niblets: september song edition

This tomato is absolutely tired of the heat.  Hear me complain about it, and myriad other issues, on my first co-hosting gig on KLCC’s Food for Thought, this Sunday, September 11, at noon.  We’ve got a great show planned with a special guest from a local pizzeria (who also co-founded a prominent organic pasta company — any guesses?).

If you’re longing for East Coast summers at the shore, stroll over to PartyCart for their tarragon-shrimp roll (above).  It’s an interpretation of a lobster roll, and I daresay better than most lobster rolls out there with homemade grilled, buttered bread rigged out like a hotdog roll.  Plus, fresh-as-can-be Oregon bay shrimp.  And you don’t have to fight a hurricane to get it!

I ran into my friend Richard there, co-proprietor of the almost-famous Indy Pop soda company, who told me over a watermelon-ginger green soda that they’re working hard to roll out soda syrups for restaurant set-ups.  Soon, they’ll be bigger than Coke!  And speaking of cola, a new raspberry cola flavor is in the works. Great article on Indy Pop in the Eugene Weekly Chow! section recently, too.

On the other side of the lot, business was booming for Red Wagon Creamery.  Eugene’s new cult ice cream!  I watched them sell out every flavor by 8 p.m.  Co-owner and wit Stuart shared his growing experience with making natural bases and what goes in to other ice creams.  All I can say is check your labels, folks –yuck!  I was particularly pleased to see that their Buttered Corn ice cream will still be around for the near future.  It’s delicious, a buttery, icy version of kettle corn made with local Bodacious sweet corn and organic butter.

Yeah, that stuff.  Mmmm….

In other news, the Willamette Farm & Food Coalition is at it again, with a series of fundraising dinners with local restaurants.  Upcoming WFFC dinners include Marché, The Davis, and Ratatouille Bistro.  Next up, a delicious partnership with The Rabbit Bistro (update your web menu for cryin’ out loud, Rabbits!).  I’m a huge Rabbit fan, and would strongly suggest you set aside your inhibitions and try this set menu dinner, featuring some of our best local food:

On Tuesday September 20th Chef Gabriel Gil of the Rabbit Bistro will offer a 5-course dinner showcasing foods from Creative Growers and Boondockers’ Farm, with wine pairings from Willamette Valley vineyards.

Tickets are $80 (50% of which benefits WFFC) and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets. Doors open at 6pm.

This event will be limited to the first 40 folks who sign up, so if you are a fan of Chef Gil’s at the Rabbit, don’t hesitate, order your tickets now!

Over at the Lane County farmers market, harvest is underway.  I was pleased and delighted to see that Mountain View Farm out of Junction City had not only red and green okra, but local sweet potatoes, too. That’s what I like about the South (Willamette Valley)!

Ross Penhallegon of Lane County Extension, for those of you who don’t know him, is a fabulous resource for what’s happening locally with our major crops.  Read all of his informative, timely, haiku-like field reports on the OSU Garden Hints Forum on Facebook.  This one was posted on Wednesday:

Apples ripening nicely.
Asian pears – about ready.
Peaches – nice but nearing end.
Plums – near ripe but small crop.
Veggies – very good.
Tomatoes – coming on full scale.
Few insects still.
Enjoy the weather.

As we venture into tomato canning and salsa season, I’d like to remind you that tomatoes are one of those risky foods to can if you don’t use an approved recipe.  There’s much more variance in acidity than there used to be in tomatoes, so it’s essential to waterbath-can with lemon juice or pressure-can. Try the Extension recipes in the downloadable .pdf files, “Canning Tomatoes and Tomato Products” and “Salsa Recipes for Canning.” I’d suggest the recipe for chile salsa, if you like hot peppers, or tomato paste salsa if you like it thick.  Too many green tomatoes?  Clicky here!

There are also fall strawberries and raspberries, summer’s last hurrah.  Not the best for jams, but pick up a flat to freeze, or dry the strawberries with your Gravenstein apples, now ready for preserving at a number of local farms.

And don’t forget the fish for a simple grilled outdoor supper! Fisherman’s Market reports this morning:

Fresh fish in today: Blue Marlin, Sashimi Ahi Tuna, Oregon Albacore Tuna, True Cod, and Snapper! Also fresh Columbia River Chinook, Alaskan Halibut, and Ling Cod! Or get some fresh shellfish: Live Oregon Bay Crab, Main Lobster, Coos Bay Oysters, Savory Clams, Blue Mussels, Sea Scallops, and for a limited time Bay Scallops from Mexico!

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