Farmer’s Market Tips from Chef Matt
Spring has arrived in Portland which means in addition to May flowers. Farmer’s Markets are popping back up as well! You can find Chef Matt most Wednesdays at the Shemanski Park Portland Farmer’s Market but these tips from Chef will serve you well no matter where you are shopping.
Q: What are the best farmer’s market items to buy in May in Portland?
Chef Matt: In early May look for the tender shoots of over-wintered vegetables. As the soil temperatures are warming the plant send up shoots to race for the sun. These shoots are sweet, spicy and tender. They are best eaten raw or lightly grilled and marinated. Look for shoots of the following around Portland; turnip, broccoli rabe, mustard greens, kale and bok choy. This is a short-lived season as they will be harvested quickly, and other crops will go in for the summer. #covercrop
Q: Are there any farmer’s market items that are especially affordable at this time of year?
Chef Matt: Items that have survived the winter and are now being harvested to make way for the summer’s planting will be abundant and inexpensive. They will also be packed with nutrients from their slow growth over the winter. Look for harvests of both leafy greens and the last of the season’s root vegetables. Watch for what chef Matt calls “wood core”. When the root vegetables bolt and shoot up flowers they also develop a hard, firm core that can be inedible.
Q: What items are particularly over-priced that consumers stay away from?
Chef Matt: Every year there will be a new high demand item. Remember Kale? Each consumer will have to make their own decision as to the importance of having this in their diet.
Q: What are some spring dishes you can make with the above ingredients?
Chef Matt: ‘Flowering mustard green and Kale rabe, lemon preserves and hazelnut’ the sweet spiciness of the rabe balances nicely with the acidic preserved lemon and the toasted nuts provide a robust note.
Q: Do you have any other general advice for farmer’s market shoppers?
Chef Matt: Taste and sample as much as you can. Put yourself out there and meet a farmer!
Urban Farmer Portland has all of your holiday celebration bases covered from family brunch in the Pantry, business luncheons in the Library, receptions in the Atrium to seated dinners in the Barrel Room.
Our diverse range of upscale, modern event spaces and central downtown Portland location are parallel to none with a vast array of responsibly sourced menu options and thoughtfully crafted libations.
Hosting with Urban Farmer Portland includes the service of our knowledgeable events team to collaborate on curating an experience uniquely tailored to your vision.
Make it memorable by customizing a cake with our pastry chef, a tableside cheese cart service, a barrel aged vieux carre presentation by our bar experts or a welcome from Chef Matt.
Reserve your space today and check this off your holiday to do list!
No child should go hungry in America, but 1 in 6 kids will face hunger this year. Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength.
It is our responsibility as food and beverage professionals to do our part. Urban Farmer Culinary Director Matt Christianson & Team Sack Lunch PDX have made a team commitment to raise $55,000 for Chefs Cycle and No Kid Hungry through events in the local Portland community to raise funds and awareness.
Chef Matt and Team Sack Lunch PDX will be riding 300 miles over the course of 3 days on May 16th – 18th in Santa Rosa, CA alongside some of the brightest stars and most committed advocates in the national culinary community.
How can YOU support?
Raise a pint for a cause and by enjoying a Sack Lunch Ale brewed by Oregon’s Rogue Ales on tap at Urban Farmer Portland with $1 of every pint donated directly to the cause.
Team Sack Lunch PDX
Chris DiMinno – JackRabbit PDX
Matt Christianson – Urban Farmer Portland
Jason French – Ned Ludd
Rick Gencarelli – Lardo, Grassa, and Beer Belly
Arielle Clark – The Portland Kitchen
Chris Carriker – Bluehour
Anna Abatzoglou – Rogue Ales
Colin Howard – Multnomah Whiskey Library
Krista Anderson – New Seasons Market
Kayt Mathers – Play Nice PR
Jeff Morrell – Toro Bravo
Thomas Pisha-Duffy – Pok
Q & A with Executive Chef Matt Christianson
What fall produce are you most excited about?
Chestnuts, quince and canning the 300 pounds of peaches from Baird Family Orchards in Dayton, Oregon we picked up at the Portland Farmer’s Market this week
Favorite dish on the fall menu?
My favorite west coast fish, Alaskan halibut and as the short season ends in October get it while you can! Also our perfectly caramelized grilled cheese sandwich.
Favorite drink on the fall menu?
The addition of Dry Fly Gin to our extensive spirit selection has been long awaited. Dry Fly + a quality tonic water = a happy chef.
What was your best Halloween costume?
The stuffed monkey I wore on my back during service labeled Bradley Ogden, my longtime mentor and Chef/Owner of Lark Creek Inn in Lakespur, CA.
We hereby promise to offer a seasonally inspired, responsibly sourced 3 Course Lunch thoughtfully curated by Chefs Matt, Mike, Erick, Chris, Adam & Hillary served to you in under an hour Monday – Friday.
On the menu today? Start with Chilled Shrimp, cucumber, fennel & arugula; then comes the Wagyu Pot Roast, carrot, foraged mushroom, Romanesco, potato; just a little something sweet to send you back to the office, Eggnog Cheesecake, rum caramel, brown sugar crumble.
Did we mention this trilogy of culinary delight and efficiency is priced at $25?