KATIE B’s POST, who doesn’t love a field trip?

Mar 23rd, 2012

Who doesn’t love a field trip???  Getting out on the open road to see and do new exciting things.  My destination this week was Red Ridge Farms-Oregon Olive Mill, a trifecta of fun!  Not only is it home of the beautiful Durant vineyard, ( FYI you must try the Pinot Gris) and a sprawling olive grove of 13,000 trees, it also has an amazing Zen like nursery. These being a few of my favorite things- insert Sound of Music tune here- I am a happy girl.

Somehow the inclement weather made it all the better to be near the old stove stirring a robust Ribollita (Italian bread soup) to perfection; pancetta with a mirepoix, 3 varieties of beans, Italian black kale, cabbage and zucchini all swimming in a bubbling tomato and chicken stock bath.  The first time I had this dish, I was in Sienna Italy, staying in a huge villa built in the1500’s.  It also had olive trees for miles and I was lucky enough to be there in November for the first pressing.  The oil was green, cloudy and spicy, like pepper at the back of the throat.  We made this traditional soup in a HUGE pot inside a massive fireplace.  It is one of those kinds of dishes you literally have to make yourself walk away from after the second helping.

RIBOLITTA: Hearty from the three varieties of beans,  light from clear stock,  fresh from the kale and ribbons of fresh basil

I learned the proper way to taste olive oil from the experts at the Oregon Olive Mill.  Take a bit of the oil, aerate 3 times across the tongue, before coating the roof of the mouth, and finally swallowing toward the back of the throat.  This allows all areas of the palate to taste and weigh in equally.

I also have a new found respect for micro greens, tiny freshly sprouted plants that are cultivated about 4 days after they are planted.  Not only are they beautiful for presentation, they have an incredible concentration of flavors that add a fresh component to the dish; and come in many different varieties or a blend of plants or micro herbs.

When we see the connection from Earth to farm, and farm to table, it transports us. It is a time before IPADS and emails, TV or twitter.  When people relied on the sun and the soil, their hard work and intuition to know the perfect time to pick the grape, harvest the olives, or plant the seed.  All of these things come together at just the right time to feed our friends, our families and our souls.
Sent from my Kindle Fire–KB