Oregon Mint Pt. 4

January 30th, 2012

If you aren't in the Portland area or visiting anytime soon you can buy Steven Smith Tea online here.

This is my last installment for the Oregon mint story. This section was going to be a sidebar for the print version…

Peppermint isn’t the only mint…

Sure, peppermint takes the cake in Oregon, but spearmint is a close second in terms of in-state cultivation. Two main differences between the mints are that peppermint plants are taller with bigger leaves, and peppermint has a stronger flavor and aroma than the sweeter, lighter tasting and smelling spearmint.

Steven Smith of Steven Smith Teamaker, a boutique tea company specializing in full leaf, small batch tea with a retail shop on Northwest Thurman, has been working with the same local spearmint growers since the mid-1970s — Don, Monty and Marvin Mills of Mills Mint Farm in Stanfield, Oregon in Northeastern Oregon. The Mills family was amongst the first in Oregon to cultivate spearmint and peppermint.

In the mid-70s Smith was a co-owner of Stash Tea before it was sold in 1993 to Yamamotoyama in Japan. At that time Smith and the other Stash owners and employees purchased field run mint (unprocessed mint directly from the farm) from the Mills family and cleaned it in what is now !Oba! Restaurante but which was then Stash Tea headquarters. They used the mint for their tea and also sold mint to Lipton Tea and Celestial Seasonings.

Says Smith, “We cleaned mint there and stored some of it across the street in the Maddox Transfer building before they called the area the Pearl district – I think it should have been named the Mint District for the way it smelled back then.”

After selling Stash in the early 1990s Smith started Tazo Tea in his home kitchen which he sold to Starbucks in 1999 and continued to work for until 2006. In late 2009, Smith opened his newest tea endeavor — Steven Smith Teamaker — in the brick building next to the former Carlyle Restaurant on Northwest Thurman Street.

All of Smith’s spearmint to this day comes from Mills Mint Farm which cultivates 400 acres of spearmint annually with minimal inputs thanks to regular crop rotation (corn, wheat and peas) and intensive hand weeding. If you’d like to try Mills’ local leaves they are blended in Smith’s Fez tea — a combination of Mao Feng China green tea, Oregon spearmint and Australian lemon myrtle leaves.

When asked why Smith still works with Mills Mint Farm he answers succinctly, “Flavor, appearance, aroma, overall approach to business, and long standing relationship.”

Who can argue with that?

Steven Smith Teamaker
1626 NW Thurman St.
Portland, OR
503.719.8752
www.smithtea.com

Read Pt. 1 Oregon Mint
Read Pt. 2 Oregon Mint
Read Pt. 3 Oregon Mint

Oregon Mint Pt. 3

January 16th, 2012

Butler Farms peppermint oil packs a punch.

Peppermint oil distillation takes place immediately after mint harvest at Butler Farms. The diesel powered boiler is the heart of the operation. It creates the steam that travels through the manifold and stainless steel lines into the just harvested mint hay tubs. The mint oil is extracted by the steam and channeled through stainless pipes to the condenser. As the steam cools in the condenser it liquefies and collects in the receding cans. Then by virtue of the fact that oil is lighter than water the oil naturally separates and is poured off into barrels.

For every acre of peppermint that the Butlers cultivate, they process roughly 90 to 100 pounds of peppermint oil, which translates to 40,000 pounds of peppermint oil a year. It takes a mere pound of the extremely potent oil to flavor 55,000 sticks of gum.

There are currently 21,000 acres devoted to mint oil production in Oregon grown by 150 farms, according to Bryan Ostlund of the Oregon Mint Commission. Nearly 70 percent of all peppermint grown in-state, in fact, is distilled into peppermint oil. That’s a lot of gum.

Tim Butler with a tiny jar of the mint oil that his farm produces and distills...

