Another of these markers is the proliferation of farmers markets throughout the city and suburban sprawl. For instance, Wednesdays in downtown Portland-- where I spend the majority of my days--are typically marked by bustling crowds of people armed with the requisite bouquet of fresh flowers and/or bag(s) of organic vegetables and fruit.
Beaverton, home to SOTTO, boasts of a rather large farmers market, one that we, unfortunately, haven't visited in a while. By the time the warmer months have returned, I am surprised by how much I enjoy farmers markets; I don't know how we ever do without them. PLUS, they are a great way to support local growers, while getting cheap, fresh veggies and fruit. If you can, go. NOW.
I love perusing the local vegetable offerings and, ummm, pastries.
A drawback of the Beaverton market, unlike the downtown Portland market, is the prohibition on pets in the market area. PROBLEM SOLVED: He played in the appurtenant park and terrorized little kids.
Then, we sat and enjoyed vegetarian samosas with chutney and a great cup of chai (REAL chai, mind you) ... and examined our purchases from the day, which I hope to whip up into a spring risotto.