Taking Care of Business

When zucchini is bigger than your head?  Ummm, wow.

In fact, these zucchini could be star’s on their own.  To say they are huge would be an understatement! 

Since I am away from my home kitchen and can’t concoct any mouth-watering meals, I thought I would bring you some farm-stand loveliness from the beautiful Willamette Valley.

These peppers are seriously hot.  Did you think cayenne was only available in a jar?

The day continued with ice cream for lunch.  Vanilla, cotton candy or Kona coffee anyone?  The kids think I’m pretty cool now.

What’s the country without  a baby llama?  Probably nothin’.

Today I spent my day getting to know my closest winery neighbors, Maysara Winery and Yamhill Valley Vineyards.

There are only a few wineries in the Mcminnville American Viticultural Area (AVA) where our property is located.  In the wine business, the importance of working together and supporting each other’s endeavors, especially when your vineyards are close in proximity is invaluable.  You want each other to do well to help elevate the status of the area. 

Today I walked vineyards and talked to the people who make this all happen.

It was a great experience as the practices for farming grapes in Oregon are very different from California.  There’s a lot to learn.

I tasted over twenty different wines today, all distinctive in their own way.

I left each of these wineries with some great information about the area and some invaluable new contacts.  Not to mention a bottle of each of the wines they produce.

The wines by the way were incredible in taste and great examples of wine made in this area.  I can’t wait to see what my own land can do.

Maysara is also a nursery operation for vines, selling certified plant material to folks getting ready to plant a vineyard.  They are great neighbors already!

It was difficult not to snap a picture of every flower…

And every blueberry bush (?), as they were everywhere.  Something I don’t have at home.

Overall, another perfect day.  Thanks for coming along.

P.S.  The Potato Ho-Down Roundup is posted over at Evil Chef Mom’s today, go check it out!

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83 Comments

  1. Max 1

    How fabulous! What a wonderful future you have going for you…

    Cheers!

  2. Deeba 2

    WOW…am glad you’re having such a good & ‘colourful’ time. I’ll have a Kona coffee, thank you!! Thanks for sharing your bit of the world!

  3. You are in OUR wine country ! We have visited many of the wineries in the area and plan future vacations around visiting MORE wineries in the area . We are so excited for you and for US ! Future visits to the NOBLE PIG Winery….

    I am jealous of your vacation and trip to one of my favorite places on earth. I know you are enjoying yourselves ! KathyB.

  4. HoneyB 4

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing…I especially love the one of the baby Llama!

  5. Lori 5

    Wow, those are crazy zucchini! And cool lunch – now I’m craving ice cream as a midnight snack! :)

  6. Lovely photographs. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of the lovely countryside.

  7. WOW for that zucchini!!!!!! That could feed a whole family for a week! And how cute is the baby llama?!

  8. Leslie 8

    GOOD GOD..you could use that zucchini as a weapon!!!

  9. What a wonderful experience! I’ve never been to a wine field before, or Oregon, for that matter. The baby llama is adorable. Makes me want one.

  10. Great pics! Thanks for letting us come along. Kona Coffee ice cream! Yum!

  11. Philly 11

    Cannot wait for your winery to be up and running !!

    #1

  12. So interesting about your neighbors. I love Oregon wines, and cannot wait to have me some Noble Pig! That llama is priceless. The zucchini? I can’t even go there.

  13. Marcy 13

    Wow Cathy, those squash/zucchini r HUGE!! yummy looking too. The pictures of the vineyards and such are ery pretty, as r the flower pics. the kids sure look like they r enjoying their ice cream lunch. Maybe thats what I’ll have today….

  14. Barbie with a T 14

    Those photos are so beautiful. From the looks of things, California has nothing over Oregon as far as wine country is concerned. Looks like the perfect spot. Those vegetables were so pretty and looked so fresh. I wish I had a good produce store here, but none for miles. The ice cream looked really tempting also. Today is grocery shopping day for us, and wine is top of my list! I hope you brought home one of those huge zucchinis. You could make lots of zucchini bread with just one zucchini!

  15. Lori 15

    As much as I enjoyed ‘accompanying’ you on your day, the best shot was the top one of you, with that squash. What a great smile…

  16. Beautiful pictures!

    My mother-in-law grew zucchini that are the same size as the ones you pictured…I have one in my kitchen and I was hoping you’d have a recipe to try with it!

  17. so beautiful! thanks for taking us along—great grapes!

  18. Your wine venture is SO exciting!! How nice that you got to meet your fellow wine makers and sample their wines!

    I hope that zucchini won a prize!!

  19. Fabulous photos. Love love love the baby llama. And those zukes!! Oh, the bread I could make.

  20. dawn 20

    Wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing. Ohh that baby lhama is so adorable. Was he just chilling hillside? Love that.
    I want to go to a wine field, never been. I don’t think we have any here in MA.

  21. I neeeeddd that Llama. He/ she needs to come live in the Pond immediately! Can you imagine what fun the critters here would have with a llama?

    Maybe Miss Pickles can have a llama…..

  22. I thought zucchini that big were useless. And is that the first time I’ve seen a picture of you? How nice.

    My kids would have gone nuts over that baby llama. So cute.

