The Portland Farmers Market is the place to go if you want fresh, locally grown food. Where else can you talk to the person who actually grew the food you are going to eat?
The market is a community gathering place. It is a place to do your weekly shopping or just wander around taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells. The food is, of course, seasonal. You won't find strawberries in September or ripe pears in June but what you do find is so flavorful--a juicy apple that actually crunches when you bite into it.
It's more than fruits and vegetables though. You will find stalls for German bread, handmade chocolates, award winning Oregon cheeses, wine, plants, nuts, wild mushrooms, cut flowers, and much much more.
This is another place where you shouldn't eat before you go. You have two choices and actually you can do both: buy your lunch there or just wander around and get free samples of everything.
The Portland Farmers Market is held in four different locations on different days of the week. My opinion is that the market held in the South Park blocks at Portland State University is the best and that's not just because it is the largest. The South Park blocks with the shady trees, lawns and fountains are a lovely place to relax. Sit on the lawn, eat your lunch, visit with friends, listen to the street musicians, and people watch.
The market is open on Saturdays in the South Park blocks, Portland State University location from April to just before Christmas. Summer hours are 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. In the fall it is open 9:30 am to 2:00 pm. Parking can be tricky but it is easy to get there on MAX and the Portland Streetcar.
The Wednesday market is also held in the South Park blocks at Shemanski Park between SW Salmon Street and Main Street. It is open May through October 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
The Eastbank Thursday market is held at Hinson Church, SE Salmon and 20th. This is the only location east of the Willamette River. It is open mid-May through September 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Also on Thursday is the ECOTRUST market held in the Pearl District on NW 10th between Irving and Johnson. It is open June through September 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm.