I’m always thankful I get to live in one of the unsung wonders of the world, the Willamette Valley. As fall begins, however, and the warm weather crops start to produce their best offerings — huge heirloom tomatoes, thick-walled ripe peppers, shelling beans, bags of sweet carrots, little pie pumpkins and the first of the winter squashes — I am astounded by the bounty of Western Oregon.
Our houseguests are in the middle of a long camping trip up and down the Pacific Coast, so we all went to the Saturday Market with an eye on vegetables that can be dehydrated. Needless to say, my house has turned into dried vegetable and beef jerky central, punctuated by nightly feasts of fresh produce in delicious meals. We’re fortunate to be joined by three marvelous cooks, two of whom cook professionally for a research station in the middle of nowhere, and one professional science writer/photographer. It was kind of nice to sit back and let someone *else* take pictures of dinner before we ate it, ha! It’s the foodie version of grace.
So yes, they’re leaving today, and I’ll be a little melancholy to have my kitchen back and cooking alone. They’ve filled the car with enough provisions to last for months, and they’re off to the Cascades. Word on the street is that the golden chanterelles are just about to bust out all over up there…
Fall in the Willamette Valley. Nope, can’t complain!