Friday, July 30, 2010

Recipe: Tagliarini with Pancetta, Sweet Onions, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach & Ricotta

Paul Losch, chef at Vino Paradiso, graces our events stage Sunday morning with a pasta-making tutorial and a recipe for a delicious, seasonal sauce of market ingredients. Sweet onions, ripe tomatoes, fresh spinach, pancetta and homemade ricotta. There is a lot to learn and Paul graciously dishes it out during his culinary demonstration. 10:30-11:30 am.

Here's a recipe teaser to get you excited about the demo (jeez, is anyone hungry for lunch yet?):
Tagliarini with Pancetta, Sweet Onions, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach & Ricotta
by Paul Losch, Vino Paradiso

**Note: This is going to sound really tricky.. it is not! Making pasta from scratch is an extremely fun and rewarding at home project, and pretty easy once you get the hang of it. You probably won’t make perfect pasta the first time, that’s fine, just have fun with it. I have included all the little tricks I can think of. Remember to feel the dough.. it’ll help each time!

00 Durham Wheat Flour or All-Purpose Flour 9oz
Semolina Flour 2oz
Whole Eggs 6oz

1) Set up a clean counter or table top to work on. I prefer a wooden countertop, but any smooth surface with room enough to knead a small amount of dough, and also roll and cut the dough after it rests, will do.
2) Mix your flours together and form into a mound on the countertop. Make a well in the center.
3) Add your eggs into the well and begin mixing to the dry with a fork.
4) As the eggs absorb, lose the fork and begin mixing and kneading by hand. Knead for approximately 8 minutes. The dough may seem a little dry, but if all the flour is incorporated and it’s not crumbling apart, it is ok. If it does appear to dry, add water by the drop! Pasta dough is pretty touchy, and until you get the hang of it, you’ll always want to make it too wet.
If your dough feels tacky and moist, dust with flour and continue to knead.
Do your best to not overwork the dough, adjustments can be made when rolling
5) When you think you’ve got the dough right, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 30 minutes. If you want to make the dough ahead of time, and roll it and cut it later, here is where you would throw it in the fridge.. just leave yourself about 1hr for the dough to soften when you take it out of the fridge.
6) Set up your pasta roller. If you are using the hand crank, make sure it’s clamped securely to the counter top! Kitchen Aid attachments and electric rollers will work, too.
7) After 30 minutes is up, cut the dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half down until it will just fit in the widest setting on the pasta machine, adding flour or sprays of water if needed. Try to keep the dough narrower than the width of the rollers.
8) Pass the dough through the rollers one time. If it’s really wonky and out of shape, fold the dough on itself into a rectangle about 1/2” narrower than the rollers. Roll down again to just thicker than the rollers. You should have a pretty close rectangle now. Continue rolling the dough until it is slightly thinner than what fettucine noodles are. Cut into lengths about 12” and set aside, Dust with flour and overlap them on the counter.
9) Repeat with the second half.
10) If you have the cutter attachment, pass the sheets through the wide cutter. As the noodles come out, dust w/ flour(semolina is best) and place on a sheet pan.
For our purposes, we’ll be using the noodles right away, so they can stay out on the counter.
You can also form the noodles into nests, place them on a flat dish and put them in the freezer. Once
they have frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag or storage container and freeze for up to a month.
11) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while preparing the sauce.
12) Cook the noodles just before they are added to the sauce, fresh pasta will only take about 2 minutes to cook.

Olive Oil 2 Tb
Pancetta or Bacon 1/4 LB
Walla Walla Onion, sliced 1 ea
Large Heirloom Tomato, cut into large chunks 2 ea
Spinach, cleaned and stemmed 1/4 LB
Fresh Herbs(chives, oregano, thyme, etc) 2 Tb
Chicken Stock 2 C
Veg Stock 2 C
Butter 2 Tb
Ricotta 1/4 C

1) Heat a large saucepan over med heat with the olive oil & pancetta.
2) Before the pancetta is completely crisp, add the onions. Saute the onions to golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.
3) Add the tomato & herbs, saute until the tomato softens, approximately 2 minutes.
4) Add the stock and turn flame to medium-high. Let sauce reduce by half.
5) Stir in butter and turn off heat.
6) Toss in noodles and spinach until spinach is wilted and noodles have absorbed some sauce.
7) Serve and top with a spoonfull of fresh ricotta.

