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Day 18 - Salem, Oregon

It's been a crazy week. Nebraska, Nevada, West Virginia, Kansas and today, Oregon. Ziggy and I are pooped and plan on taking it easy while we're here. We plan on staying on a ranch in a log cabin and maybe even fish. Well, I'll do the fishing. Ziggy just sits there and does nothing.

When we arrived in Salem, Oregon, Ziggy grabbed her hat and strutted around much to the surprise and cheers among the locals.

We heard some things about Oregon way down in Nevada about how many Farmer's Markets were springing up all over Oregon. So we decided to check them out. Along the way, I told Ziggy, "Oregon was the 33rd state in the USA and it became a state on February 14, 1859." She stuck her head out the window and her hat blew off so I had to stop and go back to get it. I told her, next time, I wasn't stoppin. That threat made her keep her head in the window.

From now until the time leaves start changing color, Oregonians will be able to enjoy some of the freshest and tastiest food around as the farmers' market season kicks into high gear. Markets that have already opened are reporting brisk business this spring as city folks pursue locally grown produce and other items as well as an experience not available in traditional retail groceries.

We arrived at this Farmers Market where farm produce sits in bins and containers. Everything looked so fresh. I spoke with one of the farmers. His name was Hector Beluga. I asked him how long he'd been farming and he took his hankerchief out and said, "See this hankerchief? I haven't washed it in 50 years. That's how long I been a farmin! Carry it for good luck."

After seeing his hankerchief, I didn't want to hurt his feelings, walk away and not buy anything so I told him to give me 5 pounds plums. I'll just wash them real good I thought to myself. But before I left, I asked him what he thought about being an American.

He replied, "My parents came here from Russia when I was 10 years old and bought some property here in Oregon. Been here ever since. There's one thing you don't see here in America that I remember traveling when I was a kid in Russia."

I asked what that was and he said, "Soldiers and checkpoints. You can go where you want to go in this country and no one stops you unless you are breaking the law. You have to have laws. Now, you want paper or plastic?"

We drove to Yahill, Oregon after driving around Salem for a few hours where we met up with a few of our subscribers, Linda and Phyllis at Trask Mountain Outpost. I told them we had heard about this wonderful Oregon recipe called Oregon Plum Crisp and gave them the plums. The manager of the restaurant put them to work in the kitchen. hehehe. The folks there were more than happy to see them in the kitchen making some cobbler with fresh plums that Oregon was famous for. When they finished, they even served it up to all who were in the restaurant. Now those are two loyal subscribers. Woo hoo!

Want a great dessert? You just can't beat this one. I grew up with a plum tree in my back yard and when they were ripe and good for the pickin', they were good for the eatin' too. Mom reminded me about all the cobblers she made when we were growing up. Heck, she didn't have to remind me. I can still taste them with a good scoop of ice cream on the side. Here's the recipe. Here's the recipe.

Oregon Plum Crisp
Serves a bunch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spray a glass loaf pan with nonstick spray.
2 cans Oregon Purple Plums, drained, pitted and quartered
(you can buy plums, canned, or fresh at your grocery store)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Combine plums, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in the loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour with brown sugar, walnuts, and salt.

Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter to a coarse-crumb texture. Spoon over plum mixture.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and plums are bubbly.

Serve warm topped with French vanilla or vanilla bean ice cream lightly dusted with ground ginger.

Dish me up some of that cobbler,
It looks real good I see,
And if there's any left over,
Wrap it, pack it,
And I'll take it home with me.


Phyllis asked what else we were going to do while we were here. I really wanted to go to Portland for some Starbucks coffee but Ziggy didn't care for that and really wanted to ride a horse. So Linda told us of the Flying M Ranch about 10 miles west of Yamhill so that's where we went. She said, "They have a small air strip, cabins for rent and camp grounds."

We can get some rest, Ziggy can ride a horse and I can do some fishing. Then come Sunday night, we'll leave for St. Paul, Minneapolis. Sounds like a plan to me.

See ya Monday in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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