Of course, it doesn’t all become an ingredient in gum. Flavor houses purchase Butler Farms’ peppermint oil from a handler, and in turn sell it to oral care, candy and medical companies such as Colgate, Wrigley, Procter & Gamble and Pfizer.

Ostlund says that the recent history of Oregon mint oil production isn’t entirely rosy. Due to rapid changes in the retail business in the 1990s, “the pressure was on, and still is on, to cheapen products,” he notes. According to Ostlund, many of the older flavor house dependent companies continue to value high quality oil, especially with their older products particularly food and candy products. But, he adds, “Companies with new products coming into production, generally are not putting as high of a priority on quality ingredients. That’s usually when cheaper and inferior foreign mint oil comes into the equation. Essentially, companies are dumbing down their ingredients.”

Where Butler farms peppermint turns into peppermint oil.

The Willamette Valley has the highest flavor profile quality of peppermint oil in state. It is exceptionally bright and distinct with a nice level of menthofuran (a potent component of mint oil) which is why companies such as Atkinson Candy Company in Lufkin, Texas use it almost exclusively. Other Oregon mint production regions generally produce mint that doesn’t stand alone and requires blending.

Peppermint oil from India, China and South America is often significantly cheaper than domestic peppermint oil but that is of inferior quality. Says Butler, “It all comes down to the consumer. The consumer tells the Wrigleys and Wal-Marts and Costcos what they want; and the superstores tell the flavor houses what they want. Sure they want quality but they also want it cheap. That’s the way it is with all agricultural commodities.”

Despite this sort of cost-cutting and disregard for quality Butler Farms has no plans to slow down its mint oil production. And why should they? According to Bruce Pokarney, director of communication for Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon is the second leading US producer of peppermint and peppermint is ranked #15 of all Oregon commodities in value. Tim Butler is proud to cultivate such an important Oregon commodity. If in upcoming years we as a state can find a way to market Oregon-grown mint oil as a stand alone ingredient these numbers and percentages will likely grow. Maybe we’ll even become the number one peppermint producer in the country.

Stay tuned for the last installment of this story.
Read Pt. 1 Oregon Mint
Read Pt. 2 Oregon Mint

Oregon Mint Pt. 2

December 26th, 2011

Butler Farms in Stayton, Oregon in December 2010.

Although peppermint grows easily in Oregon it has its problems, like most crops, when cultivated on a large scale. Butler Farms wages a continuous battle with pests–everything from spider mites, cutworm, crane fly and nemotodes to symphylans, mint rust and verticillium wilt. One year, they lost 25 percent of their peppermint crop to mint rust. Mint rust, a fungus that blisters and destroys mint leaves, took Butler Farms from profitable to breakeven in one short week.

In other words, says Butler, “You don’t just throw it out there and hope for the best, because there wouldn’t be much.”

In the Willamette Valley, peppermint is perennial. It awakens from its winter dormancy in late January to early February. At that point, Tim Butler goes out into his fields with a winter herbicide spray to keep the weeds at bay.

By the first of March, the peppermint shoots are visible and growing quickly but Butler’s first fertilizer and fungicide applications don’t happen until several weeks later in mid-April. Butler then crosses his fingers, hoping that insecticide application isn’t necessary.

Throughout the year the Butlers monitor their fields with integrated pest management. An agronomy professional scouts the farm testing for nemotodes and other detrimental insects. Depending on the results, some fields get insecticide application while others don’t.

From April on, the peppermint is hungry and thirsty as it grows at breakneck speed. In the summer it’s irrigated with roughly an inch to an inch and a half of water weekly and fertilized heavily as well.

Early-to-mid-August at Butler Farms means peppermint harvest. They swath it, put it in rows, chop it, and pick it up with a harvester (similar to alfalfa, clover and corn harvest). From the field the mint goes into eight- to nine-ton mint hay tubs which are taken to the mint still by truck.

Stay tuned for the next two installments of this story.

