I moved this past spring to a house with a very old apple tree in the yard. Whoever planted it must have loved apples because they grafted 5 different varieties on the tree. I am amazed at how many apples one tree can produce! I made freezer applesauce and apple pie filling and still there are lots of apples on the tree and on the ground.
Then I read about Apple Scrap Vinegar. I’ll be making mine with local honey, of course, rather than sugar. This solves two issues for me. First, I have been looking for a completely local vinegar for some time. We do have some great folks in the Portland area who make wonderful vinegar, but I was told the main ingredient (the vinegar itself) is not locally sourced. Second, what a great way to use a lot of apples from my tree!
This will be my last post for awhile. I want to thank everyone who has ready my blog about eating local in SE Portland. My posts have grown fewer and further apart so I have decided to take a break from writing it and focus on other things.
This is pretty far afield for SE Portland, but it is so good I had to share it.
Portland has many great pizza places that focus on locally sourced ingredients and make incredibly good pizza. But if you have time for a little drive, I think the very best pizza is in Falls City, Oregon at the Bread Board.
The thin crust is perfectly charred, topped with a delicious sauce, and fresh seasonal offerings. Their pizza dough is hand made and baked at high temperatures in the large wood fired oven. An unexpected option was the bismark which is a cooked egg placed in the center of the pizza and when cut spreads out into the pizza slices. I have to admit I was a little skeptical, but the egg added a surprising nuance of flavor that enhanced the other ingredients.
The Bread Board is best known for their great bread and pastries, and the pizza is absolutely tops!
Montavilla Farmer’s Market is opening tomorrow, Sunday, June 2, 10 AM – 2 PM!
Tonight I am thinking about the various farmers packing up their produce and other goods, making the drive in the early morning to set up, and then greeting myself and others with a smile when we stop by their booth. To me, it is such an important connection to purchase directly, as much as possible, from the farmer who grows the food I eat. So many good things flow from this simple act and I happily welcome this time of summer abundance where I can do that so easily!
The PSU Farmers Market is now open every Saturday from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM with a full array of vendors. You can find everything from pasture raised chicken to mozzarella cheese to dried cherries to to pickles to hazelnut oil along with lots of produce and even fresh flowers!
There has never been a better time to begin or expand eating local. Maybe start small and just commit to eating a few meals each week with only local ingredients. Or decide to buy certain foods from local farmers.
I find that planning is key to purchasing most of my food directly from the farmer at a farmers market rather than a grocery store. I use the PSU Farmers Market Product Search to determine if what I need to buy is available and from whom. The PSU Market is pretty big so I also check out the Interactive Map to figure out where the booths I need to visit are located.
Popcorn can be an all Oregon snack with organic Amish Butter popcorn from Ayers Creek Farm popped in grapeseed oil from the southern Oregon Seed Oil Company and seasoned with salt from Jacobsen Salt Company. I really like the mild flavor the grapeseed oil adds to the popcorn. Ayers Creek Farm will be back at Hillsdale farmers market in July 2013. Jacobsen Salt Company is available at New Seasons and Pastaworks as well as a number of other locations. The grapeseed oil can be ordered from the Seed Oil Company online store.
Or pick up some popcorn on the cob from Sungold Farms and pop it in a paper bag in the microwave. I rubbed a little bit of Jacobs Creamery butter on the cob first. Just one cob made a plenty of popcorn for my husband and I to share. This was the first time I had made popcorn in a paper bag – so easy and very tasty! Sungold Farms and Jacobs Creamery are both at PSU farmers markets.
A few other farms sell popcorn grown in Oregon as well including Groundwork Organics which puts their popcorn in glass jars and Sunny Tuesday Farms which sells black popcorn. You can find Groundwork Organics at the PSU farmers market and Sunny Tuesday Farms at the Corvallis farmers market.
I knew that popcorn was high in fiber, but was surprised to learn recently that it had higher levels of antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables.
Studies have shown that eating seafood twice a week significantly reduces the risk of heart problems. Research also suggests that seafood consumption may prevent or relieve stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic conditions. I feel so fortunate that there is such an abundance of local seafood available at farmers markets in the Portland area!
I often buy my seafood from Linda Brand Crab and Seafood. They fish dungeness crabs off the Oregon and Washington coast and also act as a collective with other fishers and local clam and oyster farmers in the area. They sell at many local farmers markets in the Portland area as well as having a retail store in Chinook, WA. You can even order through the retail store and then pick up the order at the farmers market. Their crab can also be found at New Seasons Markets. I especially appreciate that their seafood is local and sustainably harvested!
I purchased a dozen oysters from them at the Hollywood Farmers Market this past weekend. They were delicious cooked on the grill that evening! Oysters provide a host of health benefits,including high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart and brain. They are low in fat, high in protein, and a good source of essential nutrients such as zinc, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.
I found a pignoli cookie recipe in A Kitchen Takes Root which is a great blog with inspiring recipes emphasizing local ingredients. I thought it would be interesting to make three versions of this cookie using different combinations of nuts.
My first version used hazelnuts to give the recipe an Oregon twist. I followed the recipe exactly, just substituting Freddy Guys dry roasted hazelnuts for both the almonds and the pine nuts. They turned out delicious, very light and airy. This was my favorite version with all that great hazelnut flavor.
Homemade hazelnut extract instead of almond extract would also be good to try the next time I bake this cookie.
In my next version, I used Barbee Orchards almonds from Zilla, Washington for the batter and Freddy Guys dry roasted hazelnuts for the coating. I was surprised and delighted to find almonds being grown in Washington! It was very easy to blanch and remove the skins from the almonds before processing them. I like the almond and hazelnut combination very much, but preferred the all hazelnut one.
If you are looking for other hazelnut recipes, I would recommend the new Oregon Hazelnut Country cookbook by Oregon food columnist and cookbook author Jan Roberts-Dominguez.
My third version followed the recipe and I used pignoli nuts (pine nuts) from PineNut/Goods From The Woods which are harvested in Nevada or Utah. It was great to find pine nuts from a nearby state rather than a distant country! You can also take a fall road trip to the Great Basin and harvest your own pine nuts. The Barbee Orchards almonds were used for the batter as above. These pignoli cookies turned out great using the locally sourced, traditional ingredients.
I came across several discussions and warnings about pine mouth while looking into pine nuts. It sounds pretty awful. One more reason to buy pine nuts from US sources!