Fresh Ricotta
Whole Milk 1/2 Gal
Lemon, Juiced 1 ea

1) Combine in a non-reactive sauce pot over low heat.
2) Stir occasionally, making sure to keep the bottom clean... I find a rubber spatula works best.
3) After about 30 minutes, you should notice the milk beginning to separate. Continue stirring constantly until you see curds forming.
4) Strain through cheescloth. A clean t-shirt or napkin will also work.
5) Allow to drain until creamy.

*For a softer curd, strain before the curds have completely separated, or add in a little whole milk after straining.

Friday, July 23, 2010

1,220 plates and 1,428 forks in 6 weeks

Durable Dish is a resounding success.
Last Sunday, July 18, we blasted away our previous record for dish use! I don't know why the counts were so much higher, but we used 274 plates (vs. the previous high of 213 set three weeks ago). It started off as a pilot project with grant support from the City of Portland Office of Planning and Sustainability and has become quite the popular fixture of the market. Compostable plates are good but, reusable plates are even better.

We had tremendous volunteer help to make sure all those dishes got "processed"--Kurt helping with set-up and manning the station in the morning; Quinn Taylor, who has agreed to come on board to manage the DD program with me; Audrey & Dagmar who manned the station while I was off site at Thatchers twice to wash dishes during the super busy 11:30-1:30 window; Frank and one of the JOIN volunteers, Corey, who helped w/ tear-down and jumped in to haul that final load of dishes to Thatchers after market & quickly get them all washed! THANK YOU! Such teamwork & enthusiasm makes DD feel so vibrant & viable!

Here are the full numbers from Sunday.

July 18:
Plates used: 274
Forks: 321
Tumblers: 23

Cumulative Usage thru July 18 (six market weeks), ie the number of plates, forks and cups that did not end up in the trash because of Durable Dish:
Plates used: 1,220
Forks: 1,428
Tumblers: 133

-Kristin, MFM Recycling Czar

Eggplant Rollatini w/ Fresh Tomato Sauce

The battle between young kids and vegetables is familiar to many parents. My three year old son frequently turns up his nose at the broccoli on his plate. But this Spring we planted a vegetable garden for the first time. Now, I’m thrilled to see him pluck a snap pea from the vine and eat it with delight. He has such pride over the garden, as he patiently waits for ‘his’ blueberries and strawberries to ripen. Gathering greens for a salad or snapping green beans for dinner has become a fun activity for us to do together, and gets him excited to eat healthy foods.

The Montavilla Farmers Market has also expanded his appetite for fruits and vegetables. Whether it’s a bunch of carrots from Groundwork Organics, or some delectable peaches from Baird Family Orchards, he feels a connection to the food he selects at the market. He’s learning about where his food comes from, and his own experience growing veggies at home gives him a better understanding of what it takes to be a farmer.

On top of that, the market is just plain fun. Kids run around with their friends from the neighborhood, groove to great tunes, and sample fresh treats. I love counting the number of kids dressed as their favorite super hero or fairy princess. Next time you’re at the market with your kids, stop by the Info Booth and pick up an Edgy Veggie coloring sheet. On one side you’ll find a playful picture for your budding artist to color, and on the back, a healthy recipe from our Resident Chef Kathryn Yeomans, like this one for Eggplant Rollatini, to inspire kids to enjoy their veggies.