Stay tuned for the next two installments of this story.
Read Pt. 1 Oregon Mint
Read Pt. 3 Oregon Mint

Oregon Mint Pt. 1

December 19th, 2011

Edible Portland sent this lovely card out to folks for the holidays.

So even though I’m pretty stinking busy right now working on the Toro Bravo Cookbook as well as being an editor and publicist for Hawthorne Books I’m still freelance food writing. I love covering our local food culture.

I wrote a story about Oregon mint for Edible Portland a while back and due to space constraints it didn’t make it as planned into this winter’s issue of magazine that just published. Despite getting nixed something cool happened to my story. See that card above? Mary Kate McDevitt took my story — followed up on some of the facts and figures — and made it into a beautiful holiday card for Edible Portland that I and probably many of you recently received in the mail. Literary transubstantiation!

Since I interviewed a lot of great people for my mint story I thought it would be a shame to not get it out there so with Edible Portland’s permission I’m posting it for you here in several installments and with a fair few photos. Hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the first installment…

There’s an old poster of Reba McIntyre push-pinned to the bulletin board of Tim Butler’s small fluorescent-lit farm office in Stayton, Oregon. Just below sit two small, mustard-sized jars of oil–peppermint oil. Like most oil, it doesn’t look like much: It is pretty clear with a faint straw hue. But when Butler opens a jar, a minty aroma immediately fills the room. The smell is intoxicating.

Butler Farms in Stayton, Oregon — just south of Salem — is a little less than a decade shy of becoming a century farm. Tim Butler’s maternal grandparents purchased the farm and its then 160 acres in 1918. Butler’s mom grew up on the farm; Tim, now 61 years old, grew up on the farm with his siblings; and Tim’s children, who are all adults now, grew up here. These days Butler, two of his brothers and a nephew run 2,100-acre Butler Farms. Tim’s wife, Joanie, is the farm bookkeeper.

Peppermint is integral to Butler Farms. They cultivate 400-plus acres of it annually, in addition to various vegetable crops, and every last bit is distilled on premises into peppermint oil. They began growing peppermint in 1995 after learning of a neighbor’s success.

“That’s typical of farmers,” says Butler. “You watch what your neighbor’s doing. If he’s successful at it you think, ‘Well I can do that too.’”

The Butlers are not alone in Oregon mint cultivation. The state is second in the nation in terms of peppermint cultivation (a very close second to Washington) and has seven main cultivation regions: the Willamatte Valley, Klamath Basin (including Susanville, Northern California and Tulelake), Madras, Hermiston, Ontario, Klatskanie and La Grande. The Madras and Hermiston areas focus primarily on peppermint leaf production while the Willamette Valley specializes almost entirely on peppermint oil production…

Stay tuned for the next three installments of this story.
Read Pt. 2 Oregon Mint
Read Pt. 3 Oregon Mint

Voodoo Vintners & Montinore Estate

November 7th, 2011

My friend Karen checking out the cow horn stuffed with *@#! at Montinore Estate.

In early September I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the Hardy Plant Society’s Kitchen Gardening Group outings. I’ve been to other events with this group and they’re great. You might remember this talk all about grapes that I went to last spring.

For September’s outing we met at Montinore Estate vineyard and winery just outside of Forest Grove. We waited in the vineyard parking lot — it was a beautiful day — until everyone arrived and then moved into the tasting room where we met Montinore owner and vintner Rudy Marchesi and his wife Susan Fichter. Lucky for us they took us on a tour of the 230+ acre vineyard that Rudy’s owned since 2005. (He owns 30+ additional acres at other area farms.) Here’s a great article in The Oregonian all about Rudy and Susan’s passion for food and drink.

Check out Katherine Cole’s book that came out this summer that features Montinore Estate — Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers — if you haven’t already. I wrote about Cole’s book and some of her upcoming book events and wine tastings in last week’s Willamette Week.

