Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Berry Nice!

Ask Donald Kotler of the Southeast Portland cafe Toast what his favorite berry is and you get a frustrated sigh.

"It depends on what I'm doing with it," he begins. "If I'm baking . . . "

The owner of Toast, the small but popular new restaurant in the burgeoning FoPo (Foster-Powell) neighborhood, pauses in mid-sentence. "Well, it depends if I'm making pancakes, syrups, or scones or muffins."

To find out what Donald does with which berries and to get his recipes, you'll have to read "Berry Flair," my article in today's FoodDay section of the Oregonian.


Josh said...

Ahhh, what a nice problem we have here in Portland, we have so many berries to choose from, it's hard to pick a favorite!
While on a garden tour a few weeks ago I noticed that a resident had what he called 'service berries' (Amelanchier arborea) planted. They look a little like big blueberries and are usually native to places like British Columbia. Have you heard of these? If so, is anyone local doing anything with them (ie: cooking/baking/etc.)?

kab said...

You know, I haven't heard of anyone using it, but I'll ask some of my farmer contacts (that means you, Anthony) and let you know if I find anything. In the meantime, there's quite an in-depth entry on the Amelanchier on Wikipedia.

kab said...

And from the erudite Mr. Boutard (of Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston and author of GSNW's "Farm Bulletin" reports) comes this:

"There are many species of Amelanchier in the U.S. In New England, it is called 'shad bush' or 'shad blow' because it flowers as the shad run. The distribution of A. alnifolia, our native species, runs from Alaska to the Andes. The fruits are rather dry, and would find little favor with people in search of 'luscious.' They are called 'saskatoons.' I had thought about picking some a couple weeks ago to bolster our fruit supply, but the waxwings relieved me of the task. I believe the fruits used to be ground into cakes that were a bit like pemmican. I think they are best left for wildlife. The trees in bloom are beautiful. The wood is very dense and hard, used in the past for levers and such."

Lonster said...

I love Toast and loved your article showcasing Donald, however, I must clarify that Toast is in the Woodstock Neighborhood !

Our North boarder is Holgate.
East Border is SE 60th.
West Border is SE 39th Ave.
The South Border jogs into an L, but goes to Crystal Springs along 39th. (FYI) :)

We are so lucky to have a great community supporter (awesome food and friendly staff)like Donald and Toast in our hood !!!

kab said...

Thanks for the clarification on the official neighborhood designation. I realize "FoPo" is a cutesy, commercial designation, but I couldn't resist. (For the record, Donald thinks it's silly, too!)

But you're right, he's a great guy, another one of those people doing the right thing for the right reasons. It was a privilege to give him some well-deserved press.

kab said...

I also contacted the Oregonian's Hungry Gardener columnist, Vern Nelson, who grows three varieties of serviceberries, and he said that a good place to buy the plants (if you want to grow your own) is Forest Farm Nursery in Williams, Oregon.