As the long, warm days of summer begin to give way to the crisp, golden days of fall, here at the Inn we are all excited for harvest season in the Willamette Valley.
While the grapes are ripening on the vine, soon to be picked, we're also reaching the height of the growing season for summer produce. Local corn will be picked within the next two weeks, beans are coming off the vines and tomatoes are abundant. It's peak season for eggplants, cucumbers and melons. This is part of why summer is my favorite time of year.
This week I am most excited about harvesting our chili peppers. Last year, we planted three varieties of chilis in our garden (Fresno, Jimmy Nardello and Espelette peppers) and I saved a few seeds from each to grow this season.
Above: Jimmy Nardello chili. Top: Fresno chilis. Images provided by Pollinate
We ended up with about 30 plants that our friends and neighbors, John and Jeremi of Pollinate, planted and raised for us. So far we’ve received 8 pounds of Fresno chilis to make our house hot sauce, which has been a hit at breakfast service! We grind them whole, sprinkle in garlic and salt, then ferment them for two months. After fermentation, we season with homemade vinegar and barrel age the sauce for another 3 months. This gives it a slightly smoked flavor and helps balance the acidity to the natural sweetness of the chili, while also mellowing out the spice.
We're hoping to bring in a total of 50 pounds of chilis this summer, and when the final product is complete we'll have enough hot sauce to take us through next year's harvest - then the cycle will begin again.
I look forward to sharing our chilis, and hot sauce, with you on your next visit!