Jelle Steenbergen Xiao-Er Kong

Portland, Oregon has become a formidable food city. The intricate innovations realized here are miles ahead of the mainstream. Small, independent producers form the heart of the city’s food scene, and with the words ‘keep Portland weird’, they are showing the world they are a food force to be reckoned with. These are the Portland Pioneers.

Portland pioneers

At the Food Inspiration Days, our annual inspiration event for food professionals, we had the pleasure of hosting a sizable delegation from Portland, Oregon. The people behind Stumptown, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Olympia Provisions, and Steven Smith Teamaker, as well as Visit Portland, told us all about what inspires them and how they hope to inspire others. Some of the photographs used in this article were taken at this event.

Jelle Steenbergen Xiao-Er Kong

Olympia Provisions started as a one-man enterprise by Elias Cairo, who left every other charcuterie business in the dust by taking home the prize in every competition he entered.

He provided proof that craftsmanship and attention to detail trump everything else. After his many wins, the demand for his products grew explosively, and he enlisted the help of his sister Michelle to grow Olympia into the artisanal powerhouse it is today. 

With the quality of their charcuterie firmly established, they now devote their time and energy to making the world a better place. They are searching for the most humane way to slaughter pigs, and are doing all they can to minimize the amount of waste throughout their production chain.

www.olympiaprovisions.com

Olympia Provisions

‘At Smith, we just try to make the best tea we can’, says Tony Tellin of Steven Smith Teamaker. And their best is really quite exceptional.

The quality of their tea isn’t surprising considering Smith’s pedigree. Tony himself travelled the world for eighteen years in search of the finest teas, and he isn’t the only one at Smith who has. ‘We don’t buy ingredients,’ Tony continues. ‘We make them.’ 

At Smith they could think of a new blend on Monday morning, and have it on the store shelves by Monday afternoon, because they do everything themselves. They devote themselves to the entire process with a passion and craftsmanship that is rare indeed.

www.smithtea.com

Steven Smith Teamaker

Kombucha is taking the States by storm as the premier alternative to sugary soft drinks. The demand for the lightly fermented beverage is skyrocketing.

Brew Dr. Kombucha’s founder Matt Thomas experienced this explosive growth first hand. He started making kombucha in the basement of his Tonwshend’s Tea Company teahouses, but soon found he needed to expand his production, dramatically so. Scaling up proved to be a challenge, because Matt wanted to stay true to the artisinal roots of his kombucha, which he makes from his own tea-blends. He overcame those challenges, though, because Brew Dr. Kombucha is now the second biggest kombucha producer in the US.

brewdrkombucha.com

Brew Dr. Kombucha

Portland, Oregon has become a formidable food city. The intricate innovations realized here are miles ahead of the mainstream. Small, independent producers form the heart of the city’s food scene, and with the words ‘keep Portland weird’, they are showing the world they are a food force to be reckoned with. These are the Portland Pioneers.

Portland pioneers

Portland visits the Netherlands

Photo: Nikki Unger-Fink

Strumptown Coffee Roasters at Food Inspiration Days | Photo: Floris Heuer

Olympia Provisions at Food Inspiration Days | Photo: Floris Heuer

Steven Smith Teamaker at Food Inspiration Days | Photo: Floris Heuer

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Portland is all about the spirit of collaboration, and Farm Spirit certainly embodies exactly that. 

This tiny restaurant explores the story behind everything they serve by working closely with local producers. Each dish is carefully crafted before the guests’ very eyes. The Cascadia region offers a staggering amount of diverse products, and a meal at Farm Spirit will not just feed you, but teach you a little bit more about the land you’re living on.

www.farmspiritpdx.com

Farm Spirit

Salt & Straw is bringing seasonality to the ice cream space with their extensive offering of seasonal ice cream flavors. And this isn’t your every day ice cream, this is ice cream made for a refined palette. 

The late summer harvest brings flavors like Rose City Centennial to Portland, while the slightly warmer San Francisco gets to enjoy Roasted Strawberries & Coconut. The strangest and most inspiring combination has to be the Bone Marrow & Smoked Cherries: roasted marrow, smoked cherries, star anise, and fennel, with the whole ripened in a bourbon-syrup. Impressive and unique.

saltandstraw.com

Salt & Straw

‘A really good cup of coffee can make your day,’ says Stumptown’s Mallory Pilcher. ‘But an absolutely incredible cup of coffee can change your entire life.’ That’s what Stumptown, the cold brew coffee gurus, are all about. They are trying to bring high quality coffee to as many people as possible, and their weapon of choice for this endeavor is cold brew coffee.

To achieve their goal, there isn’t anything they aren’t willing to try. Nitrogenated cold brew for a velvety smooth finish, cold brew tonic water, cold brew soda, cold brew shots, Stumptown tries it all. They’re not just trying to widen their audience, however. They are also attempting to secure the future of coffee. Climate change is a serious threat to the humble bean, but at Stumptown they firmly believe that when people taste true, high quality coffee, they are willing to go the extra mile to secure it has a future.

www.stumptowncoffee.com

Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
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