-Laura, guest blogger

Eggplant Rollatini with Fresh Tomato Sauce
makes about 6-8 rollatini
“Rollatini” are little filled roll-ups made with eggplant. These eggplant roll-
ups, stuffed with ricotta cheese and fresh basil, are fun to dip into the tomato
sauce. Once the eggplant has been grilled, kids can fill and roll the eggplant slices
themselves. You can make this basic recipe, or experiment with other filling
ingredients – try adding chopped cooked spinach, pine nuts, or dried currants,
other herbs or cheeses. Eat them for lunch, or as a supper vegetable dish.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 small eggplant, about 8 ounces, peeled and cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, separated, plus more for brushing eggplants
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
(or Parmigiano Reggiano, or Asiago, or ricotta salata)
1 cup cored, peeled, and seeded vine-ripened tomatoes
Spoon the ricotta into a fine-mesh sieve or colander lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Set the sieve over a bowl and wrap the ricotta with plastic wrap. Set the bowl and sieve in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 24 hours. Discard the liquid that accumulates in the bowl.
Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season them with salt. Grill them over a bed of hot coals until they are tender and lightly browned. They should not be mushy. Line up the grilled eggplant slices on a baking sheet.
Make the filling. Combine the drained ricotta, chopped basil leaves, and grated cheese. Stir in 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Make the tomato sauce. Place the prepared tomatoes in a blender or food processor and blend or process until pureed. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream and blend until smooth. Pass the mixture through
a sieve and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place a dollop of filling at the widest end of the eggplant slice. Beginning at the end with the filling, roll up the filling into the eggplant slice. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Serve with tomato sauce for dipping
recipe by
Montavilla Farmers Market Resident Chef
Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Harvest Dinner celebrates Stark Street business community

Have you always wondered what desserts Pastry Girl has to offer? Wondered what delicious drinks are available at the Observatory Lounge? On August 28, 2010, you will have the chance to enjoy all of this and more at the third annual Montavilla Farmers Market Harvest Dinner.

Over the past few years, the Montavilla neighborhood has developed into a small hub with great food, small businesses, and a sense of community. This year, the Montavilla Farmers Market is pleased to announce that it will be showcasing everything the neighborhood has to offer in just one evening.

In addition to Pastry Girl and the Observatory Lounge, the Bipartisan Café, Bangkok Bites and the Country Cat will also be participating. We are excited to announce the inclusion of vegan/vegetarian options provided by Kitchen Dances for this year’s dinner. Of course there will be wine to go along with all of the delicious food (check out Red White Green – all their wines for this evening will be vegan!)

Don't forget to arrive at 5:30 so you can check out all of the silent auction items that will be available. This year's auction is being put together by the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association.

If you have not joined us in the past, get ready to have some fun with the Montavilla neighborhood as we groove to some tunes and sample everything that our wonderful neighborhood as to offer!

Tickets are $60 and includes a five course meal with fine amazing wines. Tickets will be available at the Bipartisan Cafè, Country Cat, the information booth at the Market! Visit our website for more information.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why you should buy coffee beans when it's 96 degrees

When it gets hot like it was yesterday, I often like to do my errands by bike. It may seem counterintuitive, but the faster you go, the more breeze you get, the cooler you feel. Until you stop of course and the sweat builds. Fortunately, one of my stops was at New Seasons. As I walked by the customer service counter where they put out samples of weekly specials, I came across exactly what I needed - The Cachoeira Iced Coffee- pronounced kuh-SHWAY-duh in Portuguese. Then I saw that it was a recipe from Nossa Familia, the folks that serve you delicious coffee (and whole coffee beans) every Sunday at the market and I knew I should post this recipe on our market blog. I love my coffee and this is just the answer I was looking for when wondering how I would satisfy the need when it's hotter than I would care for outside.

