This week our interns got a chance to get outside and spend a morning at the Saturday Portland State University Farmers’ Market.
The sun was shining as we converged at the information booth. It was all of our attending interns first time at this highly regarded farmers’ market. The goal for the day was to get our interns into market, exploring the produce and making connections with local food producers. How were we going to accomplish this? Through an old-fashioned scavenger hunt of course!
We handed our interns their scavenger hunts and off they went! Their first stop was to find five food carts, examine their menus, and find something that they would like to eat. With the plethora of options at this market, this presented harder than initially thought. However, our interns were able to find some great offerings and think about what they would eat, as well as providing inspiration for flavor combinations that they could use.
Another stop on their journey took them to a farm stand where they learned that raab are the leaves, buds, and flowering parts on cruciferous vegetables. Raab resembles broccoli tops and is the result when cruciferous vegetables go to flower. Our lesson here? When our food flowers, you can still eat it! Also, did you know that rapini is the Italian word for raab?
While speaking to a butcher who raises livestock, such as elk and yak, we learned about some of the health benefits that come along with eating yak. For instance, yak contains 35% more protein and 75% less fat than conventional beef. Though the interns seemed a little apprehensive, the butcher assured us that it tastes similar to beef and that a yak burger is delicious!
Walking around the farmers’ market, there was so much to see and new varieties of produce to try. Our interns got a chance to sample cold pressed juice and were even shocked by the flavor of wasabi arugula. Furthermore, our interns were able to speak with farmers, which was a special opportunity to make greater connections to the food they will cook with. Likewise, they saw the benefit in engaging with farmers, butchers, and other producers, as they were able to ask questions and figure out what they could cook with new foods.
As we wrapped up our scavenger hunt, which everyone completed successfully, we were able to reflect on the day’s activities. From fresh food to starts for their garden to eating delicious food from carts, there was something for everyone at the market. Everyone agreed that they would return to a farmers’ market and were excited to visit one closer to their homes.