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Check out the Fall Harvest!

20 Sep
by Deanna, posted in Cooking, Farm, Food   |  No Comments

Harvest time is here!  We are pulling out bushels of fresh veggies every week, not to mention all the pears we are picking. This week we harvested lettuce, two kinds of kale, chard, carrots, radishes, celery, leeks, onions, basil, and purple and green shiso.

“What is shiso”, you ask? Shiso, pronounced she-so, is the Japanese name for an annual herb called perilla, which belongs to the mint family. Shiso comes in green or purple leaves with a slightly prickly texture and pointy, jagged edges, and it has a unique and vibrant taste that I could describe as herbaceous and citrusy. Like most leafy herbs, I find it is best used raw, the leaves whole or chiffonaded. The green variety produces more tender and more flavorful leaves than the purple variety, but the latter makes up for that with a potent dyeing action: it is what gives umeboshi its color.

Shiso is used in many asian cuisines, though most typically with Japanese dishes. It can be used anywhere mint or basil are called for. Some yummy suggestions include adding it to rice or soba noodles, sprinkling over tofu, adding it in a cucumber salad with rice vinegar, or in spring rolls. You can also make a pesto with it and put it on pasta, serve it with sashimi and rice, or try it with chicken stuffed with chopped umeboshi with soy sauce glaze. At Sakura Ridge, I use it in the Bento Box breakfast, perfect for days that it’s too hot to cook!  Anyway you make it, it is sure to add a fresh, herb flavor to your meal.

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A Month of Sunday’s – Part 2

13 Sep
by Deanna, posted in Food, Hood River Happenings, Uncategorized   |  No Comments

Last Sunday got our hearts pumping with a white water rafting trip on the White Salmon River. The White Salmon is a 44-mile tributary to the Columbia river that originates in the glaciers of Mt Adams on the Washington side of the Gorge.  In October of 2011, the Condit Dam on the lower section of river was removed to allow free flow from the headwaters to mouth. Parts of the river have been designated Wild and Scenic and it is easy to see why.

Sunday was a perfect day to be on the river, only 3 boats went out with our morning trip so we practically had the place to ourselves!  The White Salmon is a gorgeous river canyon, with steep, mossy walls, towering trees overhead and cold, clear water.

The trip we did was with Wet Planet Rafting. They have a private put-in and take-out on the river which gives you 2 more miles of rapids and an optional 20 ft cliff jump after BZ Falls.  Very refreshing!

We also went over Husum Falls, a rollarcoaster 10-ft drop that gets the blood pumping!  After the falls, a few more lazy rapids and we were back at the base. We were starving after all the excitement, so we headed just down the road to Big Man’s Rotisserie and enjoyed delicious Ugandan Chapati wraps fresh off the BBQ.  Before heading out back to Sakura Ridge, we stopped for a quick wine tasting session at AniChe Cellars on Underwood Mountain. Love these ladies and their wine!

 

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Sakura Ridge is one of Oregon’s Best Farm Stays in Portland Monthly!

06 Sep
by Deanna, posted in Farm, Food   |  No Comments

Sakura Ridge was featured in the September edition of Portland Monthly as one of Oregon’s Best Farm Stays!  Agrotourism is a growing trend in the US, and many parts of the world including Australia, and Canada. Agritourism, or “agritainment,” is any agriculturally involved activity that brings people out to a farm or ranch. It can include buying fruit from a farm stand, navigating a corn maze, feeding animals, or staying at a B&B on a farm. It is a great alternative for improving the incomes and potential economic viability of small farms and rural communities.  To find more agritourism activities in Oregon, check out Travel Oregon website for Food Trips in every region.  We still have some midweek rooms left in September, come out and be a part of harvest season!

 

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Krumkake for all!

30 Aug
by Deanna, posted in Cooking, Food   |  No Comments

Christmas came a little bit early at Sakura Ridge with the preparation of Krumkake, a traditional Norwegian christmas cookie. We had some friends visiting from Seattle that shared my Scandinavian background and they wanted to help make a batch.

