Our Table in the Field + Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene’s

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Farm dinners.  You should definitely do them.

I’ve seen many a dreamy photo from farm dinners held in the field with twinkly lights and have always wanted to attend one.  The idea of eating a meal made with veggies grown from the very farm you’re sitting on is as close to farm-to-table as you can get.

Unless you actually live on a farm and eat what you grow, farm-to-table can be difficult to achieve.  It’s more like farm-to-truck-to-store-to-cart-to-car-to-fridge-to-table, haha!

Adding to the list of things I love about Our Table – they do farm field dinners in the Summer!

That in itself is fun, but add in the fact that their featured Chef is Joshua McFadden from Ava Gene’s and you know you’re in for a treat.  I’m not sure when or how their partnership with Ava Gene’s / Roman Candle Baking Co. started, but let’s just thank our lucky stars that it did!

Here are a “few” photos from the dinner I attended in July.  It featured wines from Pete’s Mountain Vineyard and included a farm tour, followed by a meal to remember!  And more wine!!

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Their last dinner of the season is coming up next Saturday, 9/26get tickets here – it will feature Chef Joshua McFadden from Ava Gene’s, and wine from Durant Vineyards.  Trust me, you won’t be sorry!!

Don’t believe me?  Check out last October’s USA Today article: “10 Best: Places to dine down on the farm”.

Who else is with me on the farm dinner love bandwagon wheelbarrow?!!

(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)

CSA(wesome)

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The latest CSA bounty!!

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Yukon Gold potatoes, Cipollini onions, Stocky Red roasting peppers, Red Leaf lettuce, and cilantro!  I see another giant salad in our near future, as well as a giant roasting pan full of potatoes, onions, and peppers.  I used to think I didn’t like onions, and then I had the roasted!!

Picked up some stuff at the grocery as well:

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How cute are those little baby peppers?!!  Thinking about using those to spice up some tuna salad for lunches this week.  I told Royce (the very nice guy that works at the store) about my tuna plans and he’d never done jalapeno with tuna before.  Have you?  I did it for the first time a few months ago and it worked really well, we were both wondering why we hadn’t actually thought of it before.

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Even though it’s 90 degrees this weekend, it’s supposed to be back to mid-60s during the week so I’m very excited to thaw that Split Pea Soup and eat it with the Roman Candle rye bread for a quick and easy dinner or two.  BRING ON FALL!! (aka soup season)

Grabbed some apples for snackin’, and smokey blue cheese from Rogue Creamery for saladin’.  Not really a word, I know, but let’s go with it.

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Deck Family Farm in Junction City is a Regional Producer Member of Our Table and I’m excited to try their country pork sausage and uncured natural BACON!!  I’m thinking the bacon and cheese will make a good BLT salad, right?  Mr. Won’t Run grabbed the cheese out of the fridge when he got home to put together a snack but I wouldn’t let him eat it – I was really just afraid he wouldn’t leave me any, haha!  We’re serious about cheese around here.

We’ll also be snacking on some Oregon Brineworks pickles!  We got a couple of jars a month or so ago and then they got pushed to the back of the fridge so it was like Christmas when I rediscovered them.  We’re also serious about all things pickled around here!

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Mr. Won’t Run had a busy week last week so not all my dinner ideas ended up happening but I did do a couple of simple tasty things.  I know it’s not very exciting, but we seriously love basic roasted veggies so we added some fried eggs to roasted potatoes and onions.  That is never a wrong meal choice!  Don’t judge my fried eggs too hard, I’m working on it.

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How do you like your eggs?  He likes them runny, but I think that tastes like liquid chicken.  When I thought his were done, I asked him to come check on them and he said “why, what’s wrong with them” and I said “um, ya know, I cooked them” haha!

The nights he wasn’t home for dinner and I wanted something quick, I pulled out the spiralizer and noodled the sweet potato, cooked it up with some OTC meat sauce, added some meatballs, and called it good.