The Cachoeira
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 3/4 c ground coffee beans (Nossa's Camila's recommended)
8-10 c water
1/3 - 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (oh, no wonder it's so tasty!!)
sugar to taste (optional)
Mix cardamom with coffee before brewing. Brew coffee in automatic coffee maker. Once coffee is brewed, add sweetened condensed milk. Stir mix well and taste. Chill until cold in the refrigerator. Serve on ice.
recipe courtesy of Nossa Familia

Buy your whole beans today from the market. Brew one of these up this week when it's just a little too warm for hot coffee or it's after dinner and you need a liquid dessert.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vendor Profile: Greenthumb Garlic

Garlic is a kitchen staple for me. Aside from the health claims that it's good for curing colds, acts as an antiseptic and many other uses in herbal medicines, it adds great flavor and depth to almost any dish. I put a clove or two in virtually every vegetable saute that I make, whether a morning egg scramble, part of the base of a soup, a quick saute of greens with dinner. It's also a farm productthat a lot of people don't realize has as many varieties and flavor profiles as any other plant like basil or beans. Our regular supermarkets often only have one pile of white-papery skinned bulbs to grab from mindlessly as we walk by on our way to more "interesting" items. Ah, but here is one benefit to shopping at a farmers market.
Greenthumb Garlic grows 10 cultivars of garlic as well as scapes and green garlic. Their website lists the varieties and profiles of each. So branch out a little and sample some new garlic this weekend.

And if you love
garlic as much as I do, maybe you want to check out the Worlds 13th Annual Garlic Festival in North Plains Augu
st 6th - 8th. Anyone up for garlic ice cream?


Rowan and Katie here with Greenthumb Garlic. We're excited that you're doing the MFM blog and we look forward to reading about all the other great vendors who will be at the market.
The following are our answers to your questions:

1) What types of products do you specialize in?
We grow a diversity of garlic cultivars, emphasizing a gourmet, high-quality product.

2) What are your biggest challenges in operating a farm/business? And what makes it all worth it?
Biggest challenge is to balance Greenthumb Garlic with everything else in our lives. Katie is also a full-time farmer at one of Portland's most prominent CSAs - 47th Ave. Farm. Rowan is an Urban and Regional Planning graduate student at PSU examining sustainable regional food systems. He also interns at the Bureau of Environmental Services helping to manage a grant program for community directed watershed improvements.

What makes it all worth while is the benefits of an agriculture-based lifestyle: good food, strong community, physical activity, and a relationship with the land and natural processes.

3) What food policy issues do you think are critical to the future of agriculture in Oregon?
Lowering the barriers for new farmers. In particular, creating an incubator program to help bridge the gap between apprenticeship and stewardship (I'm actually researching this right now and have lots of ideas on it. I'd be happy to share a more detailed vision if you're interested).

4) Why do you chose Montavilla Farmers Market to sell your products?
We believe the Montavilla community will be interested in our product; it's only a mile or so from our home; and we believe that it's appropriate for a young market and young farmers to grow together.

5) Do you have a favorite cookbook that you cook from?
We typically freestyle when we cook, but we do refer to the following:
Garlic, Garlic, Garlic; Nourishing Traditions; Farmer John's Cookbook; and anything Moosewood

6) What food/agriculture related book, magazine or movie would you recommend?
Hmm, there's so many that it really depends on who I'm recommending to. Small Farms Journal is great for people interested in small-scale ag production. Growing Great Garlic is a must for anyone interested in, well, growing great garlic. I would highly recommend A Garlic Testament by Stanley Crawford (think Edward Abbey as a garlic farmer). I also really like Michael Ableman and Wendell Berry (of course!).


Rowan & Katie

Greenthumb Garlic LLC

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sassafras Catering- tomato pies, weddings and more

I am getting married this summer. My fiance and I both agreed from the get-go that food was something that mattered to both of us. n the process of meeting with caterers we learned to define what we were looking for as "organic, locally sourced, mostly vegetarian, but vegetarian that is so good that the carnivores wouldn't even notice that they weren't eating meat". We ended up selecting Sassafras Catering (not so coincidentally a vendor at the Montavilla Farmers Market) who could roast a chicken as well as they could saute a vegetable.

