Just as springtime brings expectations of different cooking styles, so does fall. Personally, I think along the lines of soup and trying some of the bread recipes that I’ve been saving. I thought it would be interesting to talk to the vendors at the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market and ask what kinds of cooking and eating the cooler fall weather inspires and what they bring to the market at this time of year.
Karen Burcher, co-owner of Burcher Ranch Beef, says she gets to craving pot roast.
“Nothing fancy, just a good chuck roast, browned and simmered with some chicken broth and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic.” she said. “Served over mashed potatoes, of course.”
The Mushroom People greet fall with mushroom risotto. Their specialty, Mushroom Gold, added to the chanterelles and lobster mushrooms, give risotto a luxurious, “comfort food” flavor.
Bluebird Bakery is featuring, of course, pumpkin spice cupcakes. But listen to this and feel your taste buds come to attention: Maple Butter Pecan cupcakes … oh, yeah.
Robin, at Robin’s Creations, is offering dilly beans, pickled beets, spicy pickled garlic, and dill jalapeno mix. Sounds like a spread for watching the big game on TV with friends. She also makes apple butter in the fall and features a low-sugar apple butter.
Thyme 4 A Chef owner Rick Stone will be selling his famous 6 inch fruit pies soon. He says that fall is pie baking time in his life, so he offers apple, pumpkin, chocolate pecan and cherry, plus a few others that strike his fancy or that customers request. Pumpkin scones are also featured at this time of year and Apple crostada slices are another popular fall treat.
Local Fixe, your one-stop shop for fresh pasta, features butternut squash pasta. Cooked al dente and drizzled with browned butter, this is a simple side to go with almost anything.
Down at the Firehouse Fudge booth, Dean was enthusiastic about his fall offerings. This guy comes up with some fantastic flavor combinations and makes me think of the mad scientist in his laboratory. Available now or in the next few weeks: Egg Nog, Divinity, Pumpkin Spice, Rum Raisin, Amaretto, Gingerbread, Banana Split, Tin Roof Sundae and Peppermint Bark. But wait, there’s more. Closer to Christmas, Dean pulls out all the stops with Cranberry fudge and Chocolate Peppermint Crunch, which is basically layers of chocolate cookie crumbles, chocolate ganache, crushed candy canes, then a thick layer of fudge, topped with more of the crumbles. I could go into a sugar coma, just typing that description.
At Goodog Bakery, Jerri offers the dogs pumpkin treats, remarking that dogs love pumpkin, and I can vouch for that. She also makes doggie donuts. She has, for the two-legged customers, pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread and sugar cookies, either decorated for the coming holidays, or plain so you can decorate your own. That sounds like a fun thing to do with your kids.
Fishing Vessel Roma stirs a can of tuna into a batch of mac and cheese … simple, quick and even a novice cook can succeed with this one. Personally, I think their tuna is colossal in a grilled tuna salad sammy, with a nice slice of cheese melted and dribbling down the side. Yeah, baby.
Hart’s Desire, purveyor of spice blends, offers three particular blends that are especially suited to fall cooking. Sweet Breakfast, an apple pie spice type of flavor is great for all quick breads, stirred into sugar cookies, oatmeal and probably sprinkled on ice cream. Chili Bowl is just what it sounds like, and we all know that a bowl of chili is required while watching any sports event onTV. Jambalaya Mix is for those of you who like incendiary heat stirred into your food.
Deb from Deb’s Garden is promoting fresh table grapes, which, thanks to the cooler weather, are honey sweet right now. She and her husband Dave enjoy winter squash in creamed soups, and her favorite? Get a winter pear and core it, leaving it whole. Wrap in pastry and bake till tender. Talk about a way to make a dramatic presentation.
When I approached Susan at Papa Curt’s Salsa, she didn’t hesitate when I asked about fall foods. Fall is soup time at their house and salsa is a great addition to any soup. Besides adding flavor, you can vary the spiciness of the soup by using a hotter or milder variety. Her go-to fall quick meal is a baked potato topped with black beans, cheese, sour cream and salsa.
Two Sisters, with Sierra at the helm, offers an unusual treat… Lavender Syrup. She uses it to make lavender lattes. She also offers small apple pudding cakes, which would probably go very nicely with your lavender latte.
Mountain Naturals, in addition to their line of breads and other baked goods, will be featuring cranberry walnut muffins in the near future. Personally, I think that their bread would be fantastic for toasted tuna-cheese sammys.
