Part of the Golden Spurtle competition is plating your gastronomic creation. Not only does your oatmeal concoction need to taste amazing, it needs to look beautiful too. As part of our plating, we wanted to highlight the beauty in all of our Oregon ingredients- deep green pears, rich red cherries and fresh hazelnuts.
Oregon provides 99% of all hazelnuts grown in the United States. Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting Rich and Nancy Birkemeier at their hazelnut farm, Birkemeier Farms, in Canby, Oregon. I was on the hunt for the beautiful hazelnut husks to use as part of our plate presentation and was rewarded with a bounty of green, husk covered hazelnuts. Upon arrival, I received a warm welcome from Nancy. Polly, from the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board, who had so kindly set up my visit, met me at the farm and together they explained all about hazelnut farming in Oregon.
I was very lucky to visit during harvest season and was witness to the hustle and bustle that takes place for six weeks of the year. The beauty of the farm- rolling hills of tree upon tree- was breathtaking. The ground had a golden sheen from the thousands of freshly fallen hazelnuts, no doubt representative of their immense worth to these people. I learned all about how hazelnuts are grown, harvested and the challenges the farmers face each year.
Thanks again to Rick, Nancy and Polly for giving me the grand tour yesterday!
Hazelnuts are delicious on their own, but they can also be used to turn an average dessert into something truly decadent and a savory meal into something out of this world. This week, we’re giving away our second spurtle set. To enter- simply post a link to your favorite or any delicious sounding hazelnut recipe in the comment field. On Friday, we will randomly select a winner from all who post.