Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not-Yet-Ripe-For-The-Picking in the Pacific Northwest

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when Washington replaces its winter weather with spring, June will be uncharacteristically wet and cold. I can handle biking in the rain and bundling up in a fleece, but I find it difficult to cope with the disappointment of unripe berries. This month's Mac Attack Challenge was "Walk on the Wild Side." While I believe this refers to a jungle theme, I had decided to run with the wild - that is, wild berries.

This would be a RIPE salmonberry, not the paler version I turned into jam today.

Our local newspaper had a whole article on local edible wild plants, which mentioned this little salmon-colored raspberry-like fruit located in some of the wet, woody areas nearby. On my runs for the past few weeks, I passed a stand of some golden salmonberries waiting to ripen in the sun. Unfortunately, we were missing the sun part of the equation. So my berries languished in the rain, and my hopes and dreams of creating a vibrant Wild Salmonberry Macaron were washed away.
Well, not quite. The lovely orangey berries were too tempting, so I collected a few and concocted enough jam to fill a single macaron. I made some rather lumpy coconut shells (too much coconut, eh?...they taste delightful, though), and filled the remaining with a chocolate ganache. There could have been worse endings to my predicament.
These macarons are extra special because of the chickens that laid these multi-colored eggs! As I mentioned a few posts ago, I spend one day a week helping on a local farm. They happen to have some little layers that produce spectacular eggs!
I also have to say that I feel amazingly lucky to be working with them (not the hens, the people), as they are so enthusiastic and work so hard. This brings me to the second topic I wanted to discuss - Pacific Northwest Agriculture. I can't remember if I shared this with you before, but starting a week from Saturday PBS will broadcast Good Food for a short period of time. This film documents some of the agricultural endeavors taking place in this region - particularly the revitalization of the family farm and the growing power of farmers markets. It highlights some of the challenges farmers face - both financial and ecological - and showcases several farms overcoming these. If anything, I felt comforted and inspired after watching, and now consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to live in an area that has such a wealth of conscious consumers and farmers ... and truly Good Food!

7 comments:

Bonnie said...

Your macs are so pretty. I love that you used wild berries.

Fran├žoise @ Chocoparis said...

I love the idea of using local edible wild plants. The flavour combination sounds exotic and wild! Beautiful macarons!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Rain still sounds better to me than 100° in June.
The macs sound amazing. Would love to try the salmonberry, never been ripe when we've been there.

Deeba PAB said...

I'd love to be where you are Rachel, at the farm, picking berries and soaking up some rain. Love the exotic and inspired flavours in your macs... awesome!! Thanks for joining us at MacTweets. Wonderful to have you on board!!

Cristie said...

What an interesting blog post. I loved reading it and learning so many interesting new things. A salmonberry is completely new to me- beautiful little thing, I love it and your mac's!

Rachel said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments! It's good to know people are reading my blog :)

And, yes, wild berries are wonderful things. I can't wait until blackberry season!

Jamie said...

Love the salmonberries and hope they finally arrive so you can make something with them. Very cool macs! Lumpy yes, but better feet than I had and I love the flavors. Wild!