Autumn is in full force now, and that only means one thing to me – the crispy and juicy farmer-direct honeycrisp apples that we get every fall from the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-op. As I do every fall, I had to pick a recipe that showcased these delicious apples.
I looked around for an apple bar recipe that I thought sounded good*, but couldn’t find anything that struck my fancy. I was feeling kind of daring, so I decided to just wing it and create a recipe of my own. I love coffee cake, and haven’t had much opportunity to eat it since becoming gluten intolerant, so I thought that would be fun to try. I wanted my cake to be moist and have a very distinct apple flavor without being too sweet, and I feel that I achieved that with this recipe.
With great trepidation I removed the cake from the oven and could hardly wait to taste it because it smelled so good! I let it sit for about 20 minutes and then just couldn’t wait any longer…the cake turned out moist and had that bold apple flavor I was looking for. Success! Customers and staff that tried it loved it, and I handed out many more recipes to shoppers than I usually do (which is one of the ways I measure the success of a recipe demo).
This is a very easy recipe, especially if you have an apple parer/corer/slicer (which if you don’t and you love apples, you should get one – they are usually pretty easy to find at garage sales, although you can buy them new as well!). I didn’t add any nuts to the one I made for sampling in the Co-op, but I bet some of the Holmquist Orchards locally grown roasted hazelnuts would be excellent in this recipe, either in the batter or in the streusel topping.
September is here…already! More delicious local produce has arrived, and this time of year there is so much that can be had from backyard gardens and local farms. September also marks the launch of Sustainable Connections new Eat Local First campaign – a year-round way to connect local farmers with local market support, and in turn raise awareness to consumers. The Co-op has supported local products and farmers for over 40 years, and we were excited to partner with Sustainable Connections and become a sponsor of the campaign.
After talking this week with Wynne, the Produce Manager at Cordata, I decided that a recipe with plums as the focus was in order. Not only does the Okanogan Farmer’s Co-op grow delicious peaches, but we also get all kinds of plums from them. This week we have some beautiful and tasty Santa Rosa plums and a variety of pluots (a cross between a plum and apricot) that were also grown in Washington. Fruit crisp is simple and delicious, and since I had never had any made with plums I thought it would be fun to try.
I used 8 Santa Rosa plums and 8 yellow pluots, and also decided that the locally grown roasted hazelnuts from Holmquist Orchards in Lynden would be a great substitution for the walnuts called for in the original recipe. Because I wanted to be able to eat some myself, I also used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats and our own Co-op Bakery gluten-free flour (made using Bob’s certified gluten-free flours) because it would be an unnoticeable substitution for wheat flour. If you can tolerate wheat, then by all means use the locally milled Fairhaven Flour Mill flour. We also have locally made butter from Breckenridge Farm in Everson at the Co-op. The crisp came together quickly (the longest part was cutting 16 plums into small slices!) and smelled divine – it was a delicious mix of tart and sweet that customers really loved, across the board!
If you are looking for resources on eating locally grown and produced food, a good place to start for Whatcom County residents (besides the Co-op!) is at www.eatlocalfirst.org – you will find links to the Whatcom Food and Farm Finder (also available at both co-op locations), a link to the Whatcom Locavore blog (which features recipes utilizing as many local ingredients as possible), and a list of local restaurants that are participating in the Eat Local First campaign. If you live outside Whatcom County (and in the US), you can check out www.localharvest.org to find food that is locally grown in your community.