What’s Next for the Garden?

Did you get your garden in?  Either way, no worries! There’s still food-friendly things to look forward to. As we wrap up the Rose festival, the next great thing on the calendar is all the fresh fruits and vegetables (whether you get them from your yard or your grocer, no one will tell).  There’s even a plethora of fabulous U-pick farms in the area to hit up. By mid-June, cherries and berries will be ready for us, but July is when the real bounty comes in.  Check it out a www.TriCountyFarm.org for the vast guide to local U-Pick and Farm Stands.

Interested in learning how to take advantage of all that wonderful fresh produce for months to come?  Pickling is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of places to help with just that.  OSU Extension Service Food preservation experts host a series of hands-on classes on how to preserve produce in a safe and healthy way. Recipes, equipment, ingredients and additional resources provided, and all participants share the products made in class.  These classes are listed on the PCC website (okay – I know – kind of a surprise – but it’s true).  I found these classes at convenient locations to my neighbors in NE Portland. In my class last week, we pickled carrots, corn relish, beets, and asparagus.  Not only did we sample – we all shared in the bounty, and headed home with goodies to share with family and friends.

These ones are $29 plus fees, held 6:00 – 8:50  Fremont Methodist Church.

Preserving Fruit: Water Canning     July 11

Preserving Veggies and Meat: Pressure Canning and Drying  July 25

Preserving Tomatoes, Sauces and Salsas   Aug 8

Preserving Pickles     August 22

And for Westsiders, there are similar classes in the same program at the Bohemian Gourmet Food LLC, Monday’s from 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm. See details below, or check out the OSU extension website.

These are each $25 or Take all four classes – Fruits, Vegetables & Meat, Pickles, and Tomatoes – for $90. Pay by Credit card.

2013 Class Lineup

Fruit Products: Water Canning

July 8th: Step one! Come learn the basics of food preservation using a water bath. We’ll talk about preserving fruits and fruit products such as applesauce, jams, jellies and pie filling. Then we’ll make jam and pie filling using Oregon’s bounty. Pay by Credit card.

Veggies &Meat: Canning & Drying

July 15th: Learn the safe and simple process of pressure canning veggies and meats, including fish. We’ll talk about how to use and care for your pressure canner, and we’ll learn tips making high-quality, nutritious dried foods. Pay by Credit card.

Pickle Making

July 22nd : Pickles are popular again! This class covers safe procedures for pickling vegetables, including the difference between fermented and fresh-pack pickles, as well as selecting and preparing ingredients. We’ll fresh-pack pickles in class. Pay by Credit card.

Tomatoes, Sauces and Salsas

July 29th: Tomatoes are the most commonly preserved produce item. This class covers options for preserving plain tomatoes, tomato sauce and juice, as well as the “Laws of Salsa.” We’ll make and compare a variety of salsas in class. Pay by Credit card.

These are fabulous classes – I took my first one last week.

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Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.

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Seed, Garden, Pickle: It’s My Favorite Time of Year Again!

Here it comes again – that urge to plunge your fingers into the soil, kissed back into life by the warm days we’ve been experiencing this last week. I love to garden.   It would seem there is nothing better than the promise of a bountiful harvest in the months to come, all the while warming my own pasty white body in the warmth of a beautiful spring day.

Resist the urge to head straight to Portland Nursery!  I know it’s a lot of fun to let that expectation carry you into the temptation of beautiful plant starts–but now is the time to get out there to your patch of dirt to do a little prep. 

I’ve been reading with interest the theory that going full on with the spade to prepare your garden bed only leads to disturbing weeds that might otherwise have taken root.  Hmm.  That makes sense.  But I’m going to be gardening this year in a raised bed, compliment’s to a former owner. And I expect there will be some soil prep, weeding, and massaging my new piece of dirt–I’ve got to get it prepared for the cucumbers I’ve been growing! (For you seedling lovers, check out this wonderful chart I found to help decide when to move the cute little seedlings to their new home.)

I’m especially excited about these cucumbers, for a very specific reason. Pickling!! Tonight I’ve signed up for a Preserving Pickles class at Portland Community College.  While this will be my 4th year pickling, I think it’s time to circle back around to make sure I’m not missing something.  I want to be ready – you’re all invited to join me this year, when the cukes start coming in.

Lastly, for that memorable Portlandia first season reminder – We can pickle THAT!

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.

The Starlight Parade Approaches!

The skies are overcast.  The precipitation is at record levels.  Hay Fever season is in high gear.  Why, it must be time to kick off THE ROSE FESTIVAL!  Portland’s favorite celebration kicks off this week with the zany Starlight Parade!

It’s a LONG tradition here in Portland.  The idea for the Rose Festival was presented to the public in a speech by Mayor Harry Lane at the end of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905. The first festival followed in 1907, and what a history it has made.

It’s 2013, and we’re gearing up to celebrate 106 years of festivities.  The lineup for the parade is everything from traditional marching bands and flood-lit floats, to glow-in-the-dark umbrellas and hand-built entries. You’ll see the best of Portland’s diverse community groups from the surrounding Northwest region. And some exciting news? (At least for me!) I’m marching and dancing in the first quarter of the nearly 100 illuminated groups! 

If you’re headed to the parade this weekend, you won’t be disappointed–but there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s my “ inside tips” for the Starlight Parade! The parade starts at 9:00 pm.  This is no parade for whimps!  You have to stay up late and tough out the elements on the cold, wet, and dark streets of downtown Portland.  We’re expecting 250,000 to line the 2.25 miles, so make sure you get your spot scoped out early.  Also: Bring layers!  And don’t forget your costume…there will be some serious costuming that you don’t want to miss out on. The starlight parade is where FUN HAPPENS.

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.