Oregon Craft Food Producers Form Collaboration Culture

oregon craft producers

Perhaps the Toasted Baguette and PB&J ice cream on the board at Salt and Straw, Portland’s much loved scoop shop, says it all.

More people want to be part of a larger picture of where their food comes from, who produced it and what it contains. And Oregon craft food producers stand at the forefront of these changing tastes with food pairings that produce unique tastes eaters are hungry for. Here are just a few to search out on your travels around Oregon.

Food Waste Re-Directed.

Portland’s iconic ice cream maker, Salt and Straw, is already known for “out of the box” flavors such as Pear and Blue Cheese, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper, and Arbequina Olive Oil. They push the creative, sustainable envelope by putting otherwise wasted food to a tasty, higher good…raising awareness about ways to re-purpose and preserve food.

In Portland, their Rescued Food Series featured the aforementioned Toasted Baguette and PB&J (Baguettes from Urban Gleaners), Spent Grains and Bacon S’Mores (Breakside Brewery), Lemon Curd and Whey (Ancient Heritage Dairy), Bourbon Distilled Cherries Ambrosia (Eastside Distilling), and Celery Root & Strawberry Celery Leaf Jam (excess celery root from Sauvie Island Organics). Not to feel left out, their San Francisco and LA shops undertook similar community collaborations. When in Portland, stop by and fill a cone or cup.

Apples and Grapes Meet Up In A Bottle.

Further south, in a remote region of Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, Apple Outlaw, a craft cider derived from their family-owned Thompson Creek Organics (certified) orchards, and neighboring Wooldridge Creek Winery collaborated on their just released wine-cider beverage. Most notably, the nascent Apple Outlaw was awarded a bronze medal at the 2017 Portland International Cider Cup.

Under the masterful eye of Willamette Valley’s Wooldridge Creek Winery Head Winemaker, Greg Paneitz, organic heirloom apples and Zinfandel grapes were co-fermented at a 50/50 ratio, on grape skins, to produce a dark ruby red color. The beautiful limited release pour yields a sparkling summery, but robust, drink with notes of caramel, cherries, apple and preserved fruit. Sounds like fruit tart in a bottle, right?! Available only at the winery tasting room and at Apple Outlaw’s new tap room at Fiasco Winery in Jacksonville, while supplies last.

Local Wheat=Local Pasta

According to Jeff Gardner, chef/owner of Pasta Gardner (now closed) in Eugene, Oregon, the demand for organic, freshly made pastas is doing anything but waning, even in the era of gluten-free everything. His was a story of farm-to-plate passion and a grandmother’s guidance.

Jeff gives a lot of credit for his early “local food” leanings to his entire family, but credits his grandmother for his foraging and cooking bug. Making pasta isn’t hard and it’s been done. You can buy flour from anywhere in the world and make great pasta. However, Jeff wanted to do something that actually had a purpose and reason behind it. His journey for local organic wheat led him to Camus Country Mill in Central Oregon, where together they spent a year in pasta-making trials to develop a flour that was of excellent quality.

Together they worked out a wheat growing and pasta making collaboration that brought creative excitement and success to both businesses. In partnership with other local farms, such as Organic Redneck and Groundwork Organics, his summer pastas took on colors of the spinach, nettles, kale and beets that he incorporated. His organic red beet swirl, durum radiatore, red wheat mia cugina, and nettle durum fusilli were but a few of the results.

Craft producers matter. They all have the same goal after all. To follow their passions and create things that make their neighborhood, their city, the State of Oregon, and the world into thriving, sustainable food systems for everyone who wants to partake. Join them.

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