Krumkake, or Krum kaka, is a norwegian waffle cookie made of flour, butter, eggs, sugar and cream. I use a special decorative 2-sided griddle to make the pattern and then roll them around a cone shaped rolling pin. They are usually filled with sweet cream or savory filling.  Skol!

 

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A Month of Sundays – Part 1

23 Aug
by Deanna, posted in Hood River Happenings   |  No Comments

Summer is almost over! Kids are heading back to school in the next couple of weeks and the fall harvest has already begun. It’s time to tackle that bucket list of fun summer activities that I always look forward to and yet, never seem to find the time to do during the busy summer months. A friend of mine and I sat down together and picked 4 summer activities that we wanted to do and designated Sunday’s in August as our time to do them.

Two weeks ago we drove out to the Maryhill Museum of Art.  This place is a treasure trove of facinating Columbia Gorge art and history. Sam Hill, the creator of the museum, was a world traveler with many unusual and very talented friends that contributed art to fill the  museum displays. There is a fantastic collection of pieces from Queen Marie of Romania, a friend of Sam Hill’s after he aided the country during WWII.  Also, an interesting display of the theater works of Loie Fuller and original works by her friend, Auguste Rodin (If you’ve seen “The Thinker,” you’ve seen a Rodin). There were several other great displays, but the interconnected story of these 3 friends struck me the most. We capped off the day with a stop at Jacob Williams winery on the way home for a little wine tasting overlooking the river before heading back to Sakura Ridge to relax.

Last weekend, we ventured west to Cascade Locks and hopped on the Sternwheeler for an hour sightseeing trip down the river. They are running a special in honor of their 30th anniversary for a $14 tour on Sunday afternoons. We grabbed a glass of champagne at the bar and sat on the upper deck enjoying the sun and scenery. It was great to see the river from a different perspective and a slower pace. The guide gave some interesting facts and told the story of the original Bridge of the Gods. I would definitely do this again!

I’m looking forward to a rafting trip and a round of golf in the weekends to come! What’s on your bucket list of summer fun?

 

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Ready for Harvest

16 Aug
by Deanna, posted in Cooking, Farm, Food, Recipes   |  No Comments

We are busy gearing up for pear harvest which will hopefully start this weekend.  John is staging fruit bins in the orchard, the tractors are all tuned up, and the semi is ready to haul our fruit to the packing house to await their turn to be packed and shipped out.  Most of the fruit from Sakura Ridge heads to small natural food stores up and down the west coast, to the midwest, and all points in between.

Starkrimson is the first variety to come off the trees.  It is a summer pear, meaning that it will be one of the first ones at the market during the August to January pear season. All pears need some ripening time once they are picked. Summer pears, like the Starkrimson, ripen at room temperature without a long period in cold storage that winter pears require. It is also one of the few pears that change color as they ripen, turning from deep crimson to a brilliant crimson red.   Their bright color and mild, sweet flavor make them perfect for fresh use in salads, on a cheese plate or with your morning cereal.  Check out this link for more pear info and recipes!

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Who Says You Can’t Have Chocolate for Breakfast?

09 Aug
by Deanna, posted in Food, Uncategorized   |  No Comments

A chocolate craving at 8 am sparked this creation: Chocolate Decadence Cake with Blackberry sauce and fresh Nectarines. Yum!!

Chocolate Decadence for Breakfast!

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Beat the Heat and the Crowds!

02 Aug
by Deanna, posted in Hood River Happenings   |  No Comments

For more than a century, city folks have escaped the heat of summer by heading to the mountains. Early adventurers would take the train to Hood River and then travel by stagecoach to Cloud Cap Inn. Built in 1889, the Cloud Cap Inn, located on the North slope of Mt Hood, is the country’s oldest high alpine ski cabin.

Opening day at Timberline Lodge

With the completion of Timberline Lodge in 1937, summer travelers could now enjoy longer stays in the cool of the mountain; folks would sometimes stay for several months during the heat of the summer.

For a modern day traveler, the journey is much easier, and still a great way to cool off during the hot summer months. To avoid the crowds, plan a midweek mountain adventure that traces the path of those intrepid adventurers.