    Love your pictures.

  23. Sandie 23

    More than a few of the wines from the Willamette Valley have intrigued me. Now this is a trip I would love to take! As a former member of WIGPAC, getting to meet and learn from your new neighbors must have been the finest treat!

  24. Dee 24

    Great pictures! I don’t know about the zucchini though; that’s just scary.

  25. Cassie 25

    My mouth watered looking at those farm stand pictures.

  26. Teri 26

    Gosh beautiful photos once again! My neighbor used to grow Zucchini’s like that and bring me some and I never knew what to do with them. He told me that he would slice them lengthwise and scoop out the center and fill with a ricotta cheese mixture (which I then made my own with mushrooms, garlic anything else you can think of) fill it, top with some marinara then mozzarella.

    I Can’t wait to see what your photos will be like once you start your winery!!! I’m so glad to have seen the process from the beginning! Glad you are looking so happy in your pictures! Have fun.

  27. Lovely photos. Every time I see a llama, I hear this song in my head. I dare you not to watch the video over and over. link to albinoblacksheep.com

  28. Misty 28

    Beautiful pictures as always Cathy. I felt like I was right there! I love the baby llama!

  29. Trisha 29

    That is one seriously huge zucchini! Wow! I love farmers’ markets. Everything just looks so tastey and everything is so fresh and good!

    Ice cream for lunch – you are my kind of woman!

  30. WOW that’s a huge Zucchini!

    How cool to talk to all the neighbors and get a feel for where you are going. I bet you drove out of there with SO much energy running through your brain/body. How exciting.

  31. Rayrena 31

    Color me green with envy. Deep green. Hey, like that ginormous squash! That guy could feed my family for a week!

    Beautiful pictures and, again, your boys are adorable:)

  32. Fran 32

    You must be about the bust from excitement!

    Fran

  33. Re: Giant zucchini. It may be ok for making zucchini bread or even a casserole, but when it comes to produce, don’t you find that bigger is not always better? I choose the smallest, tenderest squash (of any variety) for steaming or frying.

    We had a grape arbor for a couple of years and made jelly and wine. The jelly was good, but oh my, the wine was spectacular. We grew black Spanish grapes.

    Good luck on your venture.

    Ava

  34. Daisy 34

    Oh crap! I forgot the ho down. Bummer. I’m gonna do it… soon… I promise… well… no promises… but I’m gonna try!

    You totally are the coolest mom. I thought the best part of growing up was eating ice cream for breakfast any time I wanted… that and having boyfriend sleepovers. But really it was all about the ice cream. ;)

  35. Lisa 35

    Great photos. This is one gorgeous part of the world. That zucchini, however, is a bit scary.

  36. Greg 36

    The only problem with the super-zucchini is that they are all seeds in the middle! Have fun an don’t burn your mouth on the peppers :)

  37. WOW! I have never seen a zucchini that big before! That thing is HUGE!!

  38. Beautiful pictures as always! Love the produce! I really enjoyed the shots of the grapes on the vine. And how wonderful that your neighbor sells cuttings!

  39. That zucchini is scary! Lovely pictures! One day I’ll make it to see wineries, even if I don’t drink wine at all, I like cooking with it, and Hubby makes up for me anyway! ;-)

    Different blueberries, ours grow on the ground not on trees…

  40. Aww I love llamas :) That’s one big friggin Zuchinni. I lived in Michigan and the area I lived in had Blueberry farms I miss picking fresh blueberries. The ones at the market are so small and seem old. Hint: make sure to wash your hands well after touching Cayenne peppers( I’m sure you & the readers know this but I have read recently of an incident of love making and hot peppers lol) better yet use rubber gloves when handling :) Beautiful winery pics you are a lucky lady!

    You’ve been tagged look at my site, you can do it if you like if not no hard feelings :o)

  41. Cathy, I have one tiny correction – I think the “blueberry” bush actually an Oregon Grape, which is the state flower. They’re not edible, just pretty. The holly-like leaves are very distinctive. From a native Oregonian, temporarily living in CA! :-)

  42. Sarah 42

    Cathy,

    First of all, where in Oregon are you located? I just moved to Salem, so I really enjoyed your photos!
    Second, it’s so funny that you took a pic of that huge zucchini. I recently went to Salem’s Saturday Market and wanted to do the same thing after seeing an enormous zucchini, but I had no camera!

  43. Egghead 43

    The country is beautiful there and I can’t wait to visit the Noble Pig Winery some day. That zucchini is out of control huge.

  44. These pictures are so clear they look like real life! Looks like you’re having a good time!

  45. Alisa 45

    You are a cool mom. That farmer’s market looks tasty, I wish we had such a nice one around here. You have some pretty nice neighbors as well!

  46. grace 46

    i want a baby llama!! do you think i could keep it in my apartment while i’m at work? :)

  47. pam 47

    Everything is so beautiful! I love the pictures of all the grapes!

  48. sharon 48

    What do you make with a zucchini that large? Lovely photos…I’m visiting the wineries in a few months and this is making me lustful for a vacation!

