For years of my life, I lived with no clue how much I loved butternut squash. Now, I can’t get enough of it. Pairing two of my favorite things together: butternut squash AND risotto is like a match made in heaven… Until Tiffany suggested adding hazelnuts to the dish. Now THAT is perfection! I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about hazelnuts. Growing up in a nut producing region of California, I am versed in walnuts and almonds.. But learning about hazelnuts was a whole new experience for me! So thanks Tiffany for being willing to share all about what you do!
Rickreall, Oregon or Willamette Valley of Oregon
- When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I started farming about 5 years ago, when my husband decided to come back to his family’s farm. The last economic downturn ended his engineer managing job at a local manufacturing company, so it was a good time to make the switch that he had wanted to do for a while. I was previously a Real Estate broker in a nearby town, so farming was definitely not in my wheel house, so to speak! Now we are the fourth generation to farm this land and we wouldn’t trade it for the world.
- What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
Long hours and no days off have been a difficult transition for me. I was used to a more structured family life. Now I am used to it and actually like the less structured schedule we have. We can take more family time during the winter and we don’t have to worry if we have vacation time accrued.
- What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
We grow many crops because we have excellent soil types that can grow several different things. We currently grow wheat, grass seed, oats, barley, turnips, forage peas, and hazelnuts. We rotate our seed crops, to maintain good soil health. The hazelnuts are a new venture for us, and we are looking forward to many years of growth.
- What do you think was the most useful advance in farming such as machinery, genetics, chemicals, etc?
The advent of the gas/diesel powered engine!
- What is your favorite thing to do with a food crop you grow? (Recipe, method of cooking, etc.)
I love to make hazelnuts in to savory dishes. I especially love making pumpkin risotto with sage, nutmeg, and topped with toasted hazelnuts. They are tasty used as a crust for chicken or fish too. But, I also love them in sweet treats, especially hazelnut coffee flavors!
- What is one message you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
As a farmer and a mom of two young girls, I want only to leave this earth better off than when I found it. Our farm uses multiple practices and technologies to strive for better land stewardship. We treat it as a priority because it is just as important for our family as it is for yours.
If you are interested in learning more about what Tiffany does, you can find her involved with Oregon Women for Agriculture or check out her Instagram @Rickreallfarmer. To learn more about hazelnuts in Oregon, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/OregonHazelnuts or http://www.oregonhazelnuts.org/cookbook/.
If you aren’t a huge fan of butternut squash, feel free to sub pumpkin or any other form of “fall/winter squash” that suits your fancy! This recipe I adapted from one of my favorite people ever, The Pioneer Woman! If you’ve never had risotto (ahem, my husband) I invite you to give it a try! She’s got some awesome risotto recipes with all sorts of different flavors and ingredients.
- 1/2 whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded, & diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 6 cups (approx) low sodium chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon tumeric
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 - 2 tablespoons of chopped hazelnuts, toasted
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven or skillet over high heat. Add squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, sage, and nutmeg. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula, until squash has browned and softened. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same dutch oven or skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add white wine, let reduce for 3-4 minutes. Add Arborio rice and stir, cooking for 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to low. Add 1 cup of broth, stirring to combine. As soon as the liquid disappears, add in another cup of broth. Continue this process, stirring as the rice starts to become tender. Add salt, pepper to taste along the way.
- Taste the rice after about 5 cups of broth, add 1 to 2 cups of broth additional if necessary. The rice should be chewy, but not hard.
- When the rice is fully cooked, add in the cooked squash and turmeric and stir it in gently. Add the cream, Parmesan shavings, and hazelnuts. Stir until combined.
- Garnish with more toasted hazelnuts and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!