Signs of fall: your tomatoes finally ripened and there’s a zucchini the size of a VW Beetle hiding in your yard. But Oregon squeezes in another grand season of fresh fruits, vegetables and fungi in the fall. We talked with John Helleberg, chef at Brian’s Pourhouse in Hood River, to find out what autumn treasures he’s on the lookout for and to get some ideas for the home kitchen.

Helleberg says September is special because the warm weather keeps the last of the summer vegetables coming in with the first of the fall. “September is a fun month to cook because there is so much crossover and so many different things that will work together,” he says. Corn and chanterelles are one of his favorite combinations this time of year. “Fall porcinis and matsutakes are awesome too.”

Helleberg also loves fall for delicatta squash. “It’s like a tiny football, about the size of a hand. It has a sweet, nutty flavor. My favorite way to prepare it is to slice it and toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill it. You can serve it cold or warm.”

When pears and apples start in September, Helleberg uses them for salads, sauces, spreads and fruit butters. “One of my favorite pears is the Asian pear. They are juicy and sweet, and I love to mandolin them over a salad.”

To get the freshest of seasonal bounty, Helleberg recommends hitting farmers markets. “You’re going to get the freshest produce and the highest quality,” he says. He says large local farms are another good bet.

Look for a farmers market near you, and check out more fall bounty at harvest festivals like the Sublimity Harvest Festival Hood River Valley Harvest Fest, Champoeg Apple Harvest Day and the Annual Harvest Festival in Central Point.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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  1. Paul “Mtnguy” U. says…

    I have found TravelOregon to be one of the most informative publications known to man.We are travelling to Oregon 9-12-2012 thru ??? just for festivals, food and scenery. TravelOregon has given us an in-depth look at what Oregon has to offer. And we can’t wait to check it out. Number one on the list is breweries. Second, can’t wait to have some fresh Dungeness Crab, clams and other fresh seafood offerings Oregon has to offer. I am expecting a fun filled time and as a ‘foodie’ I am set on tasting seafood of various kinds and flavors. With so much packed into Travel Oregon, my wife and I will ofcourse have to pick and choose. But, we can’t wait to see what all Oregon has to offer. If what I’ve seen in the publications, I’d better put another notch on my belt. Look out Oregon, here we come.

    Written on September 5th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
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