This past Friday I went down to St Paul to the wedding & reception site to meet Tricia, the head chef Erin and Cara, a new addition to the staff at Sassafras. We are getting married near the banks of the Willamette River just next door to Champoeg State Park.

I am super excited to be working with Sassafras Catering. Tricia, Erin and Cara are easy to work with and they really understand the feel that we are trying to create. Every conversation evolves into a brainstorming session dreaming up new flavor combinations and ways of preserving the bounty of the season. For us, food is a big part of the day and a decision not to be taken lightly. Here is the menu that Sassafras created for us:

Water chestnuts wrapped in hickory smoked bacon
Crostini with pimento jalapeno cheese
Mini Southern tomato pies
Cheese display with seasonal fruit, berries and Little t American Bakery bread
Roasted vegetable torte layered with goat cheese
Roasted lemon rosemary chicken
Green beans w/ hazelnuts
Quinoa Pilaf
Summer salad with berries, pine nuts and brie with tangerine vinaigrette

The Southern tomato pies are something you can get at their market stand, along with their jars of preserves, relishes and chutneys. I'm currently coveting a roasted beet and fennel preserve with horseradish and mint, doling out tiny spoonfuls until I know that a new crop of beets has replenished their supply. Look for Sassafras back at the Montavilla Market August 1st.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Berries – Sweet, Savory, & Boozy!

This just in from Montavilla's Resident Chef Kathryn Yeomans...

Summer’s bounty of berries has arrived! It’s nearly impossible to miss the impressive market displays of berries at every turn of the market – being sold in neatly lined-up pints, muddled into lemonade, and smeared across the smiles of market kids. Here are a handful of ways to make use of any excess you don’t eat right out of the container – and don’t forget to stow some away for winter at the height of the season when they are plentiful, and subsequently a more economical purchase.

Sweet Meringues with Summer Berries and Whipped Cream

White, billowy, cloud-like meringues. Bite down and surprise! – a crisp, airy texture that melts in your mouth. Top them with fresh summer berries in a sauce made from the same fruit, and sweetened whipped cream and you have a dessert that, while sophisticated, brings out feelings of the bliss of childhood.

1 cup egg whites

1 tsp. cream of tartar

2 cups sugar, plus more for the berries and whipped cream, if desired

2 pints of assorted summer berries

a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired

3 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate, optional

whipped cream

Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip the whites until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is incorporated, and the whites are stiffly peaked, shiny and glossy.

Pre-heat an oven to 200° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a round tip, begin at the center and pipe a spiral, moving in circles outward to the desired size, directly on the parchment. Alternatively, spoon some meringue onto the parchment and, using a spoon, gently smooth out the meringue to a circular shape, about a third to a half-inch thick. Repeat either process until you have used all of the meringue, spacing them about an inch apart. Place the meringues in the oven and bake for an hour, turning the baking sheet half way through. Turn off the oven and let the meringues sit in the oven until the oven has cooled. Repeat this process as many times as needed to completely dry out your meringues (they should not be tacky at all, especially in the center, and should be crisp and cookie like). Keep in mind that after baking the second time, the meringue may begin to take on some color. Consider reducing the heat or using shorter cooking times.

Allow the meringues to cool completely, then, if desired, brush the bottom or top with melted chocolate.

Using a third of the berries, make a puree, adding a squeeze of lemon juice and sugar to taste, as desired. Strain the puree if you wish to remove seeds or skin. Stir the puree into the remaining berries. If you’d like, add a splash of orange liquor, such as Grand Marnier.

Just before serving, place a meringue on a plate and top the with the berries in their sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Note: The meringues can be stored in an air-tight container, but any humidity will soften them. To re-crisp, try placing them in a very low oven for 15 minutes, then allowing them to cool in the oven.

Raspberry Vinegar

makes 1 pint

Raspberry vinegar may seem an extravagance, but it can be made in 2 simple steps with 2 ingredients. This is an ideal use for very ripe, extra soft or slightly squashed berries, but perfect berries will work, too.

