Friday, April 25, 2014

Wild Foods and Thrift Stores--- Portland

Forest Park, Portland, Oregon
Weeds!! I ate them this weekend when I took a class on wild foods foraging from nationally known wild foods expert Dr. John Kallas. He lives in Portland but teaches his classes around the country---see here if you are interested. After completing the one class I took, I could see how a person could devote their entire life to the discipline and still never know it all, or even know most of it. People like Dr. Kallas are trying to preserve and enhance the body of knowledge that we currently have. He has put out the first of a series of books, "Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt to Plate" that you can either buy from his website or from Amazon here. Very user friendly!

Dr Kallas' book
Dr Kallas teaching about Lady Ferns
It was rainy and cold---I should have worn gloves, frankly, and though I enjoyed the class I was glad, after 3 hours, to be back on my way to a good hot beverage and the potential of Portland thrift stores.

St John's Bridge
After acquiring the hot drinks (not a difficult endeavor---there seems to be at least two coffee shops on every Portland block) we set off to visit one of my thrift favorites, The Village Merchants. I love this place!!! Located on Division St, they were forced out of their original digs when a luxury condo was built on the site they used to inhabit (lots of that going around---Division St. is rapidly gentrifying). Happily, they were able to find a suitably quirky, even bigger place several blocks down.

Look at this wacky, mod bar stool!! I think it was all of 20.00. That's the great thing about Village Merchants, they are very reasonably priced.

My friend bought this little vintage sombrero hat that now resides on her 50s swordfish TV lamp:

On our way to lunch we passed by this enigmatic storefront:

Looks to be a book/tea/esoteric object kind of establishment, but alas, it was not open when we passed by it.

My thrifting expedition was conducted in an entirely secondhand outfit, btw. Googly-eyed owl pin, jean jacket, lace-trimmed cowboy shirt and plaid pashmina scarf. All either purchased at Goodwill or Salvation Army. I ended up not buying a stitch of thrifted clothing in Portland---however,  I did buy this awesome mushroom windchime made of oxidized, welded spoons:

I got it at another of my Portland thrift favorites, House Vintage on Hawthorne. An unassuming storefront hides an astonishing labyrinth of dealer stalls. Higher prices than Village Merchants, but still well worth a look.

Somewhere along the line we came across this crazy, twisted tree in someone's yard:

The air was full of swirling pink cherry blossom petals as the day turned to wind and more rain. We ate lunch at a vegetarian Thai restaurant (where "medium" spicy means "tear the roof off of your mouth". I couldn't even conceptualize what "hot" must be) and I got ready to go home. See ya again soon, Portland!

linking up with Citizen Rosebud's Secondhand First


  1. That wind chime is the most original thing I've seen in ages! Certainly beats ones made of driftwood. ;)

  2. Ha, yes, I freaked out when I saw it and put everything else I was gonna buy back. I wonder at what moment the maker realized that a disassembled spoon could look like a mushroom?!

  3. What a great score (the seat) and what a way to make me want to shop PDX like nobody's business!

  4. Ha! I saw your Etsy item of the Bigfoot game, and thought, oh wow, that would sell here! Oregonians love BigFoot (Sasquatch). Then I read you are from Portland! It's really a small world! If you haven't been there yet, check out the Hollywood District Famers' Market. In the fall, lots of mushrooms! Here's to Portland!!