During the Montinore tour Rudy taught us all about biodynamic farming and it was inspiring. I worked on a biodynamic farm in Spain for several months in 1996 through WWOOF and it was a trip down memory lane for me listening to him describe and sometimes demonstrate various biodynamic practices.

On biodynamic farms cow horns, such as the one above, are packed every year with cow manure, buried and overwintered until the spring when they’re dug up and mixed with water in a vessel shaped like a pregnant woman’s belly. I got the job of stirring that shit so to speak and then applying it to the fields of the culinary herb farm that I worked on. Biodynamic practices are very unique and from my limited experience they seem to work.

Rudy Marchesi of Montinore Estate talking with the Hardy Plant Society's Kitchen Gardening Group about biodynamic farming.

The group taking in the scenery and learning the history of Montinore Estate.

Where water turns into wine at Montinore...

It wouldn't be a wine tour without a tasting in Montinore Estate's beautiful tasting room.

I learned a lot during this tour including:

The name Montinore comes from the original ranch owner who was from Montana before he moved to Oregon. Get it? Mont-in-Ore.

Because of all the moisture this growing season mold and mildew have been a constant struggle in vineyards. It’s been a challenging and expensive season.

Rudolf Steiner was a rad dude. He’s the grandfather of biodynamic agriculture as well as Waldorf education.

The reason Rudy got into biodynamic practices…phylloxera. An area of the vineyard was destroyed quickly by this pest so Rudy reevaluated growing practices and in 2001 (before he owned the vineyard) stopped all use of herbicides.

In 2003, Rudy took a biodynamic course in New York while still farming back east and in 2005 he bought Montinore Estate. In 2008 it was certified as biodynamic.

There are 25 or so biodynamic vineyards in Oregon but only seven are certified.

Hardy Plant Society Oregon
www.hardyplantsociety.org

Montinore Estate
3663 SW Dilley Road
Forest Grove, Oregon
503.359.5012 ext 3
Open daily 11am-5pm
www.montinore.com

Buy Katherine Cole’s book Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers
Read my review of Voodoo Vintners in Willamette Week

Portland Growers Alliance

August 8th, 2011

Portland Growers Alliance at the Monday Pioneer Courthouse Square Portland Farmers Market.

A few weeks ago Portlander Lauren Morse contacted me to see if I might put something up about Portland Growers Alliance, a marketing collective for the farmers of Mercy Corps Northwest’s Agriculture Project in conjunction with Grow Portland.

I’m a big fan of this Mercy Corps Northwest project and, in fact, I’ve written about it in the past for the Portland Tribune and on this blog. So, I said, of course, but why don’t you write something and I’ll put it up since I’m clearly not the expert. (Lauren also wrote a more personal blog post about Portland Growers Alliance here if you want to learn more.) Without further ado, here are some thoughts and photos from Lauren Morse, lead marketer for Portland Growers Alliance…

As a consumer, do you ever feel overwhelmed by the abundance of smells and sounds at Portland’s bustling farmers markets? Imagine being a farmer there. Many shoppers do not realize the underlying steps required to orchestrate these markets. Farmers must reserve a stall, arrange transportation to the market, and communicate with customers. For many emerging farmers in the Pacific Northwest these simple steps are an impassable barrier.

The Growers Alliance is a new marketing collective designed to help emerging farmers succeed. It was founded in 2010 as a partnership between Mercy Corps Northwest’s Agriculture Project and Grow Portland.

Mercy Corps Northwest’s Agriculture Project provides refugees, immigrants, and new American growers with the access to land and supplies needed to begin market gardens. Grow Portland teams with Mercy Corps Northwest to provide the trucking and marketing services for growers to sell their produce locally. All growers are welcome to volunteer at markets and CSA pick-ups, but the Growers Alliance relies on its lead American growers to do the bulk of produce marketing.

