Dont forget: Winter farmers markets still open
Eek! Our local farmers markets have closed for the season. Where are we to get our produce now?
Fear not, farm fresh fans! We have options galore for Eating Locally this winter- read on.
I discovered two markets reasonably close to Lake Oswego and West Linn that will continue operating this winter. What can you expect to find at the winter market? Think hearty root vegetables, perfect for roasting and dark, leafy greens plus meats, dried beans, fennel, fish, artisan breads, cheeses and more, much more.
Portland Farmers Market will continue each Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Dec. 16. The market convenes in the South Park Blocks by PSU between S.W. Montgomery and Harrison Streets. This is a BIG market with more than a 100 vendors.
Hillsdale Farmers Market is a year- round market. It will be open two Sundays each month November through April. Eamon Molloy, manager of the market, told me he will have meats, including bison, chickens, crab and other seafood, breads and cheeses, nuts and grains. For a schedule of dates and a complete vendor list see their Web site at www.hillsdalefarmersmarket.com. The market is held on the back parking lot at Wilson High School; it is easiest to enter from S.W. Capitol Highway and Sunset.
CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are another option to consider as a source for fresh foods this winter. As a member of a CSA, you prepay for a share of the farm's bounty. Every shareowner receives a portion of the harvest that week. The farmers can really add excitement to your dinner plate as they grow foods beyond the basic carrots and broccoli.
Some CSAs deliver, others ask that you pick the produce up at an assigned place and time.
Our own Luscher Farm CSA still has shares available for the winter. Visit the Web site at www.lakeoswegoparks.org for information about purchasing a share.
For a list of other area CSAs, visit www.pacsac.org-csa-farms.php.
Because we've asked for it, many grocery stores have started carrying local produce. If you want to ensure that what you are buying is locally grown, ask your grocer its origin.
Is it realistic to eat strictly local food? I believe I can be 95 percent loyal to local foods. I will buy bananas and lemons, neither of which grow locally, because my family will want them.
Your answer will depend on your family's food preferences and how experimental you wish to be. Any concerted effort you put toward Eating Locally will make a difference to your family and mine, our community and our farmers.
My friend and cooking buddy Lynne Maginnis introduced me to fresh figs last week. She had spied a fig tree in her neighborhood and traded a bag of apples from her tree for a bag of figs. Lynne made elegant hors d'oeuvres by simply cutting the figs in half and wrapping them with prosciutto. The figs were as beautiful to the eye as they were delicious.
Many farms in our area grow figs, so don't miss out on this year's crop. Read our Greenlight Classifieds to discover what other foods are available.
Here is another fig hors d'oeuvres recipe. Calling for only six ingredients and your barbecue, you can quickly whip these up for entertaining in style!
Bon Appetit - Eat Locally!
Grilled Figs with Rosemary and Goat Cheese
3 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus whole sprigs for garnish
18 plump fresh figs
4 to 6 rosemary branches, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, honey and chopped rosemary. Fill a pastry bag with a plain ¼-inch tip (or a sandwich baggy and snip one corner) with the mixture.
Poke the bottom of each fig with pastry tip or small knife and squeeze about 1 teaspoon of filling into each.
Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan. Make a hole through each stuffed fig crosswise using a wooden or metal skewer. Remove the skewer and replace it with a rosemary branch through the same hole, threading three figs on each branch. Lightly brush the figs with olive oil. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes, just until they begin to brown, turning once.
Transfer the skewered figs directly from the grill to a large platter or individual tapas plates, garnished with rosemary sprigs. Guests can help themselves to a skewer of figs to eat.
If you don't have a rosemary bush to cut skewers, you can make fig florets. Lightly brush the figs with olive oil and grill unfilled for 5 to 8 minutes, until they begin to brown, turning once. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Use a sharp knife to many an X on the stem end of each fig and gently squeeze it open from the blossom end. Pipe a teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture into each fig.
Transfer to a tray garnished with rosemary sprigs.
Serve figs warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Dishing with Style: Secrets to Great Tastes and Beautiful Presentations by Rori Trovato
Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at brandall@lakeoswegore