1 pint raspberries

1 pint white wine or champagne vinegar

In a glass jar with a non-reactive lid, combine the berries and the vinegar. Seal the jar and let the mixture stand for 3 weeks, preferably in the sunlight, which will help to draw out the fruit juices.

After 3 weeks, strain the vinegar into a large saucepan through a double layer of dampened cheesecloth. Boil over high heat until it is reduced by one-fourth.

Ladle vinegar into warm, sterilized jars and seal.

Bachelor’s Jam

This very adult jam can be prepared in minutes and enjoyed for months. Technically not a jam, but rather brandy-soused sweetened fruit, this preserve will delight none the less. It is based on the recipe from Roger Verge’s Entertaining in the French Style. I love the sensibility of Roger as he states, “Obviously I wouldn’t recommend (serving bachelor’s jam) for breakfast, unless you want to start the day on a particularly euphoric note.”

2 pints of fruit – may include any amount of any combination of the following:



currants (red, black or white)


cherries (sour or sweet)

stone fruits (peeled, pitted and cut into pieces)

1 ¾ pounds sugar cubes

1 cinnamon stick

1 vanilla bean

2 cups Armagnac, Cognac, eau de vie, brandy or whisky

Wash, then hull (or remove the stems from) the strawberries. De-stem the currants. Pick over the raspberries and blackberries. It is preferable that you not wash the raspberries or blackberries as they are very fragile and tend to become soggy if rinsed. Pit the cherries if desired (or leave pits in and remember to warn your guests).

In a large bowl, combine and gently toss the fruit.

Alternately spoon the fruit and sugar cubes into a large earthenware crock or wide-mouthed jar, beginning with a layer of fruit, followed by a layer of sugar cubes, then another layer of fruit and so on, finishing with a layer of sugar cubes.

Insert the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean into the center of the fruit. Pour the alcohol over (there should be enough to completely cover the fruit). If necessary, place a small saucer on top of the fruit to keep it submerged in the alcohol. Cover tightly and place in a cool place (do not refrigerate) for 5-7 days. At the end of this time, uncover the fruit and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover the jam and let sit for at least 10 more days before serving.

This recipe must be prepared at least 15 days before serving. The longer it sits, the better it becomes. It keeps for several months.

Serve on it’s own in a pretty little bowl as a dessert with coffee, add to cocktails, have with cake, or for a truly decadent brunch, serve over French toast.

Why sugar cubes instead of granulated sugar? Roger doesn’t say, but my thought is that sugar cubes will dissolve slowly into the fruit, allowing the fruit to absorb as much as possible before it sinks to the bottom of the crock. The granulated sugar, because it has less surface area, will quickly sink and sit at the bottom rather than dissolving into the jam.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vendor Profile: Confectionery

Cupcakes have taken Portland by storm over the past five or six years. No longer relegated to kids' birthday parties and office potlucks, cupcakes have assumed a personality of their own. They have turned up in style at weddings, baby showers and even at farmers markets, like Montavilla's Confectionery.

It makes complete sense. They are portable, versatile, and just the right size. You can pay homage to the seasons, taking advantage of the freshest fruits and berries that summer has to offer. If you are feeling particularly virtuous, you can buy a mini cupcake. Or if you worked particularly hard in the yard and need something to revive your energy and your childish spirit, you can indulge in a big one all to yourself.

Jessie Smith is Confectionery. Jessie does cupcakes and more. She has this to say about her wares and where she gets her inspiration....

> 1) What types of products do you specialize in?

Confectionery specializes in small treats (cupcakes, cookies, french macarons, cotton candy) along with special treats like wedding cakes. We utilized unique Northwest ingredients and combine it with a playful and adventurous spirit to provide our customers with a one of a kind experience.

> 2) What are your biggest challenges in operating a farm/business? And what makes it all worth it?

