For cooks to lazy (yours truly) or landless to grow their own food, community-supported agriculture is the easiest and most economical way to get ensure you always have fresh produce on hand. CSAs are farms with subscription programs: members pay a flat fee at the beginning of the year and get weekly deliveries of whatever’s in season. Some run nearly year-round. Most require members to pick up their shares at a central drop point, but some deliver. I can personally vouch for the quality and affordability of Sauvie Island Organics (sauvieislandorganics.com, $875/year for a 30-week, four-person share), but there are nearly 50 CSAs in the Portland area. For a comprehensive list, visit the Portland Area CSA Coalition at portlandcsa.org.
Home Produce Delivery
For the ultimate in convenient veggies, have your groceries dropped at your door by an organics delivery company. Both Organics to You (organicstoyou.org) and Spud! (spud.com) deliver mostly local organic produce to Portland homes. New Seasons Market also offers home delivery at newseasonsmarket.com/shopping.
There’s no better way to fill up on fruit during the summer months than doing the labor yourself. There are dozens of farms within 30 minutes of Portland that will let you pick your own berries, peaches, apples, flowers and even vegetables. I like Sauvie Island Farms (19818 NW Sauvie Island Road) for berries and the further out but nonetheless wonderful Draper Girls’ Country Farm (6200 Hwy 35, Parkdale, Oregon) for apples and cherries. There’s a frequently updated, comprehensive list of U-pick and farmstands at Blake Slemmer’s wonderful, international website (pickyourown.org/OR.htm).
Wanna learn to cook? You’re in the right town. Taste Unique will teach you to make pizza and pasta (tasteunique.com/Calendar.html). Caprial and John Pence have resumed their varied classes at their new kitchen (609 SE Ankeny St., caprialandjohnskitchen.com ). In Good Taste presents classes by the city’s top chefs (ingoodtastestore.com/cooking_school.asp). Hipcooks will teach you to cook without measuring (portland.hipcooks.com). Lost Arts Kitchen will teach you the Home Ec basics your grandmother knew but your mother forgot (lostartskitchen.com). The Ethical Butcher will teach you to buy, carve and cook all sorts of mammal (ethicalbutcher.blogspot.com), as will Portland Meat Collective (ladebrouillard.com). Harriet Fasenfest will teach you to can anything (Portlandpreserve.com). Mint/820’s Lucy Brennan will teach you to make killer cocktails (mintand820.com/cocktail_classes.shtml). Heidi Yorkshire’s Food by Hand Seminars will teach you how to butcher a hog, distill pear brandy or open a cheese shop (foodbyhandseminars.com). And Robert Reynolds will help you master the art of French—or, for that matter, any—cooking with an eight-week, $8,000 intensive course at The Chef Studio (thechefstudio.com).
Slow Food Portland organizes delightful classes, tastings and dinners featuring local, sustainable foods (slowfoodportland.com). Plate & Pitchfork show you where your food comes from and then feeds you at lavish dinners cooked and served at local farms (plateandpitchfork.com ). Stumptown Coffee’ Belmont Street Annex will give you a crash course in coffee appreciation at daily tastings (noon and 2 pm daily at 3352 SE Belmont St., 467-4123, stumptowncoffee.com). Zenger Farm will take you on a farm fieldtrip (zengerfarm.org/farm-fieldtrips). Portland Fruit Tree Project organizes harvesting parties to reap the produce of neglected fruit trees (portlandfruit.org). The Portland Visitors Association maintains a list of culinary tours, mostly of wine country (travelportland.com/visitors/tours.html). Edible Portland is the go-to publication for staying on for all news about Northwest agriculture and artisanal foods (edibleportland.com/content/). Culinate is the best place to get new recipes by local writers (culinate.com/home).