(Left) LINKED UP: Dan Wedin in his Zenner's Sausage kingdom. (Top Right) Courtesy Dan Wedin.
In the era of celebrity chefdom, it's good to look beyond the table to see who's raising the livestock, crafting the cheese, harvesting the fruit, brewing the beer and distilling the spirits that make our menus so special. Local writer Liz Crain's new book, Food Lover's Guide to Portland (Sasquatch Books, July 1, 2010), is about these people—PDX food/drink producers, distillers, bakers, coffee roasters, chocolatiers and more. While researching her book throughout 2009, Crain (who has written food articles for WW in the past) compiled far more personal interviews than she had room for. So she shared some notes on a few of Portland's favorite food and drink folks with usbefore her book launches Thursday. —WW editors
DAN WEDIN, Zenner's Quality Sausage & Smoked Meats chief sausage cook, sales/marketing director
What: Zenner's tasty, mostly natural casings (pork and lamb intestines), sausages and smoked meats are wholesaled to restaurants and markets in Oregon and throughout the West Coast.
Straight from the source: " We're a micro-sausagery; we're like Hair of the Dog [Brewery]. Our sausage batches are from 130 to 240 pounds as opposed to what we're up against—10,000-pound batches that no hands ever touch."
Get some: At Helser's, Rheinlander, Original Hotcake House, PGE Park, the Rose Quarter, a lot of local food carts, Sheridan Fruit Company, Phil's Uptown Meat Market, Zupan's Markets, Market of Choice and Cash & Carry.
KATY KOLKER, Portland Fruit Tree Project executive director
Why: Portland Fruit Tree Project harvested more than 15,000 pounds of fruit that otherwise would have gone to waste in 2009. It donated more than half of that to local food pantries while the other half was divided among volunteer harvesters and tree owners.
Straight from the source: " Portland Fruit Tree Project started because I saw fruit go to waste year after year, falling from the trees in the area [Northeast] but now I realize all around the city. There are just so many fruit trees that don't get harvested. I've done a lot of work in food justice and sustainable-agriculture fields and I have a strong passion for making fresh produce available to those who need it. Access to healthy food is a social-justice issue."
Get some: Portland Fruit Tree Project (portlandfruit.org) donates harvested fruit and nuts to food pantries such as Northeast Emergency Food Program, Fish Emergency Service and Oregon Food Bank. In 2009, it planted PDX's first urban community orchard in Northeast Portland in partnership with the Sabin Community Association.
CARL SINGMASTER, Belmont Station and Biercafe co-owner/manager
What: Belmont Station is for serious beer connoisseurs; it has more than 1,200 international, national and local beers at any given time, as well as hard cider, mead, sake, wine and more. If you don't want to take your beer to go, the adjoining Belmont Station Biercafe has 16 rotating taps and one cask-conditioned tap.
Straight from the source: "I'm a major advocate of cask beer [naturally carbonated beer, rather than beer force-carbonated with CO2]. I think the carbonation kind of stings your tongue a little bit and gives you some sharp acidity. You can tell that when you're drinking regular water and then drinking [force-] carbonated water. The carbonated is sharp. I think you get way more flavor out of the cask without the carbonation. It really lets the ingredients of the beer shine through."
Get some: Available at Belmont Station and Biercafe (4500 SE Stark St., 232-8538) or to go.
AUGUSTO CARVALHO DIAS CARNEIRO, Nossa Familia Coffee co-owner
What: Family-direct coffee from the Carneiro family's Brazilian coffee farm.
Straight from the source: "I grew up in Rio and spent all my holidays at the farm. Most of my childhood memories are from the farm, which is a good seven- to eight-hour drive from Rio…. Going there I loved to horseback ride with my grandpa. He'd wake me up at 5:30 in the morning and we'd go riding around the farm. So I guess there was a little bit of child labor."
Get some: At Nossa Familia Cafe at Ethos, New Seasons Markets, Whole Foods Markets, Brazil Grill, La Petite Provence, Sweetness Bakery and Cafe, Hollywood Farmers Market and Montavilla Farmers Market.
JULIE RICHARDSON, Baker & Spice and SweetWares co-owner
What: All sorts of hand-rolled hearth breads, pastries, tarts, tea cakes and custom cakes.
Local restaurant recommendation: Bar Avignon
Straight from the source: A typical morning at the bakery starts early: "Two people show up at 4 am. The bread person mixes the doughs for the day and the morning baker bakes everything off—the croissants, Danishes, muffins, bundt cakes and more. Then at 5:30 am the retail person comes in and makes coffee and puts products out and we open at 6 am. We have some regular 6 o'clock customers; there are always a few folks from Food Front waiting from next door."
Get some: At Baker & Spice Bakery (6330 SW Capitol Highway, 244-7573), Autogrill, Three Square Grill.
hosts a public book launch party at Fortune Tattoo, 1716 E Burnside St. 6-9 pm Thursday, July 1. Free. Enjoy food and drink donated from businesses featured in the book.