• Aug
    18

    Meet Your Farmer: Charlie Harris


    by Rachael Lamb
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    I arrived at Flamingo Ridge farm a few minutes late for my meeting with owner Charlie Harris, as my journey out to Gaston, OR had me slowing to a roll at every idyllic ranch, winery, and overlook.  So when I arrived, I found Charlie on his flip phone doing business.  He told me to give him a second while he made things right with a client.  I heard him apologize for the miscommunication and insisted they take a new shipment free of charge tomorrow.  Later he told me that he doesn’t do ‘i phones, computers, internet, etc.’ for his business transactions.  He insists on “hearing the other person’s voice” and keeps things simple with a couple of huge dry erase boards.  I immediately got the sense that Charlie was just an all-around good guy.



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    Farm to Fit has been ordering produce from Charlie’s farm all summer.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and green beans are the bulk of Flamingo Ridge Farm, so if you’ve had our Greek Salad, Pico de Gallo,  or BOOST zucchini noodles – just to name a few – then you’ve been a part of the full circle! Charlie also supplies to several other restaurants as well as farmer’s markets in the Portland area.



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    Farm Hand Tony picking’ beans!

    We walked as we talked, and Charlie explained everything from his system of irrigation to his process of smoking garlic (which I am so excited to try!).  But my first question to him was about the farm’s name.  I had assumed he was originally from Florida, but it turns out that way back when, one afternoon, a garage-sale obsessed, hairdresser friend of his just happened to bring by 200 books of matches with the name ‘Flamingo Ridge’ on them.  And thus, a farm was born.  Thirty years later, Charlie couldn’t be happier.



    Peppers ready to be picked!



    Peppers ready to be picked!  It’s on Tony’s to-do list…

     

    The farm (totaling 5 farming acres) sits on a hill, which Charlie uses to his advantage every winter with a man-made pond at the bottom of a slope.  The rainfall travels down hill and collects – and Charlie uses this water (along with water from another pond on the other side of his property, totaling 1 million gallons) to irrigate his crops all summer long.  I asked him how he has been affected by the drought this year, to which he replied “not at all” while simultaneously pointing out the gigantic bull frog that was about to leap into the pond for a dip.  He said that he’s been lucky in that regard, and has been more worried about the increased risk of fire breaking out.



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    Baby eggplant!



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    Charlie grows ‘Oregon Star’ seedless tomatoes. I don’t envy the person enduring the heat in that greenhouse to harvest those big red guys!

    We walked out to his yurt, which he lists on HelpX.net (a world-wide site that brings together volunteers and farmers in a cultural exchange), and he invited me to stand in the center of it and make a noise, which I did, and surprised myself with the weird acoustics.  He said that it’s the ideal place to listen to someone play music, and that he’s had some amazing musicians stay at the farm.  We walked by the yellow-jacket traps and made our way through the back fields of harvested squash plants. The greenhouses were teaming with ripe tomatoes.  The baby eggplant were shining in the sunlight.  The workers laughed from a distance.  Ahh.. farm life.  What a beautiful, and more importantly- important place.



    Me and Charlie, new pals!



    Me and Charlie, new pals!

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  • Jul
    28

    7 Tips to Beat the Heat at Bedtime


    by Rachael Lamb
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    What a record breaking summer here in the northwest! Though we’ve had a bit of a break this past week, GEAR UP for another spell of high 90 and 100 degree days – starting tomorrow!  Even though us Portlandians go a good chunk of the year without sun, heat like this is too much for most of us.  Especially when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.  It can be frustratingly impossible to sleep on nights that have barely started to cool down by 9:00 pm.  And when heat comes in week-long waves, lack of sleep can really start to take a toll on balance and health. So, in preparation for this upcoming week/weekend check out these 7 tips to beat the heat at bedtime!

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  • Jul
    14

    5 Sugar Alternatives to Sweeten Your Summer!


    by Rachael Lamb
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    We are all aware of the term ’empty calories’ and the foods that are associated with them.  Baked goods, processed foods, soda – anything with added sugar.  Oh, sugar, you sweet little devil!  That tasty sweetener has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease –  and the list goes on.  It’s becoming common knowledge that the ‘healthy’ choice is to avoid sweets and sugar altogether.  But, that being said, there is a time and a place for a lemonade on a hot day.  (There’s GOT to be, right??!)  And, lemonade isn’t lemonade without a little sweet to balance out the sour. (Lemon water is also refreshing on a hot day, and a great alternative to lemonade, but I’m trying to prove a point!)  Every now and again something sweet just hits the spot, and it’s not a bad thing to indulge – especially when you choose your sweetener wisely.  The good news is that there are alternatives to sugar that will satisfy that sweet tooth without leaving you sugar-sick! (more…)

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  • Jun
    30

    Veggie of the Month – BASIL!


    by Rachael Lamb
    posted in Ingredients, Recipes
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    Ok, so it’s technically an herb, and technically the month is pretty much over, but we’ve been ALL about the basil at Farm to Fit this June and thus, it deserves some spotlight!