An increasing number of growers in the Pacific Northwest are immigrants, refugees, or beginning American farmers. Though they make up a necessary component of local agriculture, these growers often lack the English skills, business training, or access to trucking necessary to sell their produce to direct markets. (Direct markets refer to any sales that occur directly between the grower and the consumer.) Selling through direct markets, however, guarantees that growers will get the best price for their product. But what if you lack the English skills to communicate with consumers? Or what if your individual plot is too small to have your own CSA or farmers market stand? This is where the Portland Growers Alliance steps in.

This year the Alliance is composed of Nepalese, Bhutanese, Slavic, Burmese, Somali, and American growers. Though their individual plots are less than an acre each, collectively they are able to sell produce through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, two Portland Farmers Markets (Saturday at PSU and Monday at Pioneer Square), and a few local restaurants. Visit the Growers Alliance
webpage
to learn how you can support these growers.

Most important to their marketing efforts is recruiting members for fall CSA shares. Fall shares run for 14 weeks from late August through November. Members can pick up at Mercy Corps Northwest in Old Town/Chinatown or the Warehouse Café in Southeast’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Sign up here! Contact Lauren for more information at lmorse at growportland dot org or 503.858.0216.

Somali growers of Mercy Corps Northwest's Agriculture Program at Westmoreland Garden.

Portland Growers Alliance CSA boxes being filled in Southeast Portland.


www.growportland.org/programs/growers-alliance

Contact Lauren Morse for more information at lmorse at growportland dot org or call 503.858.0216
Visit the Portland Growers Alliance booth at the Pioneer Courthouse Square (Mondays) and Portland State University (Saturdays) Portland Farmers Markets.
Sign up for the fall CSA here

Oregon Tilth’s Urban Growth Bounty Classes

January 17th, 2011

One of last year's Oregon Tilth Urban Growth Bounty classes at Luscher Farm.

Spring will be here before you know it and Oregon Tilth has a great line up of spring Urban Growth Bounty classes in partnership with the City of Portland that center around organic food gardening techniques from February through April.

Registration just opened up so visit the Tilth website to enroll. Individual classes are $35, three for $90 or four for $120. Here’s some info. about the February classes below from the press release. Also, keep in mind that registration is about to open for Oregon Tilth’s March Comprehensive Organic Gardener Program. Dig in!

Visit the Oregon Tilth website for more information.

Plan your Garden
Tilth Toolshed Series: Class 1
Wednesday February 2, 2011
6-8pm

Spring is right around the corner and what will you grow, how much should you plant and what varieties will perform best? Learn practical planning techniques for selecting seeds, optimizing space, increasing harvests, and rotating crops. Maximize your bounty by applying new spacesaving strategies in your home garden. Participants receive free seeds and a “Tilth Garden Planning Packet” full of useful planning tools and worksheets that can be used at home!
Faubion School, 3039 NE Rosa Parks Way

Garden Fresh Greens Year Round
Tilth Cornucopia Series: Class 1
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
6-8pm

With a little planning and added frost protection, it’s easy to grow a variety of fresh greens all year round. Join us for this fun class and learn how to grow your own salad and stir fry mixes, and discover new varieties of tasty hardy greens. Crop timing, season extension, organic pest and disease management and soil fertility will be covered. Attend this class and take home a salad mix to get greens growing in your own garden!
Faubion School, 3039 NE Rosa Parks Way

Plan Your Garden
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
6-8pm

Spring is right around the corner and what will you grow? How much will you plant and what varieties will perform best? Attend this class to learn practical planning techniques for selecting seeds, optimizing space, increasing harvests and rotating crops. Maximize your bounty by applying new space‐saving strategies at home. Participants receive free seeds and a “Tilth Garden Planning Packet” full of useful planning tools and worksheets for home!
Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego, OR

Growing Tomatoes and other Summer Fruits from Seed
Tilth Cornucopia Series: Class 2
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
6-8pm

Do you enjoy eating homegrown tomatoes, peppers and eggplant? Attend this class to learn practical techniques for indoor seed propagation so you can grow all your favorite summer fruits from seed to harvest. Pruning and vertical gardening for vining crops will be covered. You’ll also discover methods for extending your growing season to encourage an earlier and more productive harvest for your heat‐loving crops. Participants will take home newly sown tomatoes and peppers!
Faubion School, 3039 NE Rosa Parks Way

Oregon Tilth
www.tilth.org

Hard Cider Pressing with Nat

December 27th, 2010

Nat sorting through one of the last Newtown Pippin apple bins.

