The group got to go to the Portland Farmers Market at PSU, the biggest farmers market in Portland, on Saturday. I couldn’t help but compare the market with the farmers market in Haymarket Square in Boston as I walked through the crowds, but in the end, there was really nothing to compare with the PSU farmers market. From elk meat to yellow raspberries to the best biscuit sandwich you’ll ever have, the experience was nothing short of unique. Many of us picked up the hobby of looking out for samples, and the street performers, which ranged from a cappella groups to jugglers, gave the place even more life and festivity.
In the afternoon we made our way through the slight drizzle to the Portland Japanese Garden using Portland’s fantastic Trimet bus and tram system. After being here for only a week I could already appreciate the passion and commitment that most Portlanders have with their jobs. From our dedicated supervisors at our community service placements to the jolly bus driver that took to the gardens laughing, it’s hard not to enjoy, and even learn from, the selfless investments that
some Portlanders make to benefit those around them. I have to admit, my initial expectations for the gardens extended only to taking some pretty pictures of flowers and trees. Granted, I did take pictures of flowers and the beautiful scenery around me when we got there, but what I didn’t expect was to feel genuinely relaxed. Something about the atmosphere, whether it was the trees, the quiet stream, or the ducks in the pond, created an unexpected sensation of peace, which I then realized I rarely experienced in my life.
A skip and a hop away from the Japanese Garden was the Portland Rose Garden which produced a shockingly large variety of roses that I never knew existed. For me, a rose was one type of flower with one type of scent. Seeing rows and rows of different varieties was both enlightening and slightly mind numbing as keeping track of each type of rose seemed near impossible for me. Apart from providing an array of scents and colors, however, the rose garden reminded me of the many blinds that food producers and supermarkets place in front of consumers. The typical consumer probably couldn’t name more than three varieties of apples or even one type of banana, when in reality, hundreds exist today. Different varieties of foods can not only taste better but can also provide a more stable footing in our food so that one outbreak couldn’t deprive the world of all cucumbers forever.
All in all, the farmers market, Japanese garden, and rose garden, helped me realize both the unique vibrancy of Portland through its people and the value of sustaining sustainable practices so as to protect the peace and stability that nature can readily provide on its own.