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!
Monterey Bay Seafood Watch
With a new year brings renewed commitments to sustainability. A cornerstone of our commitment to sustainability would be our participation in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch. As a restaurant partner, Urban Famer Portland commits to no longer serving items from the red “Avoid” list in addition to training our staff members to help raise awareness.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program creates science-based recommendations that help consumers and businesses make ocean-friendly seafood choices.
Buy first; they’re well managed and caught or farmed responsibly.
Buy, but be aware there are concerns with how they’re caught or farmed.
Take a pass on these for now; they’re overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.
How can YOU help keep our oceans healthy? Take moment to familiarize yourself with the fish included on the lists above.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch West Coast Consumer Guide
Urban Farmer Portland sits in the heart of a city which is increasingly (and deservedly) lauded as a top destination for all things food + drink. Since 2012 the FEAST Portland festival has been celebrating this authentic and dynamic culinary scene by drawing likeminded folks from all over the world to showcase Portland and its talented culinarians.
Chef Matt has been a FEAST Portland mainstay and is honored to once again represent Urban Farmer in the much beloved Sandwich Invitational alongside 19 nationally renowned chefs. This year Chef Matt will also be flexing his culinary muscles by hosting an intimate Portland Surf and Texas Turf dinner in the Barrel Room cooking alongside ‘Top Chefs’ and friends Gregory Gourdet, Doug Adams, BJ Smith and out of towner Texan, John Tesar.
We’ll keep you updated with drool worthy pics of the edible art Chef Mat and company will be serving up for everyone’s FEAST-ing pleasure – stay tuned!
ABOUT FEAST: ‘Feast Portland is more than a food and drink festival. It’s a movement that showcases the energy, creativity and enthusiasm that’s driving America’s food revolution while celebrating two of the culinary world’s most inspiring places: Portland and Oregon. From spirited one-of-a-kind large-scale events featuring trendsetting chefs from all over the country and the world, to intimate hands-on classes, collaborative dinners and panels, Feast offers some of the most compelling experiences and original programming in the modern food festival conversation.’
Sourdough English Muffins
The house-made sourdough English muffins at Urban Farmer are a testament to the expertise and dedication of our pastry and culinary teams. Anchoring signature dishes from our family of Eggs Benedict variations to the Farm Burger, our English muffins have become a highly recognizable staple of the Urban Farmer repertoire.
It all starts with our beloved eight-year-old sourdough starter ‘Charlie’. Our English muffins undergo fermentation and proofing before baking then butter griddling to perfection. Billowy, light with just the right amount of chew and that delicate sourdough tang, make sure you tuck into an Urban Farmer English muffin on your next visit!
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.
If the chefs seem are a bit too giddy on Wednesdays & Fridays, our farmer partners are to blame. Wednesdays mean a weekly trip to the Shemanski Farmer’s Market our red wagon in tow, but Fridays now have whole new meaning thanks to our friends at Zenger Farm, an urban farm that models, promotes and educates about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development and access to good food for all. Urban Farmer Portland is proud to be the first restaurant participating in Zenger Farm’s weekly CSA (community supported agriculture). Eacd Friday a farmer’s selection of what is seasonal and at its peak arrives for chefs Matt, Chris, Adam, Erick & Alec to articulate the season a on a plate. The bounty of our inaugural CSA became a stunning honey roasted breakfast radish salad with charred mustard greens, green garlic-radish top pesto. Cheers to summer and the farmers who tend our land year round!
Newly appointed Executive Sous Chef of The Nines Hotel, Chris Starkus, is not one to rest on his laurels. After starting our rooftop garden and beekeeping operation last year, he is ready this year to expand its output and effect on the hotel. We’re doubling the number of hives and, with a year of study under his belt, Chef Chris is ready for the title of fulltime beekeeper. (As if he doesn’t already do enough!) We’re also expanding the garden under his direction and should be able to incorporate more delicate herbs and vegetables into the dishes here at Urban Farmer. The new bee colony and expanded garden boxes will be unveiled on April, 22nd, Earth Day so stay tuned for more!
Spring Menu Changes
Chefs Matt and Chris are ready to share a few of their latest menu changes with the world! They’ve worked hard to maintain our commitment to sustainable practices by continuing to work closely Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch and sourcing fun springtime vegetables from local farms. One of our favorite new menu items is the wild Pacific salmon. The chefs delicately place the seared fish on a bed of broccolini, charred grape, olive and salsify puree