By Arwen McGilvra-
After writing the last 3 article in this series I finally get to my favorite part, the great bounty of local foods we enjoy in Oregon. You can find just about anything locally grown with the exception of citrus fruit. From kiwis to cabbage to crab it’s all Oregon grown. On top of that almost all Oregon farms are family owned. Over 98% of Oregon farms and ranches are family owned and operated. (Source Oregon Farm Bureau.)
- Oregon is #1 in the nation for Christmas trees, hazelnuts, loganberries, black raspberries, ryegrass seed, orchard grass seed, crimson clover, sugar beets for seed, red clover seed, fescue seed, blackberries, boysenberries, potted azaleas, and peppermint.
- Oregon is #2 in the United States for the production of hops, snap beans, and spearmint.
- Oregon is in the top 5 nationally for nursery stock, blueberries, sweet cherries, pears, dried herbs, green peas, sweet corn,
cranberries, and wine grapes.
- Oregon is a specialty-crop state with 220+ recognized commodities.
When you add in the number of items grown only for the local markets that number is even bigger. And there are plenty of resources to help you find all those local goodies. We have listed them on our local foods page. The best of these is Oregon’s Bounty – A guide to buying fresh from growers by the Oregon Farm Bureau. It includes a guide for seasonal produce, and a listing of farm stands by area. So whether you are looking for marion berries in the Portland Metro area or cherries in the Gorge they can point you in the right direction. They also have searchable directory online which can help you narrow down what you are looking for by area.
Once you’ve bought your seasonal produce Oregon has another great resource to help you preserve them. OSU Extension has classes and other resources to help you learn how to can, freeze and dry your fresh produce to make it last after the season is over. Check out our local Linn county extension for a listing of upcoming classes. There is also an online library of resources for food preservation if you want to learn on your own. Learn to make salsa, or pickles, or jam. They also have programs for gardening and small farms.
Celebrate Oregon Agriculture is another resource for using that fresh local produce. Videos produced in partnership with the Oregon Dept of Ag and KATU news showcase recipes and news about Oregon grown produce. A big hit is their Best Kale Chips Ever! recipe. I really enjoy fresh asparagus and they have a great recipe for fixing roasted asparagus.
This is high season for fresh produce of all kinds. So go out there and enjoy!
Remember to use the resources on our local foods page to help you get the most out of the season.
Arwen McGilvra is a farm girl, whose family owns a multi-generation farm here in the Willamette Valley. Currently the farm raises seed crops, mostly grass seed. But in the past they’ve raised everything from strawberries to flax (which was used to make linen parachutes for WWII) to onions. She’s a member of American Agri-Women and it’s local affiliate Oregon Women for Agriculture. Passionate about farming and science, Arwen also enjoys gardening. Professionally she is a content manager and web developer known as The Tech Chef.