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It probably doesn’t look like much, but I really do like that dish, and it’s a huge step up from all the fast food (taco bell) we’ve been eating lately.  Especially if Mr. Won’t Run is gone, I normally don’t want to bother cooking just for myself, but I’m working on realizing that I’m worth the effort!

What should I do with that country pork sausage?  We still have some eggs… maybe something like these on-the-go sausage egg cups to grab on our way out the door in the morning?  What would you make?

Oh, and how cute is this?!  Welcome to the co-op family Baby Kemp!!

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Are you part of a CSA in your area?  Tell me what you’re doing with your share this week!

(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)

A Girl and her Co-op

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A little over three months ago I attended Indulge, a food blogging conference here in Portland.  I don’t really consider myself a food blogger in the traditional sense since I don’t develop my own recipes, but I do enjoy eating and might blog about a recipe I tried, a food product we like, or a restaurant we ate at.  When I found out that local food blogger Lauren Brennan of Lauren’s Latest got together with local event manager Christie Blake of Blake & Co. to host a conference focusing on food – and especially the Portland food scene – I knew I wanted to go.

OXO and Travel Oregon were conference sponsors and they put together a couple of day-trip options for attendees to choose from.  One trip went East to explore the Hood River Fruit Loop, and the other went South to see Willamette Valley wine country.  Since I’ve done the Fruit Loop a couple of times I decided to do the Willamette Valley tour and discover some new places in my neck of the woods.

The first stop on that tour?  A 58-acre farm in Sherwood, OR called Our Table Cooperative!

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We started with a walking tour around the farm lead by the founder, Narendra Varma.  I was enthralled, I think I could listen to him talk all day long about farming!  The farm was purchased in 2011 and the vision is to create a “beautifully diverse Permaculture design that views the farm as a single, whole organism”.  How beautiful does that sound?  They grow a variety of vegetable crops, as well as blueberries, apples, and some livestock too.  There is a creek and pond that flow through the property which they use for irrigation, and the views aren’t too terrible.

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So, how exactly does their garden grow?  Organically, of course!  As of June 2014, all their plant-based crops are certified organic under the USDA’s National Organic Program.  They are very up front about their farming practices which I greatly appreciate as a consumer.

Here are the basic approaches we employ to meet the spirit and letter of the NOP standards:

  • For fertility, we use cover crops and compost them on site. We also add lime for Calcium and feather meal for Nitrogen based on soil fertility tests.
  • For weed control, we use a variety of hoes and occasionally our hands. Proper bed preparation and other cultural practices limit weed competitiveness.
  • For pests, our primary approach is exclusion by using floating row cover (spun polyester). Much of the pest control is more in the diversity of plantings and other cultural practices that encourage strong plant growth.
  • Crops and cover crops to feed the soil are rotated constantly, and these contribute to fertility, weed control and pest control.
  • We primarily use Organic seed, but also include a few varieties that we know to be excellent and are not available Organically (probably only a handful at most). We save some seed on the farm and hope to use more as time goes on.
  • We are diligent in our record keeping and always keep our doors open for visitors who want a firsthand look at what we do.

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If you look reeeeaaaalllllllllllly closely around the center of that picture you an see Mt. Hood.

I don’t know about you guys, but the closest I’ve come to farming is when my parents had a garden while I was in middle school.  Sadly, I could not have cared less!  To me, gardening meant dirt and worms and weeding.  Who in their right mind would choose to do something like that?

Since then, I married a guy who grew up working on the family’s farm in Salinas Valley, I’ve become more conscious of where our food comes from and how it’s grown, and I’ve met people who have insane backyard gardens and want to teach others how to grow as well. (Veggies, people! How to grow veggies!!)  As much as I’d love to have a yard to garden, I’m honestly not sure I’m the dirt / worms / weeding type, but what good is the Our Table farm to me if I’m not a farmer?

