Saturday, July 31, 2010

Farm Bulletin: Winter? Already?

While most of us feel like summer has barely begun here in the Willamette Valley, contributor Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm is getting his winter crops planted.

High summer is a frenetic blend of tending, harvesting and planting for the winter. In the tending department, our farm staff spent four days thinning fruit in the vineyard. We remove about three quarters of the clusters, and make sure they are positioned where the air will circulate around them. The vineyard floor looks as though a storm passed through it. Last year, we neglected this task in the frenzy, and the table grapes with a muscat in their background were garbage. There were too many clusters on the plant, and what should have been a sublime treat was instead flavorless and mildew-ridden. Last year's loss made us more aggressive thinners, and we hope the time is rewarded.

The winter crops are looking good. The most important planting went in about two weeks ago on the new moon. The chicories (photo, top) take about ten days to emerge, and we hold our breath every year hoping they will sprout in good order. Neat files of chicory and rutabagas are now marking the rows. This week we turned our attention planting out the cabbage and cauliflower seedlings. In the past, we seeded them directly into the field, and the result was amateurish to say the least. This year, Charlie Harris of Flamingo Ridge loaned us his vacuum seeder allowing us to grow a good number of starts. If all goes well, we might have a good supply of cabbage for the market, and sauerkraut for our table.

Field corn and beans are looking good, and our decision to plant them may be rewarded. The winter squash is a complete failure. Although we have always seeded them directly, the cabbage experience has us thinking we may grow some squash starts next year. For long season crops such as squash, roots and chicories, the schedule is unforgiving. A second planting is possible, but never as satisfactory.

Want to drive growers crazy, and watch their eyes twitch and the teeth grind? Wait until they a have a table full of beautiful boysenberries or purslane, and ask them if they will have more next week because the kitchen is so hot you don't feel like putting up preserves or pickling the purslane.

Yes, we know it's hot, we were out in the field harvesting them all day Saturday. And we also know how hard it is to get market on time; we were up at 5 am loading the van. We also know the season is short, and a hailstorm or spike in the temperature can wipe out what remains. In days, the leaf miners with render the purslane unusable. For us that's an old refrain. Every grower knows the heartbreak and frustration of returning with with an excess of some beautiful fruit or vegetable. Two weeks ago, we returned from the market, put away the tent and baskets, changed over the irrigation, and then made a big bunch of purslane pickles. Nothing better than a hot kitchen at the end of market day.

Pickled Purslane

Purslane has a slightly tart quality and is very high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Our staff keeps a nice kitchen garden outside of their front doors. For them, verdolagas are an essential green. They are delicious boiled, sautéed, pickled or as a salad. The Lebanese serve them with yoghurt. The French salt purslane overnight before adding it to a salad. Boiled, it can be dressed with a bit olive oil and ground pepper. Or mix the wilted leaves into a potato salad.

For us, purslane is an essential pickle. Many books suggest pickling just the stem. We prefer to pickle the whole shoot—leaves and stem together. This recipe works for two or three bags of purslane:

We heat and add a tablespoon of salt to 1-1/2 cups of water, then mix in an equal amount of white wine vinegar.  Add a few cloves of garlic, quartered, a tablespoon of peppercorns and a dried pepper.  Drop the purslane into the heated vinegar mixture and let it wilt for a bit.  Pack the purslane and vinegar mix in a mason jar. If you need to, top off with vinegar and water in equal proportions. Store in the refrigerator. We start using them about an hour later, but they will keep for several months.  Some recipes call for full strength vinegar, but we much prefer it diluted.

Purslane photo from the Oklahoma Biological Survey.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The "L" Word: Leftovers…Again?

Once again I pulled out the "L" word for dinner. As in "leftovers." And why, you might well ask, does a dinner made from leftovers deserve a post rather than some fabulous new food item used in some unusual way that I ran across on an arcane food blog?

Because leftovers are, I suspect, highly under-discussed as a means of feeding ourselves. I mean, how creative can anyone be if they have to put dinner on the table seven nights a week? The expense alone would kill a regular budget, not to mention a normal spirit. Plus, I don't know about you, but there are always bits of this and pieces of that floating around in plastic tubs in our fridge.

Like the other night. Dave had come home from work, I had nothing in mind for dinner and I couldn't really justify spending the bucks to go out since we'd already done that a few nights before. In other words, it was a pretty typical evening.

So, like on other evenings, I strapped on my pith helmet and opened the door of the fridge. Hmmm. A stack of heirloom tomatoes slices left from a platter I'd served guests. A large russet potato that had not been used in a potato salad. Some luscious grilled leg of lamb that wasn't enough for dinner by itself.

A picture was forming in my mind, but I couldn't quite bring it into focus. I opened the veg bin and pawed through its contents. Then I remembered two bags of fenugreek greens I'd bought from Ayers Creek the week before that may, just may, still be usable. (Does any of this sound familiar?)

An onion, some chopped garlic and a tablespoon of curry brought it all together into what I have to say was a pretty fine dinner. Considering I had no idea where I was going when I started.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Livin' in the Blurbs: Bibles, Bombay and Bikes

With all the hoopla over locavores, 100-mile diets and plowing up lawns to make gardens, you'd think that eating local was a brand new idea. But since the mid-80s author Janie Hibler has made a career writing about the goodness that comes from the Northwest, starting with "Fair Game–A Hunter's Cookbook" and "Dungeness Crabs and Blackberry Cobblers." Her "The Berry Bible"has just been republished by Amazon, with its histories and recipes for every berry imaginable, from cloudberries and currants to cape gooseberries and salmonberries. You can meet Hibler, sample recipes from the book and pick up a signed copy this Saturday at the Beaverton Farmers' Market, so plan to stop by!

Details: Janie Hibler, author of The Berry Bible. Sat., July 31, 10-11:30 am. Beaverton Farmers' Market, On SW Hall Blvd. between 3rd and 5th Sts. in Beaverton.