In early December I got to help out a friend with the last cider press of the apple season. Our friend Nat West has been crafting his own cider and hard cider for a few years now from gleaned, traded and orchard picked local apples and this year was the biggest. He thinks his total apple haul this year clocks in at about 5,800 pounds, which translates to roughly 500 gallons of cider.

This year’s apples included a mix of Newtown Pippins, Lady, Jonagold, Kingston Black, Yarlington Mill, Brown’s Apple, Hereford Redstreak plus about 1,000 pounds of mixed varieties gleaned from various local spots. I helped out with the last of the Newtown Pippins — about 250-300 pounds.

The agreement was (and is with a lot of Nat’s friends) that in exchange for helping out for a shift of apple milling and pressing I’d get to take home a carboy of that day’s cider. I thought that sounded great and I was really happy to get to work with and learn more about Nat’s awesome set-up.

Basically, Nat mills his apples with a retrofitted garbage disposal and presses them with a hydraulic press in his garage. Apples are stored and rinsed in bins and buckets in the driveway and once the juice is pressed it’s kept in 55-gallon drums in the basement during fermentation and then stored largely in kegs. Nat lets his cider go anywhere from six to eight months.

Nat doesn’t sell his cider he just drinks it and trades with it. Really good stuff. Here are some photos…

Nat rinsing the apples before I put them through the apple mill aka retrofitted garbage disposal in the garage.

I filled bucket after bucket with apple pumace shown here. It oxidizes pretty quickly while in queue for the press.

Nat's awesome hydraulic cider press.

Hard cider fermenting in the basement in 55-gallon food grade barrel.

Most of Nat's cider goes directly into kegs but he bottles some for friends.

Read about my cherry wine here.

Ready about my plum wine here.

Read about my dandelion wine here.

Allium + Oregon Tilth Dinner Sunday Dec. 5

November 29th, 2010

I spent some time at Luscher Farm in fall 2008 for Portland's first Organic Gardening Certification Program. I took this photo during one of our classes. Beautiful.

There are a lot of eat for a good cause events in and around Portland so it’s always hard to choose which ones to write about here. I don’t have a complicated formula. It’s usually pretty simple why I write about one and not another. If it’s an event that I’m going to, or would want to go to, and if I like the folks involved and I have time and space to write about it then I do. It’s that simple.

This Sunday’s Winter Neighborhood Dinner at Pascal Chureau’s Allium Bistro in West Linn — The Farm Comes to Allium — has all that going for it. The dinner is in partnership with Oregon Tilth and 10% of the evening’s proceeds go to the organization. I wish I could attend but unfortunately I’ll be at the Oregon Historical Society’s Annual Cheer all day and have plans for the evening. Check out the info. below if you’re interested in attending and be sure to make your reservation soon because there aren’t too many seats left.

More info. from Allium’s site:

Join Farmer Conner Voss of Oregon Tilth’s Demonstration Garden at Luscher Farms & share the farm’s organic provisions and inspiration.