They run a CSA!!  What’s a CSA?  It stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it basically means they do the farming for me; I get the benefit of fresh, organic, in-season veggies with none of the work!!  Shoot, when I say it like that I feel kind of bad, but I do pay for the CSA share so I guess that’s my hard work… trading some paper greens for leafy greens.  Works for me, especially if it means I don’t have to pull weeds!

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I had heard of CSAs before, but as I’ve mentioned, my kitchen skills have become sub-par so the thought of getting a giant bin of veggies every week that I’d need to figure out what to do with before it all goes bad was basically my worst nightmare.  What I like about this CSA in particular is that it’s small, individual-sized shares and you can buy as many shares as you want.  We’ve only got one share which is perfect for us and gives me a manageable amount of veggies to play with in a way that doesn’t give me a panic attack.  CSA day is Thursdays and there are some neighborhood delivery locations or if you’re close enough you can pick it up at the farm.  I’m close enough, and Thursdays are becoming my favorite days because I love going out there, but what if I pick up my share and I wish there was more in it?

They have an on-farm Grocery!!  And it’s the prettiest thing ever!

All I ever really knew about co-ops is what you see portrayed and stereotyped on TV, so I fully expected the store to have a hippy/granola/patchouli vibe.  Not that “hippy” is a bad thing, but I was shocked to walk into a place that felt more like a boutique grocer on NW 23rd.  It’s a warm and beautiful space that invites you to come in and sit by the fireplace.  Seriously, there’s a seating area by a fireplace!

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You may think a farm store would only have farm veggies, but there is so much more!  Kombucha on tap, a bulk food section, a dairy case with fresh eggs and specialty meats & cheeses, BEER & WINE, honey from their own hives, a freezer section with local meat and fish and ice cream, and don’t even get me started on their prepared foods!!  They have a commercial kitchen that puts out some crazy delicious items!

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The grocery is 80% Oregon sourced and 90% Organic with both vegan and gluten-free selections.  You’ll find so many great local treats, and there is a delicious partnership with Roman Candle Baking Co. – fresh bread is delivered on Fridays and Saturdays!  Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t tell you that… leave some focaccia for me, okay?

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All the conference attendees were blown away and commenting that they wished they had a place like this in their hometowns.  It made me feel so lucky that Our Table is in my back yard and I can visit whenever I want to – well, Wed-Sun from 10-6 anyways.  The store pics above are from my first visit in May, they’ve rearranged since then, so next time you’re in Sherwood, or if you’re heading down I-5 just hop off at Wilsonville and check it out!

And here is the original chalk heart that sealed the deal… #loveatfirstsight

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Check back on Saturday, I’ll show you what was in this week’s CSA and what else I picked up at the store!

Are you part of a Co-op or CSA in your area?  Hit me with your favorite CSA veggie recipes for Fall!

(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)

Speaking of…

You guys, I have so much I want to blog about but so little time and it’s driving me crazy!!

ACCIDENTAL XXX

First off, if any of you subscribe via RSS, there were apparently some links to porn that showed up a couple of posts ago. It was supposed to be a super exciting Instagram photo of LA Fitness, I swear! No idea how that happened and I’m so sorry. Many thanks to Carla who I recently met at Indulge for letting me know, nothing like accidental porn to kick off a new friendship!  I’ve embedded some Instagram photos in this post as well to test it out and see if it happens again, so let me know if you see anything weird!

PIP’S ORIGINAL

Speaking of indulging, it’s no secret that one of the best places for donuts in Portland is Pip’s Original, and on Sunday night I found out that another gal and I won A FREE YEAR OF DONUTS!!

Pip’s partnered with PortlandNW.com and Rusty Rodas (<– handsomest golden ever!) for a giveaway on Instagram, and now I get a free dozen each month for the next 12 months.  I’m so excited to binge on those little donut babies! Then my belly will look like I’m pregnant with a little donut baby. #worthit.