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The website Budget Travel recently named Portland as the world's best place to eat street food, but at just a few years old, food cart culture here can't hold a candle to the ancient art that is the street food of India. My friend Sophie Rahman, who sells classic Indian street cuisine at her Masala booth at the Hollywood Farmers' Market, is offering a class on Chowpatty, the street food of India that she describes as "India’s answer to the Pacific Northwest’s passion for healthy snack food eaten on the go." Made with Chat-patta spices to create such portable treats as aloo-chaat, bhel-poori and bhajia, they are commonly eaten during the day along with a cool glass of lassi or a cup of spicy chai. She adds that most of the dishes are vegetarian and are made using rice and lentils and rice and lentil flours. Having taken one of Sophie's classes, I can guarantee you'll learn a lot and eat very, very well.

Details: Chowpatty: Street Food of India with Sophie Rahman of Masala. Two dates available: Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, both from 6-9 pm. Classes limited to 6 students each. $50 per person. E-mail for registration information.

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Bikes are starting to rival beer as icons of Portland culture, and one summer event, the Second Annual Hopworks Biketobeerfest, brings them together in a mash-up of beer bellies and spandex. In addition to 15 Hopworks beers on tap, and with proceeds going to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Portland Sunday Parkways, it'll feature live music, a hand-built bicycle show, Goldsprints roller races, a bike toss and other bike-related insanity. Pedal your own bone-shaker on down to this all-bike, no cars event and raise a pint to two wheels!

Details: 2nd Annual Hopworks Biketobeerfest. Sat., Aug. 28, Noon-10 pm. Hopworks Urban Brewery, 2944 SE Powell Blvd. Phone 503-232-4677.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Monster a Mother Could Love

It must have been the feeling that Dr. Frankenstein had when he first imagined making life. Unfortunately his creation was made from the stitched-together parts of dead bodies and he, like Prometheus mentioned in the subtitle to Mary Shelley's novel, was punished for his affront to the deity.

My creation, much less gruesome, much more tasty, was stitched together from two different recipes and would, with luck, only please any deity that checked in from on high.

I was pining for posole and its rich, corny flavor again, but this time I wanted to make it using a verde sauce rather than the posole rojo I'd done before. Then I remembered an easy tomatillo sauce that had absolutely killed in some enchiladas verde I made last year. Plus I had some leftover roasted tomatillos in the freezer that I could tell were reaching their "use by" date.

The result? Rave reviews from angels, archangels and prophets (i.e. our friends and neighbors). This would be fantastic topped with crema or sour cream, sprinkled with cilantro and served with tortillas and rice, or spooned into tacos with the same, and it would freeze well, too. So make plenty. You never know when a hungry deity or two might be passing by.

Posole Verde

For the posole:
12 oz. dried posole or hominy
Salt to taste
3-4 lbs. pork shoulder cut in 1 1/2" cubes
Juice of 1 lime

For the roasted tomatillo chile salsa:
1 lb. tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 yellow onion, peeled, sliced and quartered
4 garlic cloves
2 ancho chiles, roasted, skins removed, stemmed and seeded
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 c. chopped cilantro leaves
1 lime, juiced
Additional cilantro and lime wedges for serving at the table

Put dried posole into non-reactive bowl or Dutch oven and cover with water. Soak overnight. Drain posole and put back in Dutch oven in enough salted water to cover. Bring to boil and simmer for at least 2 hours until softened.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, quartered onion and garlic for 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the roasted chiles, cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still a little chunky. Add more salt to taste.

Add meat and tomatillo sauce to cooked hominy in Dutch oven and stir to combine, adding more water if needed. Bring to a boil on the stove, then lower heat and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours or until meat can be mashed with a wooden spoon. Stir in lime juice and serve with rice and tortillas.

Magic Beans

Contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food has a magical way with seasonal vegetables that allows their full flavor to burst from each bite.

I picked up the long, flat green beans at the farmers' market recently, and this is how I usually serve them.

Romano Beans with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Cook the beans on plenty of well-salted boiling water for about 4 minutes, then drain and cool before snipping off the stem end and cutting them into bite-sized pieces.

Rinse, clean and chop a couple of salt-packed anchovies (oil-packed work, but they’re not as tasty). Soak a couple of tablespoons of salt-packed capers (ditto on brine-packed), changing the water a couple of times. Dice a shallot. Combine with about 4 parts extra virgin olive oil and 1 part Katz Sparkling Wine vinegar (the Katz’s changed the name from Champagne to honor the notion of place names) and whisk until emulsified.

Toss the beans with the vinaigrette and top with sliced hard boiled egg.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Sip, A Nosh, A Meal

We'd just stopped in for a quick drink, but I can't help myself. The moment I see fresh oysters on a menu, I have to order them. Especially when I know that the owners of the restaurant love these little jewels as much as I do, which is definitely the case with Randy and Nancy at Bar Avignon. Even more so when Randy suggests which rosé would particularly complement the slurping. Dave, on the other hand, is a beer-and-oyster man, and Randy always has a select list on tap, including one on cask.

The evening we dropped in they were just finishing up a free tasting of rieslings that Randy had brought in to the back table, a space I swear one of these days we'll reserve for a special occasion dinner. But tonight it was drinks and snacks at the bar, watching over the prep counter as the staff shucked oysters, sliced vegetables and plated food.

After decimated the oysters, the watermelon salad with cinnamon seemed like an appropriate palate cleanser, and the salty cured olives and basil made it one of those combos I'm going to copy here at home. (Come to think of it, it would also make a great appetizer on a warm summer evening. Hmmmmm…)

The salmon wrapped in a grape leaf that came next was topped with pesto and came with a side of roasted rounds of yellow squash. Call me crazy, but I thought the charred grape leaf was the best accompaniment, giving a crisp, slightly smoky crunch to the fish.

For an impromptu dinner, one that was originally going to be just a quick stop for a drink, it was not only lovely but relatively inexpensive, especially when we split the plates between the two of us. You gotta love a place where coming in, hanging out and having a quick drink and a nosh is so easy.

Details: Bar Avignon, 2138 SE Division St. 503-517-0808.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Market Roundup: Buckman and Hillsdale

All I can say is, I'm sure glad I was wearing my sunglasses. And it wasn't because the sun was streaming down for the first time in several days.

There I was, innocently walking down the aisle at the Buckman Farmers' Market, when I turned a corner and was nearly knocked over by the brilliant, fluorescent glow coming from the tomatoes at the Denison Farms stand. So bright it looked like each one was lit from within, they would have made stunning party lights strung along a wire.

In hues of yellow, orange-yellow, red, purple and green, these heirlooms were so gorgeous I was grabbing them up by the armload before sanity returned and I limited myself to two each. (Or was it three?) I know the tomatoes in my garden won't be ready for at least another four to six weeks, so it's good to know where I can get my fix. I just need to remember to bring my shades.

Details: Buckman Farmers' Market (formerly Eastbank). Thurs., 3-7 pm. At SE 20th and Salmon in the parking lot of Hinson Baptist Church

* * *

The Hillsdale Farmers' Market has always had a reputation as being a cook's market with its impressive roster of many of the highest-quality vendors in the city, some of them exclusive to this market. A regular at several other markets in town but a relative newcomer to Hillsdale, Lyle Stanley of Gee Creek Farm can be counted on to have right-out-of-the-earth produce and to be wearing his trademark Indiana Jones-style hat. Like many market vendors, he's been experimenting with what are known as value-added products, in his case flours and flour mixes that are ground from grain grown in the area. On the day I visited, he was showcasing kamut, spelt and whole wheat bread flour, along with packages of a wheat-free five grain cereal and whole wheat pancake mix. Reports are that these are selling well, and you can expect the offerings to expand.

Details: Hillsdale Farmers' Market. Sun., 10 am-2 pm. At the intersection of SW Capitol Hwy. and Sunset Blvd. in the parking lot of Wilson High School behind the Hillsdale Shopping Center.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Part of the fun of having a vegetable garden is the anticipation. First in the planning of what to grow…lettuce? Chard? Kale? Squash? Tomatoes? What kinds? How many? Then the trip to the nursery for seeds and starts.

But have you ever thought about where those seeds come from?

Frank Morton, an organic seed producer in Philomath, Oregon, has some valuable insights into the world of seeds. You can also look at an animated chart showing the seed industry structure from Phil Howard, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University. Food for thought!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Win Afghanistan

Three years ago a book came out that spoke volumes about America's "big stick" approach in its relations with the rest of the world. That book, written by my friend and Portland author David Oliver Relin, outlined a different approach taken by a mountain climber named Greg Mortenson, who believed that the education of girls was the real solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Four million copies later, that book is now, finally, being read by an American military desperate to find a way forward. To that end, I thought it appropriate to reprint my essay from 2007.

There aren't many books that I'd put on the list of required reading for everyone on the planet. Other than the usual religious tomes (Koran, Bible, etc.), maybe Darwin's Origin of the Species, Homer's Odyssey, Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude and various other classics, there are also a few books written recently that speak to our time and our place in a powerful and moving way. One is Muhammad Yunus' Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, which tells the story of one man taking a small step to help someone else, that small step leading to what has become a revolutionary change in the economic relationship between some of the world's largest financial institutions and the poorest people on earth.

Another book that demonstrates the power of one individual acting alone to achieve great things is Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time, just out in paperback and written by Portland author and Parade Magazine contributing editor David Oliver Relin. In it, he writes about an American mountain climber, Greg Mortenson, who gets lost after an unsuccessful attempt to climb K2. Nearly dead from injuries and exposure, he is taken in by the people of the small Pakistani mountain village of Korphe. Sharing their meager rations and gradually recovering, Mortenson promises to return and build a school for their children. This leads to the establishment of the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. As part of the contract with the villagers, who actually construct the schools from supplies provided by the Institute, they must agree that at least half the students in the school will be girls.

In addition to the incredible story of Mortenson's miraculous survival, there are vivid, engaging portraits of the men and women of these rural villages and the terrible price that they have paid for living in the middle of warring civilizations. It presents a hopeful, ground-level alternative to the clash of titans that is ripping their (and our) world apart. A great gift for yourself, your children or your favorite government official, this is well worth the time.

Details: Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What Can I Bring?

Tis the season for barbecues, casual gatherings with friends and eating outdoors. Which means the question "What can I bring?" is getting a workout. In my mom's day, you could get by with a block of cream cheese smothered in a jar of barbecue sauce or salsa, with a box of Triscuits or, her favorite, Wheat Thins, to scoop it up.

But with the plethora of farmers' markets offering a bounty of prepared foods and produce, why settle for chips and salsa when you can pick up a loaf of rye flatbread from Fressen and a cute round of Valentine or Adelle cheese from Ancient Heritage Dairy (right)? Or how about a hunk of paté from Chop with fennel crackers from La Panzanella? (Sorry, Mom…)

And soon, oh so very soon, we'll be swimming in tomatoes, both at the markets and here at home. Which brings me to a brilliant solution, if I do say so myself, that  I came up with when my assigned dish at our block party was a side salad. Those diabolical devils at New Seasons had a huge display of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes luring shoppers with their siren song of summer, and a nearby aisle had tubs of cute little mozzarella balls marinating in olive oil and herbs.

Problem solved with not even 10 minutes of assembly, and the side benefit of wowing the neighbors. Hee hee!

Heirloom Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Oil-cured Olives

4 heirloom tomatoes, preferably contrasting colors
Small tub marinated mozzarella balls
12 oil-cured olives, pitted
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice tomatoes thickly and arrange on platter. Halve small mozzarella balls or, if using larger balls, slice and scatter over top of tomatoes. Chop olives roughly and scatter. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Travels with Chili: On the Wild Imnaha

Yes, we tent camp. But with a car. And a queen-sized blow-up mattress. And a fully stocked bar. It's just the way we roll.

The Indian Crossing campground, 50 miles outside the town of Joseph and on the banks of the Imnaha River, was just what we wanted. Arriving mid-week, we found one other couple camped there, and they left early the next morning, leaving us as the sole occupants if you don't count the herd of deer that apparently called the area home.

After setting up the tent and the stove, the first order of business was a batch of martinis to wash away the dust from a day of driving. Because we'd arrived late, we made a quick fire from scavenged wood scraps and sat down to a sophisticated dinner of deli sandwiches while we sipped our cocktails and watched the thousands of stars come out.

A note about the campground while I'm at it: As you can hear in the video above, the river was a noisy and constant presence. I thought of it as white noise and got used to it roaring in the background, but if you want a quieter experience there are several sites away from the river bank. The best campsite is lucky number 13, a double site that's plenty big enough for two good-sized tents and is situated next to the river with a small pebbled beach.

As for the river itself, it's not terribly deep but flows swiftly as it drops from its source at 7000 feet up on Eagle Cap. So those with dogs and children need to keep a wary eye on them if they wander near the river, since the current flows swiftly even near the banks. We had Walker with us, and though he's not one to go jumping into bodies of water, I watched him carefully whenever we were near it.

Sponsored planters in downtown Joseph.

The second day we drove into Joseph to explore the town and have lunch at Mutiny Brewing. The small Western town finds itself in the happy position of catering to skiers and hunters in the winter and outdoor enthusiasts and tourists in the summer, and has a fair number of artists and sculptors as year-round residents. It's also recently started a campaign, funded by state and federal grants, to spruce up its downtown with planter boxes sponsored and maintained by local residents and businesses, many featuring bronze statues of wildlife crafted by local artisans.

The view from Mutiny Brewing's front yard.

Mutiny Brewing itself has a large front garden that spills out onto the street, its front-row view of the Wallowas putting it in a dead heat with Pelican Pub as the prettiest view from a pub in Oregon. Brewer and owner Kari Gjerdingen's beers were spectacular, as might be expected from the brewer who put Terminal Gravity's beers on the list of must-have Oregon brews.

Kari Gjerdingen in her element.

Her small but much-loved four-barrel system allows her to put two or three beers on tap at any given time, and fortunately Kari is as dedicated to the quality of the food she serves as the beer she brews. She was somewhat embarrassed that she had only two beers on tap, but they were a fantastic hefeweizen and a truly impressive ESB. The hef was appropriately  cloudy and light, with a slight hint of a saison that Kari said came from the Belgian yeast she used to brew it. The ESB had a very assertive maltiness that was somehow not overly sweet, with great body and flavor. We both gave this beer a huge thumbs-up.

Negronis on a stump.

After a stroll around town, it was back to the wilderness where Dave built a fire in the firepit as the sun was going down, the better to have coals to cook steak and potatoes. When the coals were ready he sliced the potatoes and doused them in olive oil and garlic, then wrapped each one in tin foil and set them in the fire. As they cooked we had some of the premixed Negronis he’d brought, then with the coals at their peak he cooked the steak and I made a salad from homegrown greens. With a nice bottle of inexpensive French red (an ’08 Domaine Chapoton Cotes du Rhone), it was a perfect meal.

With the resident deer haunting the edges of the light thrown by the fire, we again watched the stars come out and, once in our sleeping bags, slept without waking until morning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Livin' in the Blurbs: Summer Doin's

Just when I thought Chrissie Zaerpoor at Kookoolan Farms couldn't possibly get any busier, I got her latest e-mail containing a ton of new cheesemaking classes (see Calendar, left), including a second session of "How to Butcher Your Own Chicken," a must for those of you who may be finding your older chickens aren't producing quite like they used to. Chrissie and her husband Koorosh will teach you how to kill, dress and prepare your chickens using the humane methods pioneered by the amazing Temple Grandin. Students at the first session last month came back with raves such as "this class was a transformative life event," "thanks for providing such a supportive environment" and "I can honestly say I will feel much more comfortable butchering my own chickens in the future."

Details: How to Butcher Your Own Chicken. Sat., Sept. 11, 1-4 pm; $50 includes $10 coupon for farm store; reservations required. Check calendar at left or farm website for list of other classes. Kookoolan Farms, 15713 Hwy. 47, Yamhill. Phone 503-730-7535.

* * *

Hothouse tomatoes are starting to make an appearance in farmers' markets around town, and it won't be long (please oh please) until we're flooded with tons of the sweet orbed fruits. If you love them as much as I do and spend most of the rest of the year dreaming about them, then you won't want to miss the 8th Annual Farmington Gardens Tomato Festival on Sept. 11th in Beaverton. They'll have more than 80 varieties of tomatoes to taste, as well as presentations on how to grow bigger and better tomatoes at home, along with chef demos (with samples!). It's a great opportunity to taste new and unusual types, and to start dreaming about what you'll be wanting to grow in next year's garden.

Details: 8th Annual Farmington Gardens Tomato Festival. Sat., Sept. 11. Farmington Gardens, 21815 SW Farmington Rd., Beaverton. Phone 503-649-4568.

* * *

When I think of summer concerts, strains of contemporary bluegrass, folk, rock or jazz wafting across open grass dotted with picnickers float through my mind. But other forms and venues are available, too, as exemplified by the 13th Annual William Byrd Festival coming up in August. Started right here in Portland by enthusiasts of this well-loved English composer's music, it features concerts and lectures by local and internationally acclaimed vocalists, musicians and conductors. Many of the lectures and concerts are free or donation-based, and take place in some of the city's most beautiful churches. Check out the full schedule here.

Details: 13th Annual William Byrd Festival. Aug. 13-29. E-mail or phone 503-295-2811 for information.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Farm Bulletin: Public Works Projects

When we city folk go to the farmers' markets, we see the end result of much work and planning, some of it happening months, if not years, beforehand. Farming takes hard, physical labor, and it's important to look deeper, to notice the berry-stained hands, the stiff backs, the cuts and bruises. I'm grateful to be able to post contributor Anthony Boutard's missives as a reminder of what it takes to grow the food that we put on our tables.

Farming is more than a pastoral activity: it also requires careful planning. As with any town or city, we rely on infrastructure such as water delivery, drainage, housing and transportation. Among our annual activities are what we call public works projects. Over the last three years, we have been working on renewing two blocks that were planted to blackberries. One is going into vegetable production and the other may be planted to raspberries. Berries are very expensive and risky to plant, and sane farmers shy away from the crop.

The change is equivalent to urban renewal. The trellises and irrigation pipes are removed, old canes are mown and turned under and restorative cover crops such as chicories, clovers and mustards are planted. We needed to improve the drainage in the field and change the irrigation. The plums needed better drainage. We have lost some trees where the soil was water-logged. The orchard has an odd mosaic of drainage patterns.

We drove our Volvo down to Needy Tile and loaded up 6,000 feet of drainage tile. It is not your mum's old 240. Our Volvo has a 26-foot flat bed, a 310 HP Cummins engine, two 100-gallon fuel tanks and a Hendrickson tandem rear end. (It took a while to get used to people complimenting our rear-end.) The Volvo is registered at 38,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW), and is a beast to drive. The definition of embarrassment is failing to shift to lower range at a traffic light; the truck stalls. The tile is not that heavy, but it is bulky and fills the bed.

Needy Tile is located in the Clackamas County settlement of Needy. The Needy post office opened in February 1855. Drain tiles were originally two-foot long pieces of terra-cotta pipe. They were placed in a deep ditch down end-to-end, then covered with soil. The water seeps between the seams and flows down to an open ditch or pond. Tile manufacturers were located in the bottom land near clay deposits and the river bottom hardwoods needed for firing the kilns. Some beautiful old kilns still stand near the Groner School in Scholls.

Today, drain tile is a long plastic tube with slits along its length. Water trickles through the slits and down the tube to its outlet. The location of the factory on a narrow road next to a river reflects the history tile-making, not good industrial planning. The immaculate factory with its hissing and clunking machinery, and the serpentine tile hoses moving along the floor, is straight of Tati's "Mon Oncle." The only thing missing is Alain Romans' music—the truck lacks a CD player. It took us three days to lay the tile pipe.

Next, we loaded the Volvo with about 600 feet of water pipe. While we had the trencher on site, we dug out the ditches to bury the pipe. We buy our irrigation supplies from Ernst Irrigation in St. Paul. The area around St. Paul is called French Prairie. Once it was covered with Blue Lake pole beans, and the Marion County Soil Survey published in 1972 still evaluated soils for pole bean production. Today, it is all bush beans picked by Pixall Super Jacks. They also grow a lot seed garlic and hops on the prairie.

All of our irrigation supplies are purchased from Ernst. Until a decade ago, it was part of an independent John Deere dealership and irrigation supplier. The Fisher Group acquired Ernst in 1999. In 2009, Fisher decided to combine stores and relocate in nearby Donald. The families that founded Ernst got together and repurchased the irrigation company from Fisher. Ernst is an important employer for St. Paul and it was a community effort to save the business. Patrick, Jill and Mike, the children of Bill Dolan, one of the founders, are responsible for day-to-day operation of the store. It is a friendly, small-town business. Matt Corcoran is their micro-irrigation specialist.  He designed and redesigned our system at various times over the last 12 years. We are a tiny customer relative to other farm operations, but the staff are always attentive.

Now our pubic works projects are done for the season, and we are back attending to plants and harvesting crops.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Travels with Chili: Heading East

We'd just bought a new tent and were bound and determined to get it out and use it. That was last summer, and we made just one trip with it. This summer we swore we'd do better and, when Dave's vacation came up, we decided to head East. No, not East East…we did that earlier this spring…but as far East as you can get and still be in Oregon.

Chili enjoys the view.

As might be expected, there were brewpubs involved in the decision making (everyone who knows us is saying, "Oh, reaaaaaaaaaaally?"), and of course the setting had to be gorgeous. We'd been to the Wallowa mountains many years ago, car camping in a fairly primitive campground in the Lostine River canyon. There was much lounging in the sun next to the pristine river, and a couple of crazy hikes up steep trails to high mountain lakes with huge granite boulders to climb on.

But we were hankering for something new and even further out, eventually deciding on a campground outside of the tiny hamlet of Joseph (video from just outside Joseph, top), home to Kari Gerdingen's Mutiny Brewing. (See? Told ya!) Stretched alongside the Imnaha River in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and at the end of an hour-long drive from Joseph, its 14 campsites were fairly private but featured a potable water pump, a must-have in our book.

Prodigal Son's Reuben and a pint of Veloci-Rapture.

On the way there we decided to stop in Pendleton for lunch and discovered a brand new brewpub, Prodigal Son, had just opened in May. With a flavorful, full-bodied amber brew they called Veloci-Rapture for me and a porter that Dave deemed an excellent example of the style, we ordered what turned out to be a terrific Reuben and fish'n'chips that I would be happy to have here in Portland.

The pub's name came from the three founders, local guys who'd left and wanted to return to their hometown to start a business. Brewer Brian Harder worked at Rogue and also brewed in Europe, and his experience shows in the quality of the beers we sampled. Making everything on the menu in-house and keeping it as local as possible is the goal of Chef Matthew Barnes, and if my sandwich made from local brisket that had been brined and smoked in-house was any example, you can expect good things from this place.

Read part two, Travels with Chili: On the Wild Imnaha.

Now We Are Three

Today my little guy turns three. The photo above was taken when he was about four months old (he's playing with his friend Mirage). Still as cute as ever (left)!

And apologies to those who find my dog photos totally off-topic and even a little gag-worthy. What can I say but I'm crazy 'bout my Corgis?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer's Worth of Grilling

It's all a matter of perspective. I just got back from a terrific camping trip along the Imnaha River in the Wallowa mountains (more on that later), glad to have missed the searing temperatures here in Portland. Though contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood found those same readings virtually balmy compared to what he experienced in Washington, D.C., recently. So with the rest of July and August still to come, Jim has done us the favor of providing recipes for the rest of our outdoor cooking needs. Thanks, Jim!

Since the mercury topped 100 for a couple of the days we were in Washington, DC, coming home to the upper 90s with fairly low humidity was actually pleasant. But I still didn’t want to cook anything inside. For last week’s heat wave I cooked everything on the Weber, which one night included salmon, grilled eggplant and corn on the cob.

Grilled Sockeye with Balsamico

The short Bristol Bay sockeye season is here. My favorite species, sockeye is second only to Chinook in fat content, and the smaller fish yield perfectly sized fillets. I cook them skin side down using indirect heat (I build my fire on one side of the Weber and put the filet on the other). The rich fish is perfect with the sweet, acidic tang of true balsamic vinear, so drizzle the salmon with Profumi Estensi balsamico at the table. (The Bristol Bay fishery is threatened by mining; see details here.)

Grilled Eggplant with Romesco

While the salmon cooks on the indirect heat side, I grilled slices of eggplant over the coals. I never salt eggplant, and I’ve never understood the claims that the vegetable is bitter. The process, to me, is a waste of time. Slice the eggplant about a half inch thick, then brush lightly with olive oil. Grill over a hot fire until nicely browned on both sides. We ate with our fingers, rolled around a dollop of romesco.

For the romesco, roast 3-4 red bell peppers (I had some already roasted and peeled in the freezer, but you can blacken them on the grill before you cook anything else).

An aside: My very first published food article more than 30 years ago was about roasting red peppers, and at the time I used the propane torch I also used for waxing my cross country skiis. Since then I’ve roasted hundreds of peppers using that torch, the burners on my old Wedgewood gas stove, and a hot fire in the Weber, but I think the easiest way is to put the peppers in a hot oven for about 45 minutes. They don’t really need to be completely blackened for the skins to come off, and the step of “sweating” the cooked peppers in a plastic bag can be skipped, too. I often do this step a few days in advance, storing the roasted peppers, skins still on, in a bowl in the refrigerator.

Peel the peppers, and discard the seed core and as many of seeds as you care to pick out. Put them into the food processor with 2-3 roughly chopped cloves of garlic, about a cup of almonds (I use blanched and slivered almonds, but whole almonds or even walnuts or filberts are okay), a half cup or more of extra virgin olive oil, a quarter cup or so of Katz Gravenstein apple cider vinegar (sherry vinegar is traditional, but the Katz vinegars have more flavor than industrial vinegars), a little salt, and about a half teaspoon of pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika). A half cup or so of breadcrumbs is optional, but makes the sauce a little thicker. Process into a chunky paste, adding more olive oil if necessary.

Grilled Corn

You can leave some of the outer husk attached, remove the rest and the silk, then wrap the ears with the husks before grilling. Even easier, husk corn and put right over the coals. Some kernels get a nice char, and the corn is sweet and smoky.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Cake Walk

You know all those posts about fritters that GSNW contributor Jim Dixon has been writing the last few months, the ones made from good things like squash and corn, dandelion greens and sardines? And remember those crazy-like-a-fox crab cakes from Mark Bittman that I posted back in December as part of the Crustacean Celebration? Another name for them would be…fish fritters! I actually did a Homer Simpson "D'oh!" at the thought.

So when I found some leftover grilled sockeye salmon sitting in the fridge just waiting to be put to it's best and highest use, my first thought was, yes, fritters! Checking out a few recipes, it looked like I had enough for a batch without resorting to excessive fillers that would compromise its lovely smoky flavor.

Next to a shrimp Louis, fritters are the perfect summer meal. They cook quickly without heating up the kitchen and they're rock star good. All you have to do is mash up leftovers with some sautéed veggies, breadcrumbs and eggs, fry them quickly in hot oil and serve with a cool, refreshing salad. So simple and delightful! And they'd make a fabulous appetizer for your next barbecue…just be sure to make them small and make a lot. You might even want to set a couple aside as you cook them so you can have some for yourself, cause they'll go fast.

Salmon Cakes
Adapted from various recipes

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ribs celergy, finely chopped
1/2 c. red Italian bell pepper or other sweet pepper like Jimmy Nardello
1 lb. leftover cooked salmon or 3 6-oz. cans salmon, well drained
1 c. bread crumbs
2 large eggs
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1-2 tsp. hot sauce like Sriracha or Tabasco
1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 c. mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
2 tsp. Dijon
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in frying pan. When it shimmers, add onion and garlic and sauté till translucent. Add celery and chopped pepper and sauté till tender. Cool while you pick the bones out of the salmon.
Put salmon in mixing bowl with bread crumbs, eggs, Old Bay, Worchestershire sauce, mayonnaise and mustard. Add cooled vegetables and stir to combine. Form into 2-3" wide, 1/2" thick cakes and place on cookie sheet. Put in refrigerator and chill 30 minutes. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet until shimmering, then fry cakes a few at a time until browned, adding fresh oil as needed. Keep in warm oven until they're all finished cooking and serve.

Market Roundup: Wednesday in the OC & Beaverton

It was meant to be. Oregon City Farmers' Market manager Jackie Hammond-Williams felt it was time to expand the Saturday market schedule to add a mid-week farmers' market. The city council agreed, providing start-up funding and a location smack in the middle of downtown. Then someone found a newspaper clipping describing a "producers market" in the same exact location in 1924. Talk about destiny! Look for the smiling faces at Full of Life Farm's booth, where you can not only buy pastured poultry and eggs, grass-fed and grass-finished beef, pastured heritage pork and free-ranging goat, but you'll support a sustainable farm with a mission to care for the animals, the land and the people in equal measure. Quite a goal. And don't miss Diana's Delights, the retirement project of Diana Robson (above left), who will happily dish, in a charming English accent, about the foibles of Hollywood's glitterati from her former life as an actress, dancer, singer, chef and personal assistant. She currently offers jams, chutneys and lemon curd made from the fruit she purchases from market vendors and eggs from her daughter's flock. Secret treat: Pick up a bag of her flaky, fruit-filled rugelach for the ride home.

Details: Oregon City Downtown Wednesday Market. 3-7 pm on 8th and Main Sts. in downtown Oregon City at the base of the falls.

* * *

The first time I went to the Beaverton Farmers' Market (an advertiser on GoodStuffNW), I was bowled over. In the days before farmers' markets were a ubiquitous presence in nearly every Portland neighborhood, the sheer size and scope of it was mind-boggling. Unimaginably gorgeous produce spilled from farmers' stands and tantalizing aromas from food booths wafted down the aisles. Some people still find it overwhelming, and for them there is its quieter, gentler sibling, a child of the afternoon and early evening, a place to stop and stroll and chat. Where the Saturday market is bustling and boisterous, the Wednesday market, with many fewer vendors but offering the same great produce, flowers and prepared foods, ambles at a much mellower pace. Three-year-old Bella Organics (photo, above) grows its berries, fruits and vegetables on an organically certified farm on Sauvie Island, and Alex Hashem said that once the weather warms up they'll be offering more greens, squash and summer produce for customers' tables. Captured by Porches Brewing Company was enjoying the sunny skies, and the friendly guy behind the taps said they're hoping that Beaverton market-goers get as excited about their St. Helens-produced beers as Portland's have. And new vendor Verde Cocina looked like shoppers were taking to their huevos rancheros, a white bean and garbanzo mash spread on corn tortillas and topped with a free-range fried egg, a little cheese, fresh salsa ranchera and a fresh market bean salad.

Details: Beaverton Wednesday Farmers' Market. 3-6 pm on SW Hall Blvd. between 3rd and 5th Sts.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Quick Hits: Olympic Provisions & Lucca

I'm sure you know the feeling. We'd had a couple of beers at a pub, talked with a few folks we knew, then left with the sense that the evening wasn't quite over, particularly in the food department. I mean, beer is a meal in itself, but doesn't quite hit the same spot as a nice nosh.

The beers were consumed at the drastically revamped Produce Row Café, founded in 1974 and the very first pub owned by the McMenamin brothers. We were there for an event put on by Megan Flynn (left) to celebrate the summer issue of her magazine, BeerNW. It prominently features an article on the Row, but more importantly it also has an article that includes my recipe for paella with chorizo and mussels. Cool, huh?

So finding ourselves in the eastside industrial district, we opted for a bite at Olympic Provisions, Nate Tilden and Jason Barwikowski's emporium of cured meat products. I hadn't yet been there in the evening, and on this weeknight we found it about half-full, with tables available and plenty of room at the bar.

We ordered the meat board, which came tout de suite and contained a sampling of three of their salumi, a wedge of chicken liver mousse and a pistachio rillette with pickled onions and rhubarb, cornichons and mustard. They're definitely finding their way with the salumi, which is getting more flavorful and distinct each time I try it. The mousse and terrine were fantastic, though the three thin slices of toasted bread were only about half of what was needed.

Shining like crossed swords, the seared fresh sardines came with a salad of baby potatoes and asparagus dressed in a mustard vinaigrette and topped with half of a soft-centered boiled egg. Perfect for sharing, it was a great pairing I'm going to have to copy here at home when sardines are next in season. The best dish, though, was the pork belly with clams that had been cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with greens and carrots. Rich and brilliant, this blew us away.

I'd tell you about the drinks we had, but we'd abstained due to the beers consumed beforehand. And, amazingly, we didn't really miss them, an observation I wouldn't have expected. (Note to self: sometimes the food is enough!)

Details: Olympic Provisions, 107 SE Washington St. Phone 503-954-3663.

* * *

My idea of the perfect neighborhood has, it goes without saying, friendly folks who like to hang out and chat with neighbors passing by with their dogs and kids. It should also be walkable, bikeable and close to public transportation. There has to be at least one good grocery store and a farmers' market nearby, and great cafés for coffee and a really good low-key restaurant for those nights when you don't feel like cooking, a place where the food and conviviality is more important than the decor or the toniness of the crowd.

We're lucky to live in exactly that kind of neighborhood, and to have a restaurant like Lucca only a ten-minute walk away. On the way home with friends Ivy and Gregor the other night, we stopped in for a bite and a glass of wine and had a spectacular meal that started with a wonderful antipasto platter, probably the best I've had recently and by far the most reasonably priced.

Several slices of excellent charcuterie were accompanied by stuffed dates, a pile of assorted olives, a pickled vegetable salad, a liver mousse with a small pile of salty crisp chips for dipping and a pile of crunchy deep-fried vegetables. More than enough for three, this plate would be well worth ordering on its own with a drink at the bar or, as we did, the starter for the terrific meal to follow.

Details: Lucca, 3449 NE 24th Ave. Phone 503-287-7372.

Smooth Move

I tend to fall into ruts, especially when it comes to breakfast. Toast and coffee are my default, which is no ho-hum solution when it includes Dave's most excellent sourdough bread and some of Carol Boutard's crazy-good preserves, not to mention Trailhead Roasting's impeccably roasted coffee.

But this time of year there's usually a partial hallock of berries from the farmers' market sitting around, leftover from shortcake or some other goodness, and a big tub of Nancy's yogurt in the fridge. Throw them in a blender and it's like hitting the ejector button on an F-14A Tomcat when it comes to getting out of that breakfast rut.

Blueberry Smoothie

1 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. blueberries or other fruit
1/2 banana
1/2-1 tsp. sugar, or to taste (optional)

Put all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth. Stop blending and scrape down sides of blender. Pulse again to combine. Pour into 10-oz. glass and prepare for takeoff!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

In Food Safety, Size Matters

This is a response written by contributor Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm to a Capital Press editorial. The regional agricultural weekly stated the opinion that small farms are just a likely to cause food borne illnesses as large ones.

Over the last three decades, consolidation in the food industry has been accompanied by a steady increase in food borne illnesses. Foods considered inherently safe just a decade ago are now subject to multi-state recalls on a regular basis. The editorial “Safety regs should apply to everyone” assumes scale is not a factor in food safety. That assumption is not supported by data, or theory for that matter.

In food safety, size does matter. Over the past two decades the consolidation within the produce and meat industries has led to longer chains of custody, greater intermingling of food, and a loss of farm identity. As this trend has progressed, the industry has found it hard to control and trace outbreaks of food borne illnesses. Tracing the source of contamination through the complex system has proved difficult, often impossible.

During this same period, a separate experiment in food safety has taken place. In a counter-industrial shift, thousands of small market farms have developed a variety of ways to sell directly to consumers.  CSA’s, farm stands and farmer’s markets have proliferated. If scale were an unimportant factor in food safety, there would be an increase in food borne illnesses at the local level paralleling what is happening in the larger food industry. The opposite is true. In Oregon, for example, to my knowledge not a single instance food borne illness associated with produce purchased at a farmers’ market has been reported.

Naturally, food industry officials want us to treat the exemplary safety record of direct produce sales as a statistical fluke. After all, our small farms don’t have bar codes, safety officials and disinfected packing facilities, so people must be at risk of dying from farmers’ market produce. Some industry members darkly suggest that food borne illnesses from local sources are going unreported, as if local health officials would overlook numerous members of a CSA hospitalized or dying from E. Coli O157:H7. The fact is, localized outbreaks would be the easiest to identify and remedy, if they should ever happen. Outbreaks scattered over several states are far more difficult to address than a localized one. The safety record of direct sales is strong testament to the integrity of America’s small family farms, and it is not a statistical oddity.

The editorial makes a serious mistake in parroting the industry’s conceit that all food poses a threat, even from farmers’ markets and CSAs. In a myriad of ways, small market farms are structurally different from industrial farms. The fact that market farmers and their families eat what they grow is the gold standard for food safety, and far more effective than a food safety officer filling out forms in an air-conditioned office. The people who buy our fruits and vegetables see us weekly and often know us on a first name basis. My staff and I are out in the fields daily, and the same crew that helps grow the fruits and vegetables, also harvests them. The structure of the small family farm has served this nation safe and nourishing food since its founding.

The editorial also errs in assuming that small growers are in any way exempt from food safety laws. We are not exempt, and nothing in the Tester amendment exempts us from state food laws. In Oregon, if anyone is selling food that state health officials deem is unwholesome, these officials have the power to close down the operation immediately and seize the food. The authority is so complete, officials dub this authority the “God Clause.” Across the country, local regulation of local food has been proven effective.

Having small market farms such as ours fill out complex forms and send $500 to the federal government will not enhance food safety one iota. Besides being unnecessary, federalizing local food sales will divert resources from the real problem. The complex and powerful food industry is failing this country, not the tradition of purchasing from local family farms. Sound food safety policies should be informed by facts and data, not speculation and fear mongering.

Farm Bulletin: Pent Up Energy

This past spring, I have been awaiting the resumption of Anthony's Farm Bulletins with bated breath, wondering how the excessive rain and cool temperatures may have affected the crops (not to mention the folk) at Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston. I shouldn't have worried, since it's abundantly clear that mere seasonal weather variations can't dim the enthusiasm of the Bard of Ayers Creek.

This spring has certainly tested the farmer's mettle and humor. The Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii, left), an Asian vinegar fly, has prompted a lot hand-wringing among fruit growers. Using its amazing serrated ovipositor, this vinegar fly lays its eggs in firm, sound fruit. Last autumn, it made a big dent in peaches and blueberries. University entomologists and extension agents are predicting losses in every sort of fruit. The experts were solemnly telling the press that organic growers would be hit hardest because they did not have chemical tools to deal with the insect. Apparently, those agents never met any of our Zebra spiders (lower right), or other jumping spiders, eye-to-eye. Salticus scenicus have a total of eight eyes, so it would take four extension agents to stare down a single Zebra spider. Long ago, we threw our lot in with the spiders and other predaceous invertebrates. They are more entertaining companions than malathion, diazinon or carbaryl. It will be interesting to see how we fare with this new challenge.    

Far more disquieting than the new vinegar fly is having the Food Drug Administration (FDA) skulking around the state. In May, a FDA "listening session" took place in Portland. Produce industry representatives lined up to argue that all farms, even small local farms, should come under the jurisdiction of the FDA, in addition to being locally regulated as they are today. The proposal before congress is that we would have to send them a $500 check and an endless stream of paper work, and they will make sure the food we produce will be safe. A bit of a stretch, in our opinion, given their current track record. Having resisted regulation for decades, the titans of the produce industry are crying that no farm should be "exempt" from federal regulation. Facing justifiable regulation, the industry is using its muscle to stifle the sale of local fruits and vegetables in the name of "fairness." They have flipped from saying we have safest food system in the world, to arguing that no farm is safe. They have welcome ear in the FDA's Michael Taylor, formerly Monsanto's Vice President for Public Policy. The proposal is the 2010 version of Earl Butz's legendary "Get big or get out."

Both the Oregonian and the Capital Press had ingratiating editorials about how small farms are just as likely to cause food borne illnesses as large ones. We have included our response to the Capital Press editorial at the end of this note [see accompanying post]. The Capital Press is the region's agricultural weekly, and an important as well as infuriating source of farming news and opinion. As we point out, two trends are occurring: increasing consolidation and mechanization in the produce industry and the growth of small farms selling fruits and vegetables directly to the public. The consolidating produce industry is the source of the problems, not the expanding farmers' market sector.

The wet spring has also generated a fair amount of nail biting. On balance, the wet and gloomy spring was very good for the farm, even if it made a lot of extra work for us. This winter, we decided we would shift our planting a week or two later, or even three weeks in the case of peppers and tomatoes. We didn't expect to have our resolution so emphatically enforced. Whether it was the pent-up energy, or a desire to hedge against a short crop, we ended up doubling our plantings this year. We have also shifted the crop balance in response to the cooler spring.  Most crops look better this year compared to the last three years, especially 2009. Crops will be late, though, so we are hoping for a gentle autumn.

Look for the following at the Ayers Creek stand at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market, Sun., 7/4, 10 am-2 pm: 


Cascade Dawn, the famous berry named after, not one, but two brand name detergents. In spite of that handicap, it is a wonderful raspberry, and we have grown it since it was the mere numbered selection WSU 1068.


The loganberry (top photo) is a great fruit. It is sprightly with a deep flavor only equalled, in our opinion, by the boysenberry. It is substantial, the fruit for inspiring a novel, not a Twitter post.

The loganberry is generally regarded as a natural hybrid between the native dewberry, Rubus ursinus, and a raspberry. Judge Logan wrote a letter to L.H. Bailey at Cornell describing the development of the Loganberry. It is excerpted in the U.P. Hedrick's Small Fruits of New York (1925). In his words:

"In the summer of 1883 these plants fruited and there appeared one plant which was undoubtedly a cross between the raspberry and the Rubus ursinus. The fruit was larger and earlier than the raspberry or any blackberry, except the R. ursinus, ripening about the middle of May…The leaves of the vine are almost identical with the wild Rubus, being somewhat larger. The canes are also like the wild Rubus only larger and more vigorous."