Every year FEAST Portland gives food lovers a big bite, and more than a few sips, of Pacific Northwest flavors, from morning to night, over a long September weekend. With events like Brunch Village, Smoked! and Cocktail Crawl attendees quickly learn that pacing is key. One of the best ways, though, to sample Oregon’s finest purveyors of small batch handcrafted food companies, large and small, is at The Grand Tasting.
Although the event highlights major brands, such as Oregon Berries, National Honey Board, Oregon Cheese Guild, and Guittard chocolate, among the 80 vendors, FEAST Portland gives dozens of craft food and drink producers the chance to show the collaborative spirit of Oregon’s emerging craft food and drink movement.
Here’s our nod to six of them:
Pholia Farm Creamery, located in Rogue River, OR, combined forces with family friends to form Wellmont Farms to bring Cheesorizo, the original cheese sausage, to the market. Pholia Farm’s off-the-grid location serves as home to Cheesorizo production, where the resident Nubian goat herd is tended. Go here to discover that, yes, you can really cook cheese that doesn’t melt. Tacos, anyone!?
Portland’s Stellar Pop launched their vegan, dairy free pops in Spring 2016 and sells them at farmer’s markets around town via bicycle carts. They can also be found at a few retail outlets, such as Portland’s hipster Mini Mini at 638 E Burnside St, and at select events.
Johnny V on Yelp says, “The coffee flavor tastes like artisan roasted coffee, not too sweet. Lives up to the Portland coffee standard. And their grapefruit ginger flavor is crazy refreshing! ……No corn syrup or dyes or anything. Will definitely stop by next time I see them at the Beaverton Saturday Farmers Market.”
These artisanal ice pops are made from organic, locally sourced and freshest-picked fruits. They are still growing their company, so it was great to seem them at the big event.
Wandering Aengus Ciderworks out of Salem is capitalizing on the new craft trend of producing alcoholic beverages, other than beer, using the science of fermentation. When craft cidermakers in Oregon need fruit, they look no further than pear, apple and berry farmers across the Pacific Northwest. And so it is for Wandering Aengus, too. They source fresh seasonal ingredients with low mileage from partner farms or their estate grown heirlooms, which yields a higher fruit flavor in the bottle.
Portland Creamery: Portland Creamery, owned by culinary adventurer and cheesemaker Liz Alvis, is best known for its mild, non-goaty tasting Chevre. The dairy allows the herd to roam and graze freely, thereby reducing or eliminating the inputs of feed grains. Our favorite at the booth was their “liquid gold” Cajeta, a light and citrusy caramel, subtle and non-cloying. Drizzle THIS on a crostini topped with Portland Creamery goat cheese and sliced figs or pear. There’s no going back! You can find their dairy products at farmer’s markets in Portland as well as the gourmet grocery stores as far out as the Roth’s chain, and restaurants that use locally made, artisan ingredients.
Honey Mama’s, the purveyor of handmade, nutrient-dense, raw desserts made from real organic ingredients, such as single source Peruvian cacao, has been rapidly expanding their availability at gourmet shops and groceries throughout the state. For the FEAST event, they inspired us to look beyond the usual chocolate chips with their samples of Avocado Mint “Chip” Pops that incorporated chopped pieces of their Oregon Peppermint Cacao-Nectar bar.
Oregon Brineworks uses lactic acid fermentation, rather than vinegar, to brine their vegetables sourced from local family farms for delicious health benefits that you can eat alongside any meal (even a breakfast frittata). With a focus on creating a higher quality product in sync with the seasons, they developed close relationships with local farms such as Siri and Sons, Glory Bee Farm in Grays, WA, which grows the majority of Brineworks’ pickling cukes, Azure Farm that provides dill, cabbage and beets, and David and Nancy at Mustard Seed Farm.
FEAST Portland, a festival that people flock to each year, definitively positions the entire State of Oregon squarely at the forefront of Food 3.0, a food system that proves all boats rise together.