The always classy Pip’s is also donating $200 in each of our names to Northwest Animal Companions of Oregon, a non-profit (and as far as I know, no-kill) animal rescue serving the local Portland/Vancouver metro area. Donuts + animals = winning!

We interrupt your feed to bring you this special news update: Rusty: hey ma! Me: yeah buddy? Rusty: let’s announce who won free doughnuts for a year from @pipsoriginal in the giveaway we announced with @Portland! Me: good idea buddy! Rusty: can I get a drumroll or something please? ………… The winners are: @willrunforpasta and @mellyjg82. Me: don’t forget to mention that @pipsoriginal is also generously donating $200 in each of the winners’ names to Northwest Animal Companions of Oregon, a non-profit Animal rescue you volunteer with. Rusty: and they get free doughnuts for a year! Me: yeah pretty sure we already mentioned that. Rusty: well that’s a lot of doughnuts so I’m just saying we should say it again. Right? Me: good call buddy #conversationswithrustyrodas #doughnuts #donuts #whyarethere2rightwaystospelldonuts #communitynotcompetition #pipsrules

A photo posted by R U S T Y R O D A S™ (@rustyrodas) on

 

THREE DAYS OF RAIN

Speaking of animals, you have through this Sunday 6/21 to see a Blutbad and a Zauberbiest on stage together! Grimm stars Silas Weir Mitchell and Sasha Roiz are staring with Lisa Datz in Portland Center Stage’s production of Three Days of Rain.


I saw it a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. It’s a rather minimal play in that there are just three actors and one set with two looks (an apartment in Greenwich Village). The first act is set in the 90s with the actors portraying brother/sister/friend, and the second act goes back in time to the 60s with them portraying three of the parents. It was really interesting to watch the kids in the first act as they find a journal one of the parents kept and we get to hear their interpretation of what the entries may have meant based on what they knew of their parents, and then to see the parents in the second act and find out the real meaning behind those entries.

It makes you question what you know of your own parents, why they are the way they are and how they got that way, and if we had kids I’d also be questioning how well they know the real me. It was really fun to see some of my TV favorites in person and in different roles. If you’re looking for a date night idea, be sure to check this out, tickets are still available here, but hurry before they’re gone! One of my favorite news anchors – Reggie Aqui with KGW – did a fun interview with Sasha and Silas here:

DINER LIVE

Speaking of date night, if you need a special last-minute idea to splurge on, this Thursday The Oregonian is celebrating Diner 2015 with a new interactive dinner series. You can buy tickets here to eat at the winning restaurant in one of three top categories, but the catch is you won’t know which restaurant is the winner until the day of – surprise!!

SPEAKING OF

I didn’t start this post with the “speaking of” idea, it just kind of happened.  Hopefully I wasn’t too obnoxious 😛  I hope you’re having a good week, let’s get together for donuts soon!

A photo posted by Sarah (@willrunforpasta) on

The Nose Knows – Cyrano at Portland Center Stage

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Portland Center Stage was kind enough to offer me two complimentary press tickets to see their new show Cyrano and I gladly accepted.  Mr. Won’t Run and I love the theater!  Sadly, at the last minute he couldn’t go with me, but I wasn’t going to let not having a date stop me so I ventured out on my own and I’m so glad I did, I thought the show was wonderful!

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The only association I have with Cyrano de Bergerac is the 1987 movie Roxanne with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah.  I was almost 9 years old when that came out and I don’t even remember when or where I saw it, but that vague memory of Steve Martin with a big nose, offering his poetic words to someone with a smaller nose, all for a girl, was the gist of what I remembered.  I went into the show not knowing the full story, and while the ending may have beautifully broken my heart a bit, the lead up to it was filled with singing, swordplay, and shenanigans.  Everything you could ask for in a show, right?!

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I thought the cast (all from Portland and Seattle) did an amazing job and I was totally swept away into the story.  The funny, sweet, tragic story.  I don’t want to give it all away if you’re not familiar, or only partially familiar like I was, so I won’t tell you more except that I absolutely recommend it!

