Gimme More Berries!

Oregon Marionberry, Willamette Valley, OregonWhen you think about them, your mouth waters. When you eat one, the sweetness just makes you want more and when you bake them with a little oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter, you make people fall in love with you. 

That's the Marionberry and it is grown exclusively in Oregon and is known as the "cabernet of blackberries" because of it's rich, complex earthy flavor.  Again, the lush Willamette Valley's spring rain and sandy soil provides the perfect medium to grow these lovely berries.  A cross between a Chehalem and Olallieberry, the marionberry or marion blackberry, created in 1945 at OSU, then released in 1956 has become the standard blackberry.  It was created to fulfill a need for a sturdy berry that could be frozen and put into processed foods and has now become the number one berry crop that is frozen then sold throughout the US and Canada. 

The berry is used in pies, cobblers, crisps, you name it and you can use marionberries in it.  That's what Kris has discovered about the berries she uses in her pies.  Kris Krabill is from the Willamette Valley and unless you pre-order aFarmer's Market, Oregon marionberry pie from her, you will be out of luck at the Albany Farmer's Market come spring.  Throughout the entire spring, summer and even in to fall, you can find Kris and her decadent goodies at the farmer's market and if you are lucky enough to grab a pie before they are gone, come over and share it with me!

The Albany Farmer's Market begins this year on Saturday, April 18th and goes through November 21st.  Be sure and find Kris and check out her Challah bread, cinnamon rolls, old-fashioned sticky-buns with homemade caramel sauce and don't forget the marionberry pie! The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn, an Oregon Bed & Breakfast Guild inn is just a block away from the market and is pleased to say that we serve fresh marionberries here to our guests all summer long.  My recipe for Marionberry Crisp is one that I have played with and is a little different each time I make it.  It can be made in individual ramekins or in large dish for several people.  
  • Using a ramekin, spray with non-stick spray, put 3/4c. frozen or fresh marionberries into the ramekin, sprinkle 2 tablespoons uncooked oatmeal over the berries, then sprinkle about 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar over the oatmeal and top with 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until berries are hot and butter is melted.
  • You can play with this easy recipe by adding whatever you like to the berries.  I have added hazelnuts fresh from Hazelnut Hill in Corvallis, Oregon and even some cinnamon is good too.
Fresh Marionberry Breakfast Bowl, Oregon Bed & Breakfast, The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn.Top the berry crisp with a dolup of fresh homemade whip cream and it's like having dessert for breakfast.  I serve my Marionberry Crisp with an egg and onion scramble topped with fresh grated asiago cheese, a thick, warm, fresh from the oven square of cinnamon crumb cake, and several slices of sizzling turkey bacon.  

Include with that delectable breakfast a hot cup of joe, Blueberry Green Tea, or a latte from your personal barista and you have experienced an unforgettable morning at The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn


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