Beaverton Farmers Market: Alternative Farming: Adapting to Changes in Weather
To Our Market Community,
To say that it has been a slow-growing season this year is an understatement. In many instances, the soil has been too wet and the weather too cold to get the next round of crops in the ground. While we have had a few strawberries here and there over the last few weeks, we are by no means ready to declare that strawberry season has arrived. At this time we are also waiting to get a status update on the cherry crop. April’s cold and snow was especially difficult for fruit trees. The ice and hail damaged blossoms and discouraged bees from flying and performing their very important pollination tasks.
While all of this is very distressing to those of us waiting to see our favorite fruits and veggies in our growers’ stalls, we understand that dealing with Mother Nature’s curveballs is part of farming. Farmers are an amazingly resilient bunch and always seem to take these setbacks in stride, however, they are anxious to have a couple of weeks of warm, dry weather to give their crops a boost.
Unripe Hood strawberries. Photo courtesy of Unger Farms.
One of the ways creative growers have found to thwart Mother Nature’s whims is to grow indoors and that is exactly what Michael Hagar from Le Petit Jardin does. Michael specializes in growing microgreens under carefully controlled conditions, using only the best seeds sourced in the USA. Premium quality soil and state-of-the-art watering systems work together to help Michael provide market-goers with fresh microgreens no matter the weather or time of the year.
Microgreens are essentially seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs such as arugula, beets, kale, basil, and cilantro. Unlike “sprouts” which are grown in water and prone to contamination from food-borne pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella, etc., microgreens are grown in soil. They take longer to grow than sprouts, typically one to three weeks. These tiny plants are loaded with nutrients, such as vitamin C, E, and K, lutein, and beta carotene, even more so than the mature leaves of the same plant.
Besides being a nutritional powerhouse, microgreens are used to add sweetness and spiciness to foods. Michael grows a wide variety of microgreens and has formulated several proprietary blends that range from spicy to mellow. He and his wife Tammy can assist you with selecting the microgreens most suited to your tastes.
To ensure that you get the freshest microgreens possible, Michael always harvests them within 24 hours of the opening bell.
We’d like to introduce you to another creative BFM grower – YoTee Telio of Salmon Creek Farm who is a second-generation hydroponic farmer. Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil, instead, they are grown in nutrient-dense water. This allows farmers to grow a huge variety of plants, indoors, all year round. Over the Winter season, Yo Tee has provided us with delicious tomatoes, cucumbers, and shallots. Like his father, YoTee is also a beekeeper. His bees fertilize his plants and make honey which YoTee harvests and brings to market. This ingenious system is a win-win for all involved.
So here is to the innovative grower and the unflappable spirit of all of those farmers having to cope with our Oregon Spring. We appreciate all you do to put fresh, delicious food on our tables.
The Beaverton Farmers Market
We will see you this Saturday at the Market from 8:30 AM-1:30 PM.
Caudiciforms: ‘A Living Sculpture’
One positive development of the pandemic is the growth of plant owners. What started as a simple curiosity with maybe a few snake plants and cacti has now blossomed into seeking out more rare plants, such as caudiciforms. A caudiciform is a plant with a swollen trunk, stem, or above-ground roots, called a caudex. The Oregonian recently featured a story on caudiciforms and PNW growers of this sculpture-like plant. Market vendor, NW Cactus & Succulents were featured along with other growers in the area. Visit with Deborah Elfberg of NW Cactus & Succulents to discuss all things caudiciforms.
Did you know that the market now has nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee and tea vendor? N2 Coffee and T is located near the bike racks on the SE side of the market. Owner, Miguel Garcia, whips up incredibly smooth and tasty drinks including a gorgeous blue horchata and an oat milk chai.
We welcome Woven Oats to the market this week. Owner Samantha Gross makes sweet and savory instant oatmeals. Her signature flavors are Strawberries and Cream, Plain Jane, and a Creamy Hazelnut and Mushroom Oat-sotto. She promises us that there are more flavors to come and we can’t wait!