of this market is the parking. During the summer months, the parking fills up very quickly. Their website recommends using rideshare services.
The Summer Market is open Saturday from 9 am – 1:30 pm May through September. The Fall Market is open from October through November 9 am – 1:30 pm. And their Winter Market is from February through April 10 am – 1:30 pm.
It’s located at 12455 SW 5th St, Beaverton, OR 97075
For more information, check out beavertonfarmersmarket.com
One final tip is to buy only what you can eat or preserve in the next few days since the food is so fresh. Since we have so many options, you may wish to go to a few different farmers’ markets each week. And treat yourself to something fun and new.
If you’re looking for something to do after visiting a Farmer’s Market, check out one of Portland’s Best Wineries.
For tips on shopping at a Farmers Market, this video is great: