Maysara Willamette Valley Reserve 2001

Maysara Pinoit Noir 2001I joined the Maysara Winery “Tinoosh” wine club. Our first shipment arrived last week. It include two bottles of their first pinot noir, the 2001 Willamette Valley Reserve. It combined the fruit of three different vineyards. While it had the cherry elements I expect of the Yamhill Valley region, it definitely didn’t have as smooth of a finish as we like. My husband and I bought several bottles of their Jamsheed pinot noir vintage the past two years.

Maysara practices Biodynamic agriculture, which meets or exceeds organic standards. They do not use chemicals and fertilizers and minimize outside “inputs” into the farm by integrating livestock and insectory plants into the vineyard. We’ve seen free range turkeys grazing next to the winery on our visits.

But what attracted us to Maysara was their fantastic wine tasting events, held Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends. They pair their wines with samplings from a whole meal you could enjoy with each wine. You can nibble your way to heaven at these events. Maysara was founded by Moe and Flora Momtazi, emigrants from Iran. This family winery combines their ancient traditions and foods with a biodynamic vineyard set in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range just south of McMinnville, Oregon. This is a longer drive for us than to visit our favorite Dundee wineries. But the food and the wine make it worth the trip.
Photo © 2008 Wendy Bumgardner

Battle Ground Farmer's Market

I’ve been visiting the Vancouver Farmer’s Market and wanted to see what other markets offered nearby. Battle Ground Farmer’s Market is located about 10 miles north of me, so it’s about four miles further than the Vancouver one. But my CSA farm, Rosemattel, has a booth there, so I thought I would see if there was more variety of produce. Alas, this is still early in the season, so I won’t judge it by what they had this weekend. The Battle Ground Farmer’s Market has moved to Battle Ground Village Courtyard, part of a complex still under construction. There seemed to be plenty of parking. I stopped by the booths selling plants and flowers and said hi to my CSA farmer. But the only produce vendors were her and a booth selling fresh local strawberries. These were part of my quest, so I happily bought 2 pints for $2 each.

I also noticed a prominent table for WIC and Senior farmers market checks. I had just learned that many farmers markets accept these support coupons.

My journey was not a disappointment. As I said, I think they are likely to have more produce by mid-July. Even better, along the way I passed u-pick fields for strawberries and a plant nursery. I stopped at the nursery and bought a hot pepper plant and seed for non-bolting spinach.

Local Wine and Cheese on the Patio

I haven’t let go of my hairdresser in Tualatin since moving to Vancouver, Washington. So, I combined a trip to get my roots disguised with a stop at Whole Foods to look for Willamette Valley Cheese. We enjoyed the gouda while wine tasting in the Yamhill Valley. I saw the Smoked Farmstead Gouda paired in a display with local wine, J. Christopher, from only about 10 miles away. You can’t get much more local than that.

Wine and Cheese

I did not locally source the crackers. But the smoked gouda was fantastic: creamy, smoky, impossible to stop eating until the wedge was gone. I was happy I didn’t buy the $101 half wheel! The Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s web site shows its happy jersey cows grazing freely in organic green fields near Salem, Oregon. The cows are given no hormones or antibiotics. They pasteurize their own raw milk to make the cheese. The cows look as contented as my favorite Swiss cows.

J. Christopher’s Cristo Misto Oregon Table Wine 2007 matched the description on its website, “aromatic quaffing wine.” It was fine for the purpose, fruity and crisp.

Eating local doesn’t mean giving up the fine life of wine and cheese on the patio.
Photo © 2008 Wendy Bumgardner

LocavOregon Manifesto

Welcome to LocavOregon!

Let’s explore the tastes and adventures of eating local in Oregon.
A locavore is a person who chooses local foods in preference to food from outside their local area.

Who I am:
Native Oregonian, now living in Vancouver, Washington.
Raised in farming country. Growing up, we ate almost exclusively beef raised by my grandfather and fruits and vegetables we raised in our garden or canned from local sources.
But I’ve been a slave to convenience eating and cooking since college.

Who I’m not:
I’m not a vegetarian.
I’m not a gourmet cook.
I haven’t had a garden since leaving home 30 years ago.

What we’ll explore:
Why eat local?
Where can you find local food?
What are easy ways to prepare fresh local foods?
What restaurants serve locally sourced food?
How can you get started with container gardening or home gardening?

I plan to share recipes, tips, and a bit of the philosophy as I learn more about being a locavore.