In Oregon, chefs and farmers collaborate to put the freshest ingredients on the table. Take Cathy Whims, the James Beard–nominated chef from Portland’s Nostrana restaurant, who thrives on using high-quality local foods in her regional Italian cuisine. That’s why she works closely with Willamette Valley farmers like Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor, a former Intel engineer who now runs Kookoolan Farms, a tiny but diverse organic farm in Yamhill. Cathy became Kookoolan’s first restaurant customer when the chef discovered the unparalleled taste of the farm’s chickens. On this warm summer day, Cathy’s visiting Kookoolan not for the chickens but for the cattle: She’s making fromage blanc using milk she personally squeezed from one of the farm’s happy but stubborn Jersey cows.
Inspire your own culinary creativity during Oregon’s Bounty season. Pay a visit to Nostrana or one of Portland’s many fine farm-to-table restaurants. Indulge in a hands-on adventure at a local farm or take an Oregon Food Trip!
Lucy Burningham is a Portland-based writer who covers food, drink and travel for a variety of publications. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Bicycling and Lonely Planet guidebooks, and she frequently writes about craft beer. In 2012, she co-authored “Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene by Bike.”