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’s Steakhouse
Chef de Cuisine Adam Schuller
The Urban Farmer Portland kitchen has been graced with wealth of culinary talent and we now celebrate Chef Adam Schuller as he assumes the role of Chef de Cuisine. Chef Adam will also be our apiarist in residency.
Q: What defines your culinary philosophy?
Chef Adam: It all started in childhood with my desire to bring my family closer. After volunteering to cook Thanksgiving dinner at age 12 I discovered breaking bread together and sharing recipes that have been enjoyed for generations was the most organic way to achieve this. I consider dining together to be a time to put the phones away and set distractions aside to connect on an authentic level with people.
Q: What’s your favorite dish on the menu right now at Urban Farmer Portland?
Chef Adam: Our Day Boat Scallops with pork, cumin and carrot. My goal with an entrée is to have fruit, vegetable and protein represented on the plate to create a well-rounded meal. The grapes and arugula we finish it with add a freshness that lifts the dish.
Q: What are you most excited about as you assume your role as Chef de Cuisine?
Chef Adam: I want to be the community outreach chef specifically surrounding community gardens and beekeeping in backyards and homes. In my hometown of Santa Cruz, CA I started a program that partnered with farmer’s markets to educate farm workers on how to utilize the less familiar produce for example celery root, to help feed the families that feed our families and reduce food waste. My goal is to start a similar program with our local markets and farms here in Portland.
Q: How do you spend your days off?
Chef Adam: Taking care of my garden and as a triathlete a lot of time goes into training. Within the last year I have completed the Santa Cruz Half Iron Man, Chelan Long Distance Triathlon, Pac Crest Triathlon and Vancouver USA Marathon. However I try to prioritize time with my beautiful wife Chelsey and 18 month old daughter and soon to be big sister Evelyn.
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!
Urban Farmer, Portland’s Steakhouse, Portland, OR
Next Level Urban Farming in PDX
The Urban Farmer family is always on the search for more efficient and eco-responsible urban farming practices. As we consider ourselves early adopters, it was a natural progression for us to integrate an indoor hydroponic growing system.
Hydro- what?!? All us to explain; our basic hydroponic system requires no soil. The ‘hydro tower’ pumps both water and plant food to the top of the system literally raining down across root system to deliver the necessary nutrients. Mimicking nature in a controlled environment thus maximizing efficiency by reducing cost of labor and use of land simply be embracing and incorporating the ever evolving technologies pushed forward by likeminded innovators