Rhonda, at Umpqua Valley Beeworks, uses their Kalapuya honey to drizzle over a whole roast chicken. Sweet crispy skin, oh, my. I might be tempted to try that technique with some added orange juice concentrate stirred into the honey, pre-drizzle.
Growing Miracles Lavender Farm owner, Keri Roid, always amazes me with her food offerings, mainly because I think of lavender as something you smell, not eat. Keri usually has some lavender shortbread cookies out on the display, as well as lavender tea. She makes lavender lemonade in the summer and can tell you how. Right now, she’s been making a deadly treat with the hazelnuts — chocolate dipped hazelnuts. Yeah, for reals. She runs out early, but she has fresh hazelnuts, all bagged up and ready for you to work up your own treats great Christmas gift ideas.
Riggs Family Farms highly recommends tomato soup, made with some chopped zucchini, onions and shrimp. Yellow pineapple heirloom tomatoes are the choice for this soup and you can imagine how pretty it is.
Champion Club Farms owners Rylan and Erica are enjoying stews with their freshly pulled carrots and beets. One of their favorite ways to start the day is with an egg on toast, topped with their micro greens. They sell sprouted sunflower greens, and these are a little more sturdy than some of the sprouts from tiny seeds. They work well in an omelet, raw or with cream cheese on toasted bread.
I caught up with Glen Lehne from Lehne Farms while he was eating lunch. Between bites and slurps, he said that roasted veggies, on their own or in soups, is a favorite especially at this time of year with the cooler fall evenings. He likes apple desserts, and who doesn’t? The spicy Asian mix, a blend of mixed greens, gets sweeter in the cooler weather and makes a great salad base, topped with sliced pears and chopped toasted hazelnuts. Maybe a few crumbles of blue cheese to gild the lily?
Tracey at Blue Nile Authentic Hummus, makes an eggplant dip called baba ghanoush that she serves with either naan bread or veggie slices. This dip, spread on naan or a tortilla and topped with some sprouts or salad mix, makes a great light meal, especially for vegetarians. You could add some shredded chicken and maybe a drizzle of dressing of your choice.
Wing Shadow Farm, home of the best caramel pecan rolls in the history of history, at least according to me, offers a sugar free apple butter that has no artificial sweeteners, relying instead on the natural sweetness of the apples as they cook down into velvety goodness. For those with gluten issues, she offers gluten free pumpkin pie donuts.
Linnea Marie Farms has a lot to offer at this time of year. Jim says he enjoys the peppers at this time of year because as well as being hot and spicy, there is a little mellowness to them because of the change in the weather. Salsas are being made for fresh use as well as being canned for later use. Joni said that her favorite side dish is broiled tomatoes. It’s a beautiful way to use the last of the tomatoes! Slice tomatoes in half, sprinkle with your choice of seasoning and top with grated parmesan cheese. Run them under the broiler until the cheese melts and gets a little crisp around the edges, By this time the tomato will have softened and collapsed a bit.
Suzy, at Big Lick Farm, looks forward to squash pie in the fall. She and her husband and young son also like butternut squash soup and roasted brussels sprouts. She slices the bigger ones in half, leaves the little ones whole and puts them on a rimmed cookie sheet in a hot oven, after drizzling them with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Roast until softened. Personally I fine it much easier to dump the prepared sprouts into a plastic bag and shake them around with the oil.
Over at Aunt Euna’s Table, Judy Lovett says her favorite way to use her sweet and spicy condiments at this time of year, is to cook up a pot of your favorite beans and top a bowl of them with some Bread and Butter Jalapenos.
Well now, if I haven’t given you a few ideas and a push to cook up some fall goodness you must not be very hungry! Come to the Umpqua Valley Farmer’s Market and find all the ingredients you need to proceed with any to these ideas. The market is full and beautiful at this time of year so come enjoy it!
P.S. I couldn’t leave without telling you what I’ve been cooking! 16 bean soup with honey cornbread alongside, fresh tomato cream soup, fried green tomatoes, glazed carrots, taco salad with roasted corn kernels, black beans and all the rest of the veggies that belong on a taco salad, fresh apple cake, apple crisp and baked apples stuffed with dried cranberries, Tomato sandwiches with home made potato bread, and chiles rellenos, stuffed with leftover mashed potatoes, shredded cheese and leftover shredded pot roast — Eating well is the best revenge. Revenge for what, I don’t know.