Lents Farmers Market Opening Day

Opening Day at Lents International Farmers Market Brings Dunk Tank, Music and Prizes

Portland’s only globally focused market, Lents International Farmers Market (LIFM), provides fresh, affordable, and culturally distinct produce to the diverse East Portland community, including hard-to-find Asian vegetables, more than 15 varieties of Latin American peppers, seafood and meats, artisan breads, hot Somali and Vietnamese food, and more.

On opening day, the first 100 customers will receive free seed packets and other prizes, and all visitors will have a chance to win garden starts, LIFM gear and market gift certificates in a raffle. Raffle tickets are free for dads and $1 for everyone else.

At 1:30 p.m., Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith will be the target of a classic dunk tank, along with other community leaders and brave market visitors. Just prior to Smith’s big splash, the Portland Development Commission and Tri-Met will dedicate the newly completed “Out of the Brambles” public sculpture by artist Wayne Chabre on the Lents Transit Station wall across from the market at 1 p.m.

To add to the global feel, there will be live music from Russian bard singer Natalia Hougen at noon, accordion and saw duo Dreamland Faces from Minnesota at 1 p.m., and local Latina trio Reynosa at 2 p.m.

Lents International Farmers Market Opening Day
11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday, June 17th on the northwest corner of SE 92nd and Foster Rd.

The 2012 season of the Lents International Farmers Market runs every Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., from June 17 through Oct. 28.

Lents International Farmers Market aims to help immigrant and emerging farmers find a market for their products and to improve access to fresh, healthy and affordable food for resident in Lents and the surrounding neighborhoods of outer southeast Portland.

LIFM was also the first Portland-area farmers market to match SNAP credits (formerly known as food stamps). In 2012, the market will match up to $10 in SNAP credits per customer; however, on opening day only, LIFM is doubling its matching benefits, which means customers will receive up to $20 free for their first $20 spent with SNAP.

Vendors at LIFM feature a diverse collection of global goods and produce grown here in the Northwest, much of which is not available at other markets in Portland because it is specialized to these cuisines. Following is a sampling of what can be found at LIFM:

· Hmong farmers and Mien gardeners grow hard-to-find Asian vegetables, including bitter melon, yardlong beans, snow pea tips, squash leaves, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), Napa cabbage, yu choy, bok choy, amaranth leaves, chrysanthemum leaves, and Asian eggplant.

· Latino farmers grow more than 15 different varieties of peppers and an array of herbs including papalo, pipicha, cilantro, epazote, yerbabuena, basil, sage, parsley, fresh garbanzo beans, fava beans, and huauzontle.

· Russian vendors keep bees and sell raw, unfiltered honey all market season. In addition to the types of vegetables commonly seen at farmers markets, our Russian vendors grow heirloom varieties of tomatoes (including the Russian Bull’s Heart variety), pickling cucumbers, sunflower seeds and dill.

· New vendor Kiyokawa Family Orchard is known for its wide variety of apples and Asian pears, cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, pluots, grapes, kiwi berries, pears, nectarines, and quince.

· Other new vendors include Bigfoot Bread, Hot Mama Salsa, Linda Brand Crab, and Sidewalk Ends’ Farm (garden starts).

The Lents International Farmers Market is managed in partnership with Friends of Zenger Farm. Founded in 1999, Zenger Farm is a working urban farm that models, promotes and educates about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development and access to good food for all. It now consists of 9.7 acres of farmland and wetland in outer southeast Portland. For more information visit www.zengerfarm.org.