We’ve entered the time of year we dream about for the other 11 months, that juicy, sweet, lazy crest of summer in Oregon. It takes effort to do anything we’re all so full of endorphins, so happily disengaged. The land of the lotus eaters ain’t got nothing on us.
But if you (meaning me) can pull yourself away from that glass of Pimm’s cup and grilled lamb, prepare for the cloudy days ahead with canning. Aw heck, just buy and eat it all fresh.
Raspberries. Get ‘em while you can, preferably today or tomorrow. We’re in the last throes. Riverbrook Farm on E. Beacon Drive off River Road is out and closed for the season.
Marionberries, ditto times two. Our main season blackberries are starting to come in and that signals the end for the specialty crosses.
I did find a U-pick for blackcap raspberries (!!) on Beacon down the street from Riverbrook. Go. Immediately. They were closed on Sunday but they might have a day or so left, I’m not sure. Never seen a blackcap? Look at the picture or read more here about Huerta de la Familia’s pioneering project. That’s my plant above, but they’re small compared to what you can get from Huerto or the farm I found today.
Blueberries — great crop this year. Buy in volume and eat with abandon. U-pick all over the place, too.
Pickling cucumbers are in full force at farms, for those of you who pickle. Buy them in 10- and 25-lb. bags in small, medium, large, and XL (I go for medium, since they’re easiest to wedge in jars). Those of you who pickle surely know this already! Do buy a big armful of dill and freeze the heads now for use all year. Frozen dill heads are superior to fresh ones in pickling. Make with the clicky for my recipes and tips.
Beans are good to go for pickling, too, and looking great.
The first ‘Bodacious’ corn has appeared. This is a local celebrity, but I think it might not be my favorite (tho’ I’ve never said no to an ear of corn, so I’ll thankfully eat it and any other corn I can get).
Beautiful cabbages, heavy with juice, are also widely available. Now’s the time to make bright fuchsia sauerkraut before the summer dries out the less hearty red heads. They (who? I dunno, just “they”) say, however, that green cabbage needs a frost to make the best kraut. You decide. I, for one, can’t wait. The small heads will weigh about 5 lbs. right now (about twice as heavy as a supermarket cabbage of the same size), so don’t buy too much!
Albacore season has started. I helped out at a Master Food Preserver canning class (which are all full, by the way, sorry). Get on next year’s class list (!) by following the information in local food writer (and MFP!) Jennifer Snelling’s recent article in the Register-Guard or try your own by following my instructions, which are an annotated version of the Extension-researched and approved recipe she posted in the article.
Peaches have just started. Non-local apricots are still on the shelves. They’re generally from E. Washington, not California, which is good news. First plums, too.
Good prices on Hermiston watermelon and cantaloupe.
And for that fresh blackberry pie? Pick up some flour for your dough at Camas Country Mill at the Saturday Lane County farmers market downtown or Springfield farmers market on Friday. Really a brilliant interview with Tom and Sue Hunton of Camas on “Food for Thought” today, perhaps their best yet. Listen to the archive if you want to hear a firsthand account of how life in the south valley is changing for grass seed farmers — or at least how it can change in a very positive and sustainable direction with some capital and vision. I’m so proud of these folks it almost hurts. Oh, and by the way, here’s my adaptation of Camas Country Mill teff cookies, mentioned in the broadcast. :)
What else is in season? What are you loving?