Editor’s note: Oregon’s COVID-19 restrictions have eased, but businesses may ask you to wear a face cover – bring one along and be patient and kind if asked to wear it. It’s also wildfire season – plan ahead and do your part to prevent wildfires.
The next time you’re tackling a new recipe and run across a special ingredient, don’t fret: You can find ingredients like chestnut, oyster and shiitake mushrooms from Rain Forest Mushrooms in Eddyville or milled corn flour and Buckskin Tepary beans from Dunbar Farms in Medford. You can find grass-fed ribs, steaks and burgers from Molalla’s Martson Farm, and buckets full of blueberries from Anderson Blues in Corvallis.
High-quality, locally sourced ingredients are an essential part of Oregon’s identity, and now you can find those suppliers all in one place from the comfort of your own home. That’s the idea behind Oregon Taste, a new directory of local food producers across the state’s seven regions. With a few clicks, you can see the diversity of products available from Oregon farms, fisheries, ranches and orchards, as well as farmers markets, roadside farm stands and farms with U-pick offerings.
“The goal is to help enhance the discoverability, marketability and searchability of Oregon’s farm-food producers across the state,” says Lori Warner-McGee, development director of the James Beard Public Market. While the public-market effort is currently on hold, staff have focused their energy to produce the Oregon Taste directory — which provides much-needed support to farmers and artisans at a time when it’s needed the most.
Searchable by region and type of food (such as vegetables, grains and seafood), Oregon Taste makes it easier to connect with the robust local food movement and get even more hands-on with your home cooking. The free directory features about 300 vendors so far, with plans to grow to include more food producers as well as makers of craft beer, wine and spirits. “We thought, wouldn’t it be great if there was a clearinghouse for all of this information in one place?” Warner-McGee adds. “We started shopping the idea around and it was very quickly embraced.”
On the website, you can filter your search by businesses that sell kosher and non-GMO foods, and search for businesses that are BIPOC-owned and woman-owned. “The goal is to connect consumers to farms directly in whatever way they sell: on-site, delivery, U-pick, farm stands, CSA, farmers market, online sales,” Warner-McGee says.
Here are some of the featured producers from across the state:
- Eastern Oregon: Apricot Apiaries in Kimberly raises and sells bees, as well as the sweet honey they produce. Park Produce in Ontario has you covered for seasonal produce like sweet peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and pickled cucumbers.
- Central Oregon: Larkin Valley Ranch in Redmond sells top-quality grass-fed meats, including rack of lamb, flat-iron steak and burger patties. Rainshadow Organics sells fresh produce, organic flour and artisan cheese at their farm stand in Terrebonne and through their CSA.
- Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge: Draper Girls Country Farm in Mt. Hood hosts a year-round self-serve fruit stand, U-pick fruits and berries, and an apple-cider mill. Brigham Fish Market in Cascade Locks is a Native-owned family business that sells fresh and smoked fish caught in the Columbia River.
- Oregon Coast: Clausen Oysters in North Bend ships its famous large Pacific oysters anywhere in the United States. River’s Blessings Dairy Farm in Coquille sells eggs, fibers and healthy meats like Icelandic lamb.
- Portland Region: Flying Onion Farm in Oregon City sells its seasonal veggies at the Woodstock Farmers Market and People’s Food Co-Op Farmers Market, both in Portland. Mason Hill Orchard in North Plains sells all kinds of juicy apples, including Gala, Honeycrisp, Jonagold and Gravenstein
- Southern Oregon: River Ranch Oregon Olive Oil in Glide sells olive oils made from groves of olives grown along the North Umpqua River. Box R Beef in Ashland is a third-generation family- owned ranch known for its 100% all-natural, grass-fed beef.
- Willamette Valley: Gathering Together Farm in Philomath sells certified organic produce, free-range eggs and handmade pastries through their farm stand. Barn Owl Nursery in Wilsonville lets you try out your green thumb by selling a variety of herbs, as well as a long list of lavender plants.
For more ready-to-deliver Oregon artisan goods, check out the cheese gift boxes from Food Field Trip.