The biggest challenge in running a small business is that you must handle all aspects of the business yourself, you must be able to handle juggling many things at one and be willing to be a jill-of-all-trades. The interaction and positives responses from customers and those who enjoy what you produce make it worth it all the while continually learning about food and the pleasures of eating.

> 3) What food policy issues do you think are critical to the future of agriculture in Oregon?

Not necessarily a food policy, per se, but there has definitely been an increase in the everyday person's awareness of food and their relationship to it. Whether it be to be comforted by it, be educated by it, be inspired by it, etc. it seems people are more curious (or returning to their natural curiosities?) about what food means to them.

> 4) Why do you chose Montavilla Farmers Market to sell your products?

Confectionery was originally interested in Montavilla Market because of its youth and location. What drew us in further were the people that make up the neighborhood and its surrounding areas. There is an expanding culture near Stark street, which is a vital street for the Montavilla neighborhood, that is burgeoning and blossoming in an artistic and creative way, which we hold a kinship to.

> 5) Do you have a favorite cookbook that you cook from?

Favorite cookbook would be: Organic & Chic by Sarah Magid. Favorite food blogs that I read on a constant basis:,,

> 6) What food/agriculture related book, magazine or movie would you recommend?

The Gastronomical Me, by M.F.K. Fischer

Mix Magazine

Chocolat (movie)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Vendor Profile: The Better Bean

Beans are a food item that is often the butt of many a joke (pun only slightly intended - it's late on a Thursday night and I'm feeling a little punchy). But the truth is they are a dietary staple for much of the world, being an inexpensive and available source of vegetable protein and fiber for millions of people in nearly every country on the planet. Beans come in a rainbow of colors and flavors with different cultures making use of different varieties - think of Mexican black beans and rice, or Southern black eyed peas, or even a French cassoulet. The thing the all have in common is the unpretentious bean.

In Native American culture, beans were one of the "Three Sisters" along with corn and squash - one of the oldest examples of "companion planting" in which plants are intermingled to the mutual benefit of each. Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen on their roots, improving the overall fertility of the soil. Low growing squash vines become a living mulch, crowding out weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating. A beautiful symbiotic relationship.

This year, Montavilla Farmers Market welcomes a new vendor of prepared beans. But not just any ordinary bean - A Better Bean. Combined with locally sourced ingredients in flavors like Refried Red Beans or Caribbean Style Black Beans. Free of preservatives and guaranteed to reinspire you incorporate more beans into your weekly diet. Read more about The Better Bean and the small business start up assistance they received from Portland Community College Recipe to Market Program

From Better Bean Proprietor, Keith Kullberg

1) What types of products do you specialize in? The Better Bean Company is pioneering freshly prepared beans as an alternative to canned beans. They come refrigerated like salsa not canned as so have a gourmet flavor that is not mushy and overcooked like canned beans and without the BPAs. We make Refried Red Beans, Refried Black Beans and a Caribbean Style Beans. We have a two step cooking process. We first boil the beans and then sauté them in central Oregon safflower oil and spices. The sautéing makes the same difference as barbecuing a steak vs boiling it in water and gives them the authentic flavor found south of the border. Our black beans come from Oregon’s Snake River Valley and our red beans from Idaho’s Magic Valley. We have additional product planned for the future.

2) What are your biggest challenges in operating a farm/business? And what makes it all worth it? The biggest challenge is creating customer awareness for a new product category. What makes it worth it is the smile on our customer’s faces when they taste how good beans can be.

3) What food policy issues do you think are critical to the future of agriculture in Oregon? Supporting small family farms, non-GMO produce and preventing Monsanto from monopolizing farmers seed supply.

4) Why do you chose Montavilla Farmers Market to sell your products? We understand it is strongly supported and popular in the neighborhood. We think it is a progressive neighborhood and are looking forward to being part of the market.

5) Do you have a favorite cookbook that you cook from? I tend to invent new recipes.

6) What food/agriculture related book, magazine or movie would you recommend? Food Inc., Beans, a History by Ken Abala.