Whether you have your own garden or can reap the benefits of another's, the holidays are an opportunity to celebrate and elaborate on local flavors. One of the beauties of the Rogue Valley and surrounding region is that so many wonderful foods available to us right now are agreeable with a bit of culinary bling.

Whether you have your own garden or can reap the benefits of another's, the holidays are an opportunity to celebrate and elaborate on local flavors. One of the beauties of the Rogue Valley and surrounding region is that so many wonderful foods available to us right now are agreeable with a bit of culinary bling.

"We can be creative with what the season provides," says Helena Darling, owner of Helena Darling Fine Catering, Pear City Catering (for more casual affairs) and the Palace Café in Ashland. "I grew up on a farm, and if you wanted dessert, you went into the kitchen and made it."

Darling shared a recipe for pumpkin soup with Homelife readers.

"I don't usually cook from a recipe," she says, candidly. "But I've never had one of my own written recipes go wrong."

Rogue Valley chef Dorathy Anderson-Thickett has been catering events for 28 years, when she began serving pear and blue cheese salad in her Medford business, Soup to Nuts Catering. Local is natural to her.

"This is my identity since 1981," she says. "I believe in local and always have."

If you are interested in history, you might find the archived recipes on the Oregon State University site worthwhile. Check out "mom's" recipes at http://food.oregonstate.edu/recipes/osu.html. We're sharing the recipe for Walnut Deceits, from "Oregon Cheese — Fifty Recipes For Its Use," published in 1927. You'll also find a Cracker Jack recipe from 1934 and a vegetarian carrot loaf from 1925.