Cheese Plate~local & imported, fruit confiture, toasted almonds, grilled breads
Sautéed Shrimp~citrus marinated shrimp, garlic, almonds, romesco sauce, piri-piris Endive Salad~mache, oregon blue cheese
Coq au Vin~braised chicken, smoked bacon, pearl onions
Steamed German Butter Balls Potatoes~truffle butter, chives
Pan Roasted Rock Fish~confit garlic, cream, mustard, tarragon
Oven Roasted Butternut Squash~ Kruger’s Farm wild blackberry honey, cumin, oregano
Warm Chocolate Cake~caramel crunch, eggnog crème anglaise
Red wine & White Wine

7 dishes + wine ~ $36 per person including wine/ $10 per child

10% of the proceeds will be donated to Oregon Tilth’s Educational Farms

Reservations required– 503.387.5604

Allium Bistro Winter Neighborhood Dinner
Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
6:30pm, drinks at the bar at 6pm
www.alliumoregon.com

Primal Cuts Comes to Portland Nov. 12th & 18th

November 11th, 2010

Judge this book by its cover. What's is even better...

I get a fair number of review copies in the mail and I have to say that Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers is one of the more exciting ones. One reason I got a review copy is because of the 50 US butchers that Marissa Guggiana interviews in what her publisher Welcome Books calls “a modern meat bible” three are from Portland:

Ben Dyer of Laurelhurst Market
Jason Barwikowski of Olympic Provisions
&
Berlin Reed aka The Ethical Butcher

I wish I had a scale here at my studio because I’d weigh this meat tome. Oh wait, there’s the online oracle — ok so it’s an impressive three-plus pounds. This is a hefty book that costs a pretty penny and although I know you can get three-pounds of pork butt for significantly less — and then you can make Ben Dyer’s Little Smokies pickled in a hot vinegary brine on page 125 — the book is worth every penny.

Each butcher profiled introduces him or herself and then there are great, big photos of them with their meat (excuse me but it’s true) as well as recipes for everything from cinnamon oxtail stew (Gabriel Claycamp, formerly from The Swinery, WA) and pork belly confit (Olivia Sargeant, Farm 255, GA) to boudin (Donald Link, Cochon Butcher, LA) and venison jerky (Scott Leysath, The Sporting Chef, CA). In addition to recipes the books includes DIY for homemade sausage, bacon and dry cured meats as well as advice for kick-ass burgers, deboning a chicken and making stock.

It’s a fantastic book and I’m really looking forward to learning and cooking from it. Even though it’s a little over the top when pulled out of context I really like what Dario Cecchini says in the book’s introduction:

Here is the essence of our craft as butchers: a task crude and compassionate, strong yet delicate, always respectful toward the killed animal, with the ethical imperative of always using the meat in the best manner possible, knowing that, since the beginning of time, these animals were were given to mankind as a gift from God.

Saving the best for last, Primal Cuts is coming to Portland:

Friday, November 12, 7:30pm
Dinner with Marissa Guggiana, Jason Barwikowski, & Ben Dyer
Simpatica Catering & Dining Hall
828 Southeast Ash Street
Portland, OR 97214

The menu from Simpatica’s site:

Sliced Corned Veal Tongue and Fried Oxtail Roulade with Broken Sauce Gribiche, Grilled Toasts and Bitter Herb Salad

Turnip and Turnip Top Soup

Wood-Roasted Whole Cattail Creek Lamb with Chickpea and Viridian Farms Grilled Pepper Stew and Skordalia

Blood Orange Curd Crepes with Chantilly Cream

Price is $40 per person plus wine and gratuity. Dinner begins at 7:30pm. Please email Simpatica or call the kitchen at 503.235.1600 to make reservations.

And Thursday, November 18th:

Info. from the press release:

$20 PRESALE. $30 DOOR.
Buy your ticket today at theethicalbutcher@gmail.com
Thursday, November 18th 7-11pm
The Cleaners at Ace Hotel
403 SW 10th Avenue

***AFTER PARTY***
After you fill up on all that local meaty goodness and get dancing to the beats at The Cleaners you’ll want to keep going. Head down the street to Beauty Bar for Homo Deluxe/Primal Cuts After Party.

Beauty Bar

111 Southwest Ash Street, Portland