One of the pleasures of discovering the different farms in our area is meeting the people who are putting their heart and soul into working their land and producing beautiful, sustainably grown crops and animals. Yesterday, I made my way to Nostrana in Portland for a book signing party for Dishing Up Oregon: 145 Recipes that Celebrate Farm to Table Flavors by Ashley Gartland.
When I walked into the entrance of the restaurant, I was greeted by a gentleman who waved his arm and welcomed me in as if to include me into the bustling party. The dining room, all shiny wood and windows, was transformed into a marketplace. Imagine tables filled with samples like jams, hazelnuts, olive and hazelnut oils, wine, cheese, baked goods and more! In keeping with the book title, it truly was a celebration of locally grown flavors.
At one particularly busy table with an array of colorful luscious looking jams, I got to talk with Carol, owner of Ayers Creek Farm. With great enthusiasm she talked about her farm, her berries, and polenta. Polenta? One of my favorite foods, and I’m going to be able to buy it locally! She will be selling it, along with their winter greens and jams, in mid-November at the year-round–rain or shine–Hillsdale Farmers’ market.
Another unusual food I snagged was a cute little sample tin of paprika from Viridian Farms. Paprika is a staple in our seasonings cabinet, and I’m looking forward to flavoring my goulash with it on a cold rainy day.
I also got to talking with Paul from Red Ridge Farms about his olive trees and different oils. It was fascinating to hear the story of his search for the olive trees best suited for Oregon’s climate. He sells his oils directly from his farm near Dayton.
I hope you get a chance to try some of these local foods and talk with the people who grow them. We sure do have a bounty here in Oregon, and I’m so thankful to all the farmers who bring us such a variety.