The Oregon Berry Festival . . . and 10 lbs really is A LOT of fruit!

Last weekend was the Oregon Berry Festival and I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time there on the lovely warm Saturday afternoon we had.  This is a small festival, but what it lacked in size, it more than made up for in berry-goodness.

It was held in Portland’s Pearl District at the Ecotrust Building, a beautiful modern retail space with an outdoor courtyard-like area.   In the courtyard several local farmers were on hand to share their bounty.  Booths were seriously overflowing with berries of all kinds – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, tayberries, and others I had never heard of!  It was a gorgeous sight.

Inside, the festival had space for vendors who weren’t growing the berries themselves, but who sure knew how to put them to good use.  Berry liqueur, cocktails, preserves, pastries, and juices were there for the tasting (and buying!).  

It was a really fantastic little piece of the local food scene and I took a home a delicious pint of raspberries which I later used to make a raspberry sauce for peach parfaits (more on those below).

I suspect the reason that I only bought one lone pint of berries at the festival was that I arrived there straight from a farmer’s market, where I had collected on a Groupon purchased a few weeks back.  The Groupon entitled me to 10 lbs of peaches and apricots from a local farmer.  Now, when I purchased that Groupon I was seriously excited (I also have one for 10 lbs of apples and pears to pick up later in the season).  I love fruit.  I love locally grown produce.  And, I love a deal.  I saw the offer and snatched it up right away.

I didn’t really stop to figure out how much 10 lbs is in regards to peaches and apricots.  You should probably know that I am notoriously bad at this sort of thing.  Something is seriously awry in the part of my brain that allows most people to estimate weight, size, space, et cetera.  I am always WAY off.

I arrived at the Farmer’s Market, happily handed over my Groupon voucher to be redeemed, and I was told to select the fruit I wanted.  A scale was at the ready and I could weigh it out myself.  I started sorting through standard peaches, donut peaches (extra yum for those), and apricots, placing the chosen ones in my bag.  After a couple of minutes, I figured I surely had to be at least halfway there.

I was wrong.

I placed my bag on the scale and it read: 3 lbs 2 oz.

Seriously?!  I already had enough fruit to last me the week!  I kept going and repeated this startling process a few more times before I finally was finished and made my way through the crowd with my huge bags of peaches and apricots slung over my shoulder.

I clearly just had no idea how little these fruits actually weigh.

Once home, I had to figure out what to do with all of it.  I had intended on making parfaits with what I thought would be about a third of the peaches (and turned out to be about a twelfth of them!), which is what prompted me to buy the raspberries at the festival.

After all was said and done, I made the parfaits (which were quite tasty), used all the apricots up to make homemade apricot-vanilla bean jam (SO good), and have been snacking on the rest of the peaches all week.

I will certainly try to be more prepared when the time comes to cash in on my apple and pear voucher in a couple of months.

In the meantime, I share with you my recipe for Bourbon-Poached Peach Parfaits with Raspberry Sauce.  Enjoy!

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Bourbon-Poached Peach Parfaits with Raspberry Sauce  

makes 3 parfaits

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups water

½ cup brown sugar

2 tblspns bourbon

½ long or 1 short vanilla bean (split lengthwise)

2 tblspns lemon juice, divided

3 peaches, stones removed and quartered

1 cup fresh raspberries

2 tblspns confectioners’ sugar

12 oz greek non-fat yogurt (plain or vanilla)

¼ cup crushed graham crackers (I used Annie’s Organic)

Directions:

  1. Put the water, brown sugar, bourbon, 1 tblspn of the lemon juice, and vanilla bean into a pot and heat over medium-low until the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.
  2. Once sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil, add peach quarters and let simmer for 7-8 minutes.  If the syrup doesn’t cover them entirely, turn peaches over halfway through.  Pierce with a fork and test to ensure the peaches are soft.  If they are, remove from pan, peel off skins, and let cool.  (The remaining syrup can be discarded or used to poach other fruit if you like).
  3. While the peaches cool, make the sauce.  Toss raspberries, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1 tblspn lemon juice into a blender or food processer.  Process until liquefied and combined.  Push through a strainer to remove any raspberry seeds.
  4. Assemble the parfaits when ready to serve.  First, place two peach quarters in the bottom of each glass.  Top with a few spoonfuls of yogurt.  Drizzle raspberry sauce on next.  Repeat these layers in each glass one more time.  To finish, sprinkle crushed graham crackers on the top of each parfait.

Note:  I imagine that these parfaits would be equally good with crushed nuts or granola in place of the graham crackers.  And, you could always use ice cream instead of yogurt for an even more decadent dessert  – though I do think these were fantastic as is!

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