But it's also given me a chance to hole up in MC's (my mother-in-law) house and write about the tremendous couple of days I've already had. With a glass of wine next to me, of course. The days have been full of food and wine, and I'm happy as a clam (...or a crab, seeing as I'm a Cancer...).
One of the first places we go when we arrive in Oregon is EZ Orchards, which I mentioned here (you can also "like" them on Facebook). It's truly a community spot with mostly local produce, as well as local cheeses, homemade baked goods, and supplies for the home. Every year we visit and I stock up on both EZ Orchards' Marionberry Jam and AJ's Walla Walla Sweet Onion Mustard:
And every year I pine for one of their gorgeous tablecloths and never buy one:
Their berries are particularly beautiful:
It has also become an unofficial tradition that I make caramelized onions every time I visit MC:
The Walla Walla sweet onions are just so unbelievably sweet and rich - I love pairing them with salty salami (as I did last year) or on a burger with blue cheese (which I did this year).
Oregon - and Salem, in particular - is such a well-hidden secret. We know that it's one of the best states in the U.S. for beer, but it's also an incredible food mecca. It's a secret that Oregonians, for the most part, would rather not be revealed for fear that the state would be overrun (by Californians, in particular...). EZ Orchards is a perfect example of Salem's hidden charm.
Eat, drink, and support local business.
* Bug, my grandmother-in-law, and me, in this case. It's also my sister-in-law's birthday today - happy birthday, Kellee!!!