Yes, I took a photo of my nametag. It equated me to my book and since it was the first time I got to "wear" my book I was pretty excited.
And what was the nametag for you might ask? This past March was my first time attending the Farmer-Chef Connection -- a Portland Chefs Collaborative and Ecotrust hosted event. It was held at Clackamas Community College -- a half hour south of Portland.
I love farmers. In fact I considered becoming one right after high school when I worked on a small herb farm in the Extremadura region of Spain. In recent years, one of my favorite long-term assignments was visiting and interviewing local farmers for the Portland Tribune. I still interview farmers from time-to-time but not regularly.
The Farmer-Chef Connection is put on annually as a way to bring producers and food buyers together to chew the fat, break bread, share advice, and most importantly speed date. The latter is just another way to say make connections. Mid-day farmers and producers gathered on one side of the conference room and took turns giving microphoned introductions and quick run-downs of their farms and crops. After that restaurateurs, chefs and other food service folks buzzed around talking with them about their needs.
Lunch was a big potluck with foods prepared by participating farmers and chefs. On the long buffet table were delicious Picklopolis Pickles from David Barber of Three Square Grill, a Cattail Creek Lamb roast from Nostrana, New Seasons Market spicy Thai lamb ribs, a kale salad from Organically Grown Company, Sweetbriar Farms pulled pork, Hot Lips Soda and much more.
I sat at a table with a friend who's enrolled in the Clackamas Horticulture Program and broke bread with Cathy Whims chef/owner of Nostrana, her sous chef and other culinary and farm folks. Toward the end of lunch John Witte of Tenino Farm in Southeast Portland stopped by and handed Whims a small container of his farm-grown, salt cured black olives. It was a charming gesture and Whims seemed touched as we passed the dish around the table. I heart farmers. I heart chefs.
Farmer-Chef Connection www.farmerchef.org