Honey Pie and Blueberry Wine
(why the PSU farmer's market is literally the best)
No lovely dream or lack of sleep could keep me in bed on Saturday mornings, because just a short journey from my front door is the PSU Farmer's Market. All year long, farmers, food-smiths and local artisans line the south park blocks by Portland State University, painting thick brushstrokes of taste, color and conversation against a backdrop of tall, lush trees.
Even though I often stay up late on Friday nights, I try to arrive at the market early enough that I can chat with the vendors before the market gets too crazy--plus that's when all the fresh samples are out. Organic apples and pears sliced up for tasting, goat cheese and jam, and on the best days--little bites of chocolate in all the varieties your heart could desire. Last weekend I bought a creamy chocolate bar made with coconut meat and raw honey, plus a hint of coffee. It was so soft you could hardly break off a clean square. Heavenly.
Today's find was blueberry wine. I didn't know such a thing existed, but a young woman named Haley explained a little about the process and the incredible amount of berries that make just one bottle--to be served slightly chilled. I asked an older woman who was managing the booth what the perfect scenario for this wine would be.
"The front porch on a warm day," she said. "Or in the winter, heated up with some spices, like star anise or cinnamon."
She had me. I am now the happy owner of a bottle of Spring Bank Farm's Oregon Blueberry Wine. I imagine inviting a few friends over on a perfect afternoon for spontaneous blueberry wine and maybe a little dancing in the living room with all the windows open.
Feeling like jazz on a cloudy June morning, I had my headphones in and was listening to an album by Diana Krall. Strolling between the crowds, I stopped to buy spinach and pumpkin seed butter, asking the cashiers if they wanted to hear a bit of the song on my headphones. Each one of them indulged me, and one man even closed his eyes for a moment. These are my people.
I was halfway though one of my favorite old tunes, "Night and Day" when I ran into some of my friends who play jazz and soul in a few different bands around town. They stood on the corner with their instruments about to start into the next song when we spotted each other, laughing because we'd been at the same house show the night before and all of us stayed up well past midnight. I popped my headphones in Nate's ears and when I took them back, he signaled to the guys that they would play "Night and Day." I nearly died when they began to play. And then, unexpectedly, Nate even sang the lyrics, leaving a delightful pause in the middle of the song as the band took us away and turned that little corner of grass and pavement into a romantic dream.
Night and day, you are the one
Only you 'neath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me or far
It's no matter baby, where you are
I think of you day and night...
As if the moment couldn't improve, I spotted my friend Jackson who I often run into at my local cafe. He had the day off from coaching and was moseying through the market like he owned the place. "Have you had the honey pie from Lauretta Jean's?" he asked me. I said no. And just like that he decided he had to buy me a slice because it would "blow my mind." Loyal to chocolate but ever open-minded to mind-blowing, I thanked him and in minutes I was taking a bite of what can only be described in a soft moan and the temptation to cry.
My friends took a break from playing and I watched them chatting in the grass while I waited for my pour over. It was obvious they needed to eat strawberries. I bought a small carton and we all ate strawberries.
Here's to life,