By Tamara Fowler | CNA Media Team
When Ted Snider first moved to Portland by way of Portland, Maine, farmers markets served the communities of Beaverton, Gresham and Hillsboro. It was 1975, and there were none within Portland city limits.
Ted got a few friends together to start Portland Farmers Market, and he managed that downtown event for its first five years.
That effort – and the farm store he opened in Cully neighborhood four years ago – earned him the title “Farmer Ted.”
In 2008, a scrappy little fruit and vegetable market popped up in the Hacienda Community Development Corporation (CDC) parking lot. It was an early predecessor of Cully Farmers Market.
The following spring, the space behind Trinity Lutheran Church became available and a tiny farmers market, full of earnest community spirit, replaced the one at the CDC.
“Everything came from the neighborhood farms and backyard gardens,” Ted recalled. “My favorite memory is when three young Somali girls wheeled in a red wagon filled with cabbages they grew at the Rigler garden. They sold out quickly, and the girls were beaming with pride.”
When Old Salt opened on 42nd Avenue in 2013, the owners started a small farmers market on Thursdays to highlight their farm-to-table connection. The next year the two markets merged. The social and entertainment aspects really started growing with the newly dubbed Cully Farmers Market (CFM).
It connects the diverse populations of the Cully, Concordia and Beaumont neighborhoods. And it brings people together to embrace the common need for eating food that is fresh, vibrant and organic.
Ted sees this as his mission in life.
However, staging a weekly melting pot in the community is just too risky in these unknown times of pandemic. With all the quarantining and social distancing of today, CFM is closed for this season.
“I have not missed a single market in 12 years, and now I’m going to miss them all season,” he lamented. So he’s looking forward to the market returning next summer.
In the meantime?
“Each of us can be a mini farmers market for our block and build those connections with each other,” Ted remarked. “The joy of growing food and feeding other people is contagious.
“So I expect that when we are able to return to our farmers market – whether for a one-time harvest festival this September or a full season next year – many people who have learned this joy of growing and sharing will have a supportive place to build connections with our wonderful community.”
Ted added, with an encouraging smile, “Keep on growing.”
Tamara Anne Fowler is Edit Kitten, a writer with 20-plus years of experience offering a sof ter, gentler approach to editing and coaching. Her personal editors — Armani, Max Factor and Spicey’D — are also her cats. Visit her at EditKitten.com or contact her at Tamara@EditKitten. com.