Being an avid foodie has consequently left me obsessed with farmers' markets. With fresh produce and homemade goodies, they are a food fanatic's heaven. As I headed to the Pacific Northwest all the way from Illinois, I couldn't wait for all the farm fresh, organic booths with colorful fruits (thanks for setting the bar high, Portlandia).

vegetable, pasture, cabbage
Emma Brant

On a crisp Saturday morning in Portland, I approached the crown jewel of farmer's markets located in the heart of Portland State University. Hipsters with straw baskets flocked the surrounding area and I was beyond excited. It was time to explore and discover what each booth had to offer.

New treasures awaited at each stand, with everything from fresh baked bread to intricate miniature desserts. Every vendor offered free samples and made the whole experience feel like Christmas morning!

However, I didn't just eat food all morning (even though I was tempted to), but I also took time to discover what a farmers' market is really about. So here it is, a complete list of my stops and why my experience was so amazing:

1. Mio's Delectibles

Emma Brant

This stand was so incredibly adorable. Every single one of their products was a bite-sized piece of art. Tarts were decorated with beautiful fruits, tiny shortbread cookies were filled with flavors like matcha and rose, and they had a miniature breakfast quiche that was the mirror image of a rainbow.

The care and time that went into these desserts was truly inspiring and showed that any passion can be turned into a job that you truly love

2. Pearl Bakery

wheat, bread, cereal, sweet, flour
Emma Brant

Not only does Pearl Bakery have a commitment to organic and local ingredients, but they are also dedicated to caring for the world we live in. They use pollution-free wind power and all their bags are made from recycled materials.

Their artisan rolls, loaves, and pastries can be found at local Oregon restaurants and grocery stores, which allows anyone and everyone access to this grainy goodness. Pearl Bakery, I applaud you.

Emma Brant

3. Honey Mama's

Emma Brant

Honey Mama's is a super cute raw chocolate stand. The best part? This candy bar is actually good for you. They make their chocolate bars with cacao nectar and create flavors such as mint or coffee. I loved seeing ordinary people learn that you can eat well and still have yummy indulgences, even if they did back up the sample line a little.

4. Fraga Farmstead Creamery

bread, wheat, cereal
Emma Brant

Okay, so hear me out on this one all you vegans and animal lovers. Animal rights have a special place in my heart and I try to eat vegan whenever possible. But when a place exists like Fraga that cares for their animals and makes cheese the RIGHT way, I can't help but support them.

Thirty miles west of Portland, little goats frolic in the grass and scurry through the trees. If you need me, I'll be on their farm playing and eating delicious cheese. 

5. Nut-Tritous Foods

Emma Brant

The guy at this stand was the most energetic salesman I have ever met. He had a true passion for nut butters, but to be honest, who doesn't? Their healthy Nutella and freshly ground nut spreads proved that you don't need to eat processed Skippy peanut butter to be happy

6. All the Fruit Stands

Emma Brant

Fresh fruit will absolutely change your life. Grocery store brands filled with GMOs are nothing compared to the bites of happiness you experience with homegrown fruit found at a farmers' market.

Peaches that taste like donuts? They've got 'em. Free slices of juicy nectarines? I'm sold. Costco may have strawberries the size of your head, but farmers' markets have berries that actually have flavor. Please, spare yourself and just get some of this fruit ASAP

Emma Brant

Obviously these were only a few of the dozens of vendors that showed off their fabulous products in Portland. Even though each was unique, it was easy to see that they all had one thing in common: their commitment to bettering the community.

Farmers' markets serve as positive place to meet new people, share your passions, and, of course, eat good food. Local vendors who are inspired to produce the quality products make any neighborhood market a special place. What're you waiting for? Get out there and explore your own local farmers' market.