with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Finding Vegetarian and Raw Food Sources Near Beaverton, Oregon

Red peppers in the market in Tel Aviv, photography by Lorelle VanFossen.I’m finally starting to explore our new neighborhood near Hillsboro, Oregon. My new quest is to find healthy and organic local produce and natural foods stores, and some good ethnic groceries so I can eat with healthy recipes from all over the world.

Here are some resources I uncovered on the web to help me find these food suppliers in the area.

Infinite Wilderness – Organic Resources near Portland, Oregon offers some of the best natural food groceries and resources around the Portland, Oregon, area, including Hillsboro and surrounding communities. The list includes organic grocers, gardens, produce delivery, clothing, restaurants, and more.

People’s Food Coop – Portland Area U-Pick Resources lists a wide area around Portland, Oregon, for picking your own fruits and vegetables from local farms and suppliers. Some are organic, and others are not quite organic, with information in the notes.

I’m still looking for some co-ops and CSAs that will deliver or provide really convenient access for pick-up. We’re just that step out far enough that we’re off their delivery routes, but I’m still looking.

Uwajimaya is a Pacific Northwest treasure. Currently, there are three Uwajimaya stores in the Northwest, one in downtown Seattle, Redmond, Washington, and now in Beaverton, Oregon. This is a magical grocery store stuffed with all these Asian including rice cookers, steamers, chopsticks, kimonos, books, fresh fish and seafood, Oriental teas and spices, and aisle upon aisle of international foods.

Seeking sushi, I stumbled into Tokyo Japanese Restaurant right next to Trader Joes on 185th near Highway 26 in Hillsboro and tasted some of the best sushi I’ve had in years…decades maybe. They have a citrus sushi roll called the Pink Dragon which is pure sin to me. The lemony flavor doesn’t overwhelm the fish and it slips down so fast – order two. They aren’t cheap but worth every hum, ooo, and awe. I usually get one to take home to relive the tongue joy the next day. They do specialty items as well and are always welcoming and accommodating and just about everyone can find something good to eat there, sushi or not.

New Seasons Market is a great grocery store focused primarily in natural and organic foods and produce. Located in the Orenco Station shopping complex, next to Kit and Kaboodle, you can get lost in there for over an hour. Luckily, there is plenty of free parking. There are also Whole Foods Market stores that opened recently, but I’ve found prices are better at New Seasons. If I need some specialty item, if New Seasons doesn’t have it, I head to Whole Foods down the street a couple miles.

Oregon Vegetarian Restaurants and Natural Foods Stores List covers all of Oregon broken down by major cities within the state. The town listings include some organic and vegetarian groceries and markets, but mostly focuses on restaurants. It also includes a listing for Oregon Raw and Living Food Friendly Restaurants.

Blossoming Lotus closed their raw food restaurant in the downtown Pearl District of Portland, so now I have to haul out to NE 15th and Broadway over by the Lloyd Center. That’s way outside my roving range when I’m in Portland, so it’s a dedicated adventure to get there. Still, it’s some of the best raw food I’ve had yet in the states, so it’s worth the hike. It just becomes a special occasion rather than a weekly visit.

Visiting Barbur World Foods was a dream come true. Friends hauled me there within a couple months of my arrival and I love it. It is an international grocery store, deli, bakery, wines, beers, and…well, you name it, they probably got it. It isn’t cheap but you are paying for top quality products delivered from around the world. Russian, Hungarian, Israeli/Jewish, French, Asian, Scandinavian, African…is there anything they don’t have? Probably, but if you are looking to widen your tastes, this is the place.

HMart is a national chain Asian store. Lucky for me, the only one in Oregon is about 30 minutes south of me. It is larger, physically, than Uwajimaya in Beaverton, and offers a diverse collection of food items and household products. I find most of their household items are usable where Uwajimaya’s are more decorative and ornamental. I found a ton of cleaning products and supplies, slippers, dishes, and more. They have the largest collection of rice cookers and hot water heater units than I’ve found elsewhere in the Portland area. The selection shifts and changes with the seasons and availability.

Fubonn Shopping Center calls itself the largest Asian shopping center in Oregon, and I can believe it. It is a mall featuring a variety of small shops that come and go with the economy and a gigantic grocery store. It’s an oasis for fascinating Asian and international food and they have an extensive collection of kitchen and home products. It’s a bit overwhelming but I love it. Unfortunately, it’s on the east side of Portland, thus a long drive and major logistics to get there, so my visits will be few.

G-Mart is featured in Yelp and gets high reviews. It’s a great place for seafood and groceries, along with a seasonal collection of fresh fruits and vegetables. It has a great collection of Kimchi and an aisle of nothing but seaweed, putting me in seaweed heaven. Above it is the Spring Restaurant. I haven’t tried it but it gets great reviews.

I haven’t been to the Manila market but I’ve heard from friends and read the reviews online and it sounds like a place that isn’t high on my must-visit list, though I should be fare and at least check it out as I pass by it regularly. It’s difficult to access from the main road with a tricky entrance.

Places on my list to check out include Can Tho Market, Viet & Thai Market, and Gobugi Asian Market. Time to start making plans to explore more!

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