Buckle up Buttercup, it’s Harvest Season!

Photo courtesy of Buffy Rhoades

It’s Harvest Season in the Willamette Valley and a busy time of year for anyone involved in local and seasonal food. This year has shown renewed interest in gardening and preserving and we’re all cooking at home more. Farms, farmer’s markets, local fishing industry, and consumers are in the midst of peak-season crops and harvest. But what do you do with all those tomatoes or peppers, or giant zucchini your neighbor left on your porch?

As my friend and mentor, Lin, is wont to say, “It’s Harvest Season Baby! Our day calendars are full of to-do lists. (They look different in 2020, but are still lists.) Today’s list includes canning peaches and dehydrating last year’s bread and butter pickles. Yes, dehydrate your pickles! Especially if they’re softer than you like, or you need the jars. We’re also waiting for our tuna fisherman to call back and say he has our order. (Stay tuned for a video on shopping the dock and canning tuna!)

I’ve been thinking about mentors a lot. We all need one. Some folks grew up with family members that preserved the season’s bounty but may need a refresher course on safe methods and recipes. Others are new to preserving and don’t know where to look or how to begin. Videos are helpful.

In addition to preserving, we like to eat and live well. OSU Extension’s Family and Community Health program is a great place to find budget-friendly, healthy recipes and cooking videos. Or exercise activities for your young ones. We’re part of Oregon State University’s Extension Services, a FREE, safe, and reliable public resource. Let us be your mentor instead of a “well kept secret.”

Extending the Harvest is a bi-weekly selection of science-based resources promoting food preservation, food safety, nutrition, wellness, using food dollars wisely, and strengthening local community food systems. With the help and support of Clackamas County Master Food Preserver/Family Food Educator volunteers, I’m looking forward to sharing stories, knowledge, and helping you Extend your Harvest.

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Buffy Rhoades | mom. gardener. volunteer turned program assistant. a real busy beaver