    Farm to Fit coworker in the Basil Greenhouse



    Benefits of Basil in Your Diet – Farm to Fit

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  • Jun
    16

    5 Diet Tips to Cutting Calories Daily


    by Rachael Lamb
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    If weight loss is your goal, eating less is probably your best bet.  The New York Times just published an article citing studies that suggest exercise doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss.  It’s an interesting twist in the world of dieting, as it seems like “EXERCISE” has been pounded into our heads as the key to dropping pounds.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt and obviously helps keep weight off – as long as the calories you’ve expended are greater than the calories you’ve consumed.  Story short: exercise alone will not save the day, nor will it even make a dent in your waistline if that equation gets reversed.  The article made a good point – that on average, most people don’t maintain a daily exercise routine long-term, and even those who do are not burning as many calories as they may think.  For example, a 30 minute run may burn 350 calories.  The same amount of calories could easily be cut from one’s diet by eliminating 2 sodas (or beers – hey, we do live in Portland) per day.  The advantage of cutting the calories vs.  burning them stems from the fact that most people don’t exercise due to lack of time.  Making better dietary choices, and consuming less can be a challenge of it’s own, but it is definitely more efficient! (more…)

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  • Jun
    09

    5 Healthy Habits to Have this Summer!


    by Rachael Lamb
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    It’s officially Summer in a few weeks (though, who would have thought with this recent heat streak?!) and in the spirit of this sunny season here are some suggestions to keep you healthy and happy these next few months! (more…)

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  • May
    19

    Veggie of the Month – Spring Onions!


    by Rachael Lamb
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    Bunch of Spring Onions



    This May, you may have noticed a sweet little addition to more than a few of our menu items.  Spring onions, (or ‘scallions’, ‘green onions’ ,’bunching onions’, ‘baby onions’, etc.) are the perfect addition to salads, soups, stir-fry’s and sandwiches. We like to use them in the Teriyaki Rice Bowl, as a garnish on the Black Bean Enchilada, or in the Polenta aside the Tuscan Beef Stew – just to name a few!  They’re mild, but still flavorful in a way that isn’t overpowering.   This is because they are harvested prematurely, before the bulb has time to fully develop that sharp, bold flavor. Green onions are part of the Allium family which contains over 300 species; this also includes Leeks, Garlic, Spring Onions, Shallots and Chives. (more…)

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  • May
    12

    Spring Hikes Near Portland


    by Rachael Lamb
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    The rain has finally started to slow and it is time, once again, to enjoy the product of all those wet,grey sky-ed days:  Green EVERYTHING. Wildflowers.  Rushing streams.  Cool, fresh air.  What better way to spend some free time than out exploring the beautiful northwest (or as my Oregon license plate proclaims, the “Pacific Wonderland”)!  Not only is nature a wonder to marvel at, spending time outdoors is scientifically proven to release stress, and improve mood.  It boosts our Vitamin D levels (essential to our immune systems), promotes eye health, is good for the lungs, improves sleep – the list goes on and on.  Even a light walk has immense health benefits.  Here are a few spring hikes in the Portland area worth checking out this season! (more…)

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  • May
    05

    The FAT Facts


    by Rachael Lamb
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    The dreaded word.  The thing to be avoided at all costs.  There is good reason to fear fat – this country has a higher rate of obesity than any other place in the world, and it’s not because we overdo it on the vegetables. It seems like common sense, from a weight loss perspective, that consuming foods high in fat such as milk, butter, red meat, etc. contribute to weight gain. But what are the true root causes?  Does eating fat make you fat? Let’s start at the beginning.   (more…)

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  • Apr
    21

    The Mighty Asparagus – Veggie of the Month!


    by Rachael Lamb
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    Asparagus



    April is the month for Asparagus.  It’s bright-green shooting stalk is the epitome of Spring.  We’ve spent the past few winter months winding down, conserving energy in preparation for the new birth and regeneration that this season brings us.  Many vegetables start to make an appearance about now (onions, leeks, mushrooms, garlic, etc.) – but The Mighty Asparagus is King (or Queen – but we’ll get to that later). (more…)

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