Think Local, Eat Global 

An emerging international farmers market sows a field of culinary dreams. 

At 11 a.m. every Sunday, a ramshackle plot of earth blossoms into a garden of eating tended by Latino farmers, Iu Mien gardeners, and Russian beekeepers. Tented tables hold hard-to-find Mexican herbs, Asian exotica, jubilant pickles, and, not least, starter plants, so you can grow worldly treasures in your backyard. In the corner, regulars dig into fat tamales, Somalian sambusas, and green sauce hot enough to curl your hair. Nearby, shoppers snoop around mountains of amaranth leaves and fresh garbanzo beans to live music as intimate as a village wedding. 

Welcome to Portland’s only open-air market for immigrant and emerging growers. The tiny, six-year-old Lents International Market, managed by Zenger Farms, is a neighborhood beacon, a direct-farm source for low-income shoppers, and, increasingly, a fresh supply chain for adventurous cooks.   

Scout the Russian stands for scrumptious radishes or delicate, pink-hued Russian Bull’s Heart tomatoes—a rare heirloom treat. No English is spoken at Vladimir Stadnikov’s farm booth, but the odd-size jars of wild honey need no translation: beautiful, complex structures of honeycomb bob like icebergs in amber syrup as floral and evanescent as a wildflower. Over at N&N Amaro Produce, a vivid universe beyond cilantro emerges in the intense, bright pop of pipicha and papalo leaves. The hub of the action lies at the community table, open to anyone with a garden haul to sell, and the conversation is part of the fun. Those unmarked, forest-hued greens beckoning for a date with the stir-fry? “Asian bitter greens,” offers one seller. “Old people like to eat them. They’re good for the skin!” Lents International Farmers Market; Sundays 11–4 through October; SE 92nd Ave & Foster Rd; zengerfarm.org

  

ADVANCED SHOPPING: Playing House

An emerging international farmers market sows a field of culinary dreams.

Chopsticks

The cutest chopsticks on the planet, available in a zoo
of options.

Peking Pan

This heavy-gauge pan—forged from a single piece of carbon steel—woks the talk with consistent, even heat.

Bento lunchbox

For budding foodies, the Japanese Kokeshi Iron Chef  breaks into a soup bowl, a covered container, and a nifty saucer to hold that secret lunch ingredient.

Teapots and Cups

From high art to kitschy cool, the store’s collection runs deep.