Distracting Farmers Markets

FruitbowlAs 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).

CarrotsPerhaps 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! )

celeryThe 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.

MtRoseApplesThe 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!

ArkansasBlackApplesI 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.

ThorApplePieI recently made a pie using both Mountain Rose and Arkansas Black apples.  I think it may have been the tastiest apple pie I’ve ever made.  (Notice Thor didn’t even use a plate!)

Advertisements

About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Cooking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Distracting Farmers Markets

  1. I understand the distraction! I myself did some canning this late summer and to tell you the truth the peaches on my tree were actually calling my name there for about a week. I love apples, and the ones with the pink flesh, we dont see them very often from the stores. Yummy! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Weekend Delights: Local Theater, Food and Winter Farmers Markets | Squeaky Green Machine

  3. Chela noto says:

    Oh my goodness, literally, I so envy you living outside PDX! San Francisco and the Bay Area can only pretend to be the foos and produce Mecca of the west coast. We are spoiled for choice here (SF area), but Oregon is amazing! I hope you and Thor have travelled the “Fruit Loop”, there is even an alpaca farm on the map. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Like

  4. HannahDavis says:

    Sure! I’ll e-mail you my address! Thank you very much!

    Like

  5. It was my first too! We bought several more pounds of both those varieties … some for eating but some I will prepare for pie filling and freeze. Then I can make a few more of those pies over winter!

    >

    Like

  6. I don’t think “Paradise” can be claimed by any single place. 🙂 I am sure if I were to visit the Melbourne area, I would be thrilled and excited to try fruit and veges that we don’t have here! Those pink apples are amazing!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  7. Thanks for the compliments! I will be down your way soon and we can catch up over homemade pie and coffee! 🙂

    >

    Like

  8. The local farmer’s market is now closed until February, but there’s a big one in downtown Portland that is year ’round … I just have to figure how to lug pounds and pounds of fruit home on the light rail! :/

    >

    Like

  9. I had the same experience when buying jicima! A LOT of puzzled looks and “what’s this?” from store clerks. 🙂

    Before leaving California, I picked about 30-40 Fuyu persimmons from a friend’s (huge) tree … I’ve never cooked with them. We just eat them like apples!

    >

    Like

  10. These are tasty fruits – and veges! I am addicted to the colorful carrots. After years of buying carrots from farmers markets, the version the chain grocery stores carry just don’t seem edible (by comparison)! (Want me to send you some apple seeds?!)

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  11. HannahDavis says:

    Those foods look so good! I love the colorful carrots and I wish I could visit your area so I could try those apples!

    Like

  12. ethgran says:

    I was raised in California as well and was blessed with a mother who was an incredible cook and gardener. I have lived on the East Coast nearly all my married life and am now in Florida and enjoy the seasonal fruits and veg here, but have to indulge in some of the sweet offerings from California when they pop up. Right now I have been indulging in Persimmons and shared one with a dear old friend (85) who had never eaten one before! Too bad it was nearly tasteless being picked green but still a treat. Every time I check out with one, the young thing checking me out asks what it is.

    Like

  13. I love farmer’s market produce, and your market seems fantastic. Unfortunately ours are all closed for the season – the only fresh-picked food we’ll get from now til April will be the herbs in my window sill.

    Like

  14. Claire Quillici says:

    I would love to taste those soups and pies you’re making! You’re such a fantastic and creative cook. You should write a cooking blog too!

    Like

  15. needleandspindle says:

    Goodness gracious, I thought we were lucky here in Melbourne for our fresh food but it seems you have arrived in Paradise. I do love purple carrots but the Apple with the rose coloured flesh is a wonder I have never seen. You are clearly having a wonderful time.

    Like

  16. kiwiyarns says:

    Fascinating! I have never seen a pink fleshed apple. I can understand what the distraction is all about!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s