DD Ranch is perhaps best known for its pumpkin festival and year-round offering of grass-fed beef, pork and - sometimes - lamb. You might participate in the ranch's CSA program or may have purchased some of DD Ranch's fresh meat from the Northwest Crossing Farmer's Market. But if you've never been the ranch itself, located just a few miles from Smith Rock, it's worth a visit. The DD Ranch is part petting zoo, part horse corral, part country store and part pick-your-own farm. My boyfriend and I arrived at 10 a.m. on a Sunday and were promptly greeted by co-owner Scott Dugan. He let us know what was available for picking, pointing out the paths we'd take to find potatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers and corn. He handed us a shovel, a pitchfork and a wagon and sent us on our way.
In a matter of minutes, I was knee deep in dirt, tossing fingerling potatoes into the wagon. My boyfriend and I developed a system: he shoveled, I sieved. The fingerlings were plentiful and before we knew it, our wagon was half full. We dug; we picked; we struck gold - Yukon gold! The other half of the wagon quickly filled with the second of DD's five varieties of potato. I headed back for re-enforcements (another wagon) as my boyfriend dug into the next row: blue potatoes (also known as purple or Peruvian potatoes) came next, followed by red potatoes and finally russets. Five varieties of all natural potatoes literally at our fingertips. And at $1 per pound, we couldn't have asked for a better deal or a better day.
Hot from the sun and our efforts, we headed back toward the Country Market, detouring into the cornfield. Pick-your-own corn beckoned, so we each picked a dozen or so before walking back to the Country Market. As Scott and his daughter weighed our purchase, we had a chance to look around the market. There was a cooler of fresh and frozen meats, honey packed in mason jars for purchase and produce, including a variety of squash and corn.
My boyfriend convinced me to include a simple recipe from our day's plunder of potatoes and corn. It's simple preparation and most of the ingredients can be found in the average kitchen. Here it is:
Steam a couple handfuls of whole fingerling potatoes until just done, about 10 minutes.
In a bowl combine ¼ C. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar, 1 clove chopped garlic, salt & pepper.
Add still warm fingerlings that have been sliced in half, to above marinade.
Cut kernels from 2 ears of corn into mixture as well.
Add your favorite herbs (he used thyme and basil), a touch of cayenne for caliente and a touch of honey.
Serve warm over spinach or arugula or let cool in fridge and serve as a light side salad to any grilled meat.
A visit to DD Ranch this fall is a perfect family activity and a great alternative to sitting on your couch watching football all weekend (yes, I'm talking to you). So put down that remote, pack some PB&Js and start driving toward Smith Rock before the fall harvest passes you by.
3836 NE Smith Rock Way
Open daily 9am - 5pm