  49. Marjie 49

    Love the pictures. I love it when we grow zucchini that big. Cook some, make a couple of loaves of zucchini bread, have some leftovers; it’s all great! Your winery photos are nice, and who wouldn’t want ice cream for lunch in the summer? Being a cool Mom isn’t that hard when they’re little; wait until they’re old teenagers….then again, if you’re holding wine tastings of your own by then….

  50. With each step you must be getting more excited. Little by little you move towards your dream. Good for you.

  51. You must be very excited. Each step brings you that much closer to your dream.

  52. tipper 52

    Thanks for taking me along!

  53. Flea 54

    What pretty country!

    Did the children’s mouths turn blue, eating the cotton candy ice cream? Yes, you rock as a mom!

    And don’t you know there’s a magazine for everything? :)
    link to countrybumpkin.com.au

  54. What a perfect day!!!!! Such a crime that you can’t cook with that monster zucchini!!

  55. Lovely photo of you Cathy. Zucchini’s really suit you. You should wear them more often :)

  56. Dragon 57

    Great! Now I want a baby llama. :)

  57. Bunny 58

    i love all your pictures, the veggies, fruit llama , vineyard!! they’re all wonderful!

  58. Yeah, I don’t know which I want to bite more, those grapes or that UNBELIEVABLY CUTE BABY LLAMA.

    Let me get back to you.

  59. Shirley 60

    I never get tired of seeing these wonderful pictures of your land and you and your family!

  60. Kate 61

    Good post, Cathy! Love all the photography. You just get better all the time. And that first shot?

    Priceless!!!!!

  61. Good lord! How many meals would that one zucchini make?

  62. Erin 63

    Beautiful pictures! Step away from the zucchini and nobody gets hurt! :)

  63. That monstrous zucchini reminds me of my childhood when I’d deliberately hide zucchini’s so they wouldn’t get picked and end up growing to gargantuan proportions. Every year I’d wonder if it was big enough to enter into the Napa County Fair, and every year I’d be disappointed to learn that most of the entries were 2-3 times the size of ones we had.

  64. Cheryl 65

    Oh Cathy, the images are stunning (as are you, you zany zucchini model, you!)…and sure, a llama is precious, but you had me at “tasted 20 varieties of wine…” now that, THAT is a day maker!

  65. Elle 66

    Holy sheet! That’s a huge zucchini! The area you’re in is just gorgeous, Cathy. you must be so excited!

  66. Alicia 67

    Those peppers have me salivating!! Just need the wine you’re going to make and I’d be in heaven.

  67. Sassy 68

    Such a fun and interesting undertaking you are embarking on, it`s amazing actually! I wish you all the luck in the world.

  68. Erinn 69

    Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. I loved the zucchini picture best, then the grapes, then the blueberries, but maybe the flowers? Oh shoot, they’re all pretty! Wish I could have tagged along to wine taste and snap pretty pics.

  69. Rita 70

    i love seeing more of you (oh plssss don’t take this the wrong way) hehe

    i just love when i finally get to see the face behind all the words and the gorgeous food pics ^_^

  70. Suzette 71

    Great pix from one of my favorite parts of the country. I have a close friend who lives in Portland, so I’ve been privileged to tramp around Oregon quite a bit. Just lovely!

    Your grape pix reminded me that I need to go check on my wild grape crop. It’s nearing harvest time.

  71. WOW I have never seen one that big – jurassic park like. Great pics what a wonderful place and I am sure the wine was so incredible.

  72. Fun trip! Your photos are gorgeous! As far as that zuke goes, stuff it & bake it. Then make bread, then pasta primavera, then ice cream….feed the army…

  73. Pam 74

    I can’t believe they took the pacifier away while in a hotel…not the smartest parents in the world. Welcome to Oregon! It’s a wonderful state full of beautiful scenery and interesting people (and very large zucchini).

  74. fantastic photos! Wish I have a chance to visit a winery one day … btw, I have a little surprise for you at my blog ;)

  75. dlyn 76

    Wow – gorgeous photos of a heavenly area. And you need to go get my zuke bread recipe to use up that baby!

  76. It is so exciting to see winerie4s in your area in action. I can envision the hillside planted:D

  77. magpie 78

    Did you actually buy that zucchini, or just fondle it?

    I love McMinnville. I’ve been there several times, staying at that funky Hotel Oregon in the middle of town and eating at Nick’s. And drinking wine, yum.

  78. Kristen 79

    I am so envious of the journey you are embarking on! I love your model too of sharing information… I think if more companies worked that way, there would be a lot more success and a lot less failure all around.

  79. That baby llama is so cute! They always look like a bit of a fantasy creature to me, I don’t know why. And woah, that is a gigantic zucchini!

  80. Mrs. L 81

    Awesome photos. I love the little llama one! I can’t wait for you to get your winery up an running so we can all come visit :)

  81. Have I mentioned how envious I am of your new wine venture. Amazing – a dream come true.

    Re: zucchini, I heard that the smaller ones are more flavorfull. Any ideas?

  82. Kevin 83

    Look at the size of that zucchini! I guess I should be stating an aproximate size for zucchini in my recipes or they could be way off. :)

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