As of today, we’ve been living just outside Portland, Oregon, for four weeks. I’ve done some knitting but not as much as I should given my queue. The produce at local farmers’ markets is distracting me!
This wooden bowl holds Bosc pears, two varieties of heirloom apples (I will discuss below), and some Fuyu persimmons. (Oh, and another gauge swatch.)
While I grew up in California – a state with unrivaled agricultural produce – my mother not only hated cooking, but she was suspect of any fruit and vegetable that wasn’t grown on farms in Southern Norway. She bought a lot of canned produce (which to this day still makes me gag).
Perhaps because I grew up with food that was one step away from inedible, I became a good cook. I particularly like to use produce that’s in season (in this hemisphere that is), and, especially, purchased produce from farmers markets.
Look at these carrots! (It always surprises people to learn carrots naturally come in an array of colors! )
The Portland area is a wonder of farmers markets, and Thor and I leave the markets laden with beets, turnips, celeriac, rutabagas, kohlrabi, kale and onions that I have been turning into wonderful winter soups.
I saw a farmer who was selling only celery – and very large bunches of celery at that – and I just had to buy one from her. (The celery was half her height!) Part of this bunch is headed for a cream of celery and potato soup.
The local apples are a wonder, and Thor and I have been enjoying sampling them. Recently we came across an amazing heirloom apple called Mountain Rose; rare, it is currently grown only in the Mt. Hood River Valley here in Oregon. It is not only a tasty eating apple but is fantastic for an apple pie!
I was pleased to find Arkansas Blacks at at the market. (In California these apples were hard to find.) Developed in Arkansas in the late 1800s, this firm apple was considered a “keeper” apple – meaning you could keep the apples in your root cellar for several months and enjoy them through the cold winter. The longer the apples are left on the tree, the darker the skin becomes, looking almost black from a distance.
Arkansas Blacks are amazing in pies and not just because of their taste and texture. Leaving the skin on, chopped and baked in a pie, the color from the dark skin bleeds down the pieces of lighter-colored apple flesh. The color goes from a burgundy-black at one end to a faintly pink-tinged cream at the other.