Ruins Tuesday at Springhouse Cellar

Head into Hood River on a Tuesday night for live music and dinner at Springhouse Cellar’s Ruins Tuesday. Regional musicians and local food from Solstice Wood Fired Pizza or Four and Twenty Blackbirds food carts makes for a lively start to your escape.

After a good nights sleep and a fresh-from-the-farm breakfast, it’s time to head up the mountain. Wind through the valley on the Fruit Loop, stopping to pick up some fresh fruit from one of the local stands. If you want to stop for a hike on your way up Hwy 35, try Tamanawas Falls Trail, starting at Sherwood Forest Campground. This easy hike is 3.8 mi round trip, about an 1.5 hours, through lush forest along a crystal clear stream, ending at a spectacular waterfall complete with cooling mist and a plunge pool to soak your feet.

Continue up Hwy 35 to Hwy 26 and follow signs to Timberline Lodge.  At

Timberline Lodge

6000 ft elevation, the Lodge offers spectacular views and a chance to play in the snow year round. Enjoy the gourmet lunch buffet in the Cascade Dining Room from 11:30 to 2pm daily. After lunch, ride the “Magic Mile” chairlift up to 7000 ft elevation and play in the snow!  Hike or ride back down to the lodge. There are miles of beautiful trails around the lodge to explore, as well as several gift and gear shops to check out. If you want to learn more about the travelers that came before you, watch a video on the history of the lodge or take a free tour from a Forest Service Ranger.

Crooked Tree Tavern at Cooper Spur

After a full day of exploration, meander down the mountain, perhaps stopping at The Crooked Tree Tavern at Cooper Spur Lodge on the way home.  A century ago, after a successful summit of Mt Hood, adventurers would gather to commemorate and celebrate their grand accomplishments with food and drink.  The historic North Face Inn, now part of Cooper Spur Resort, was the location of many such gatherings, which are now showcased in pictures and memorabilia on the walls of the Tavern.

On Thursday, rest up from your historic mountain summit with a relaxing day strolling through the shops in downtown Hood River, or head to the Waterfront Park to watch the wind sports enthusiasts play. In the evening, head up to the Hood River Middle School for the Gorge Grown Farmer’s Market with live music, food carts, and cooking classes from 4-7pm. Grab a blanket and some chairs, perhaps a bottle of wine, and head across the street from the Market to Jackson Park for an outdoor concert. The Hood River Lions Club hosts Families in the Park concert series every Thursday in August from 7-9pm.  Its a great way to cut loose, or just relax before heading back to the city in the morning, just in time for a leisurely weekend at home!

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For the love of peaches…

26 Jul
by Deanna, posted in Uncategorized   |  No Comments

The first peaches of summer have officially arrived! My granddaughters, Maja and Stella, visiting from Denmark, were the lucky recipients of some of the first ones off the tree.  They crafted the following “Peach Rules” while enjoying their juicy sweetness…

Peach Rules by Maja and Stella

 

Also for your peachy enjoyment, some peach tunes from John Prine to brighten your day!

There’s more to do than ride the wind in Hood River!

21 Jul
by Deanna, posted in Hood River Happenings   |  No Comments

Every summer thousands come to Hood River to play in our world famous wind, ride mountain bike trails, and pick delicious fruit. Believe it or not, there is more to do in Hood River!

We have a thriving arts community that fills three galleries downtown, puts on live performances year round, and fills local venues with music. The Columbia Center for the Arts CAST theater presents 4 shows annually. This summer they featured “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” by Nora and Delia Ephron. I had a chance to catch the show with a friend of mine last week and it was funny, moving and uplifting; definitely a great night out on the town.

Springhouse Cellar Winery

August 2nd, the Portland band, Black Prairie will be playing at Springhouse Cellar Winery. This acoustic string-band consists of members of The Decemberists, Jackstraw, Woolwines, Bearfoot, and Dolorean playing music ranging from uptempo bluegrass and old-time Americana to Klezmir gypsy tunes. It is sure to be a great show and another fabulous night in Hood River. Get your tickets now and book the last room on the Ridge for the night!

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