Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Harvest Festival at the Farmers Market

Extraordinary pumpkins and other squash at the Happy Valley booth.

Fresh Figs

The Umpqua Valley Farmers Market will hold their annual Harvest Festival this Saturday, October 3 from 9:00 to 1:00 and you won't want to miss it. This is the place to buy your one-of-a-kind pumpkin for Halloween. There will be music, prizes and fresh, local produce at its peak.

Along with a wide array of squash, you'll find perfectly ripe melons at the Happy Valley booth and fresh figs. And the folks at Sterken Farm have a great selection of crisp juicy apples you can't buy at the store.

Bring the kids and enjoy the local fall harvest in all its glory.

Monday, September 21, 2009

From Russia With Love

Local hazelnuts will be ready soon and that reminded me of this photo taken in April of 2006. That's me in the long coat buying a newspaper cone full of roasted hazelnuts from a street vendor in Moscow. I decided to pass on the dried fish you can see in the foreground.

Norm Lehne is my local source for hazelnuts and his should be available in a few weeks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Only Six Market Days Left

I can't believe there are only six more Saturdays to shop at the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market this season. The market is at its peak right now.

Today my first stop was for melons. I have learned to buy them first and take them to the car, so I don't have to carry them around the market with me. I bought a long and slender Charleston Grey watermelon, two canteloupes (different varieties) and one other melon that I can't remember the name of. That should be enough for the week. Don't know the vendor's name, but he helped me pick out the sweetest, juiciest melons he had.

Next I bought some green beans and butterstick squash from Jim Leet.

At the Big Lick Farm stand I chatted with Susie and Asinete and loaded up on carrots, French fingerling potatoes, golden beets, arugula, garlic and small red onions.

I picked out a huge bouquet of bright yellow sunflowers and had Dang hold them for me until I was through with my shopping.

I stopped by the Double P Soap Company booth and bought a bar of Lavender-Oat soap--smells divine.

I chose a variety of apples from Sterken Farm: winesap, macintosh, golden delicious, pink lady. They even had Granny Smith's, which seems a bit early to me, so I decided to wait a few more weeks before buying some to make an apple pie for my dad.

I browsed the handmade greeting cards at the Black Dog Woods booth and chose one for my daughter's birthday. These are delightful all-occasion and blank one-of-a-kind cards with a butterfly theme, painted by local artist Claudia Lapham. Gift tags are also available.

Finally, I topped off my bag with a dozen fresh eggs and some local lettuce, picked up my flowers and headed for my car.

If only someone sold milk at the farmers market, I wouldn't have to go to the grocery store at all this week.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ingredients (the film)

Rogue Flavor is sponsoring three southern Oregon showings of this timely film. Click here for dates and locations.

Still posting from the library.....

Chocolate and Flowers

The perfect combination! Strolling down East Main Street in Ashland a couple weekends ago, we popped into Enchanted Florist chocolate 'flowers' cafe. No, it's not chocolate molded into flower shapes or those red foil-wrapped chocolate roses, made with really poor quality chocolate. It's a combination floral shop and artisan chocolate cafe, owned by husband and wife team Leslie and Brandon Kirkland.

I adore fresh flowers, but, being on vacation, I wasn't prepared to buy any, so I headed straight for the chocolate sampling. I tried several varieties of chocolate from chocolatiers around the world, including a 100% cacao Franch Pralus bar, but the Dark Milk Chocolate with Fleur de Sel from Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, Missouri was my very favorite. Made with single origin "Trinitario" cacao beans, organic cane juice, goat's milk powder, cocoa butter and sea salt, it was the smoothest chocolate I think I have ever eaten. I bought a 3 ounce bar for $8.00 and I have been savoring a square or two after dinner. This would be the perfect chocolate to make "kisses". I am spoiled now--can't ever go back to Hershey's!

I also tried the Aztec Drinking Chocolate, but it had a bit too much bite (heat?, kick? It has chile in it) for my tastes. Made me think of the movie Chocolat.

If you are headed up or down I-5, this shop is certainly worth a detour off the freeway.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gifts from the Kitchen...I need your help!

The reason I haven't posted anything in awhile is that I am in the process of switching internet service providers and it's proving to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. I am at my public library right now using their computer.

I will be teaching a class in November on Gifts from the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite gift you like to make to give away during the holidays? Do you have a special gift someone makes for you each year? Send me your ideas at and I will enter your name in a drawing for a surprise gift box from me. Not sure what all will be in it, but it will most certainly contain something delicious baked just for you. The more ideas you send my way, the more chances you have to win!

I'm hoping to be back online at home sometime this week. We shall see....