Did you know Cyrano was a real person in the 1600s?  Apparently he really was known for his words, his dueling, and his nose!  Even Roxane, his distant cousin, was a real person, although the romance was invented by French playwright Edmond Rostand.  Cyrano de Bergerac was his fourth, and most celebrated, play which debuted in 1879 in Paris.

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I thought this translation was beautifully done and it made me long for a time when words meant so much.  Now it’s all LOL, IDK, BTW, CUL8R… about as far from poetic as you can get.  I think that’s why I like Downton Abbey so much too.  Words (and full on sentences) can be darn sexy, don’t you think?

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The 2015 version put on by Portland Center stage is a new adaptation by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner.  They stay true to the original story but update it with some modern prose.  About the translation, Hollinger has stated “language that is alive, that wakes the ear up, is more important to me than strict adherence to poetic form.”

Language that wakes the ear up…  yes, more of that please!

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Wanna wake up your own ears?  You have through May 3rd to see the show!

Grab your tickets here, and if you need a date I’ll go with you!

Want to read another Cyrano review?  Check out what fellow Portland Blogger Pechluck had to say!

Pssssst!  Hey GRIMM fans, check out what’s opening May 22nd: Three Days of Rain starring Silas Weir Mitchell and Sasha Roiz!!!!  OMG!  I mean… be still my beating heart, I am breathless with sweet anticipation.  Seriously though.  Seriously.  Who’s going with me?

Portland Food Map {Google Maps}

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If you are a foodie, living in a foodie city, you probably have a never-ending list of restaurants to try.  I have that list, and unfortunately I kept it in my notoriously unreliable memory and would immediately forget the name of that great place I heard about.

Back in October I finally decided there had to be a better way to keep track of them all, and how cool would it be to plot them on a map, and then it dawned on me…

Google. Maps.

Did you know you can create custom Google Maps?  It’s not just for directions anymore!

I’d love to write up a tutorial for you, but at the moment there are two versions of Google Maps, and I don’t know which one you’re on so I’ll just point you to these: for Classic click here, for New click here.

I am a visual person so the map format appealed to me A LOT!  I can see at a glance where things are located, the contact info is right there as well as a link to the website, and there is a spot to enter notes so I can remember who referred me to that restaurant or post a link to the article I read that made me want to go there, and I can write my thoughts on the place afterwards.

You also have a lot of options for the pins you can use to mark places – they can be different colors or different icons.  I just went with the standard red pin and those are restaurants we still need to try.  If I marked it green it means we’ve been there and would recommend it, if I marked it yellow it means we’ve been there and it was fine but didn’t really blow us away.  Now, if it’s marked with the light blue hiking people, that means we love it, we’ve been there multiple times, we’d be sure to take an out-of-town visitor there, and we’d walk 500 miles if we had to.  Not really, but you get my point – so far that’s just Blue Star Donuts, Lardo, and Pine State Biscuits.  We haven’t hated anything, but if we ever do it will probably be a tornado symbol or something, ha!

I have been able to help out a few friends too when they ask me where they should eat.  If they tell me they’re going to an event at Keller or the Moda Center, I can look up the map and see what’s near those locations.  If I’m heading into Portland to check out a new shop, I can see what’s nearby, and maybe alter my route to hit up something (donuts!) close to where I’ll be.

Here it is, my EAT ALL THE THINGS map of Portland, let me now what I should add:

(No idea why the map isn’t showing up right, just use your mouse to move it around and see the pins hiding behind the list, or open in a new window.)

Google Maps is also a lot of fun if you’re vacation planning!  We’re planning one for this Fall and I have LOVED using Google Maps to plot out where everything is, I even have a separate map for each day with the tentative itinerary and route.  More to come on that fun stuff!

What do you think about Google Maps?  Yay?  Nay?

What’s on your walk-500-miles-for-it list?