Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner hosted by New Seasons Markets. New Seasons is a local grocery chain with 9 stores in the greater Portland area. They focus on providing high quality local products and amazing customer service.
The dinner was quite an experience. Held at the World Forestry Center here in Portland, over 200 people representing local companies of every sort joined together to share stories and make new acquaintances. As both a consumer and a company representative, I couldn’t help but feel as though I was amongst celebrities. While sampling some delicious Oregon cheese, I spied the rep from Stump Town Coffee mingling and watched as reps from Country Natural Beef mosied by dressed in their finest ranch wear. We had the privilege of sitting with Jody and Michael from Wild Carrot Herbals who use some of our grains in their line of personal care products. My husband and I eagerly collected sightings of different suppliers- ranchers, bakers, brewers, and many more- and tasted some of the finest Oregon foods.
The theme of the dinner was the new awareness surrounding all of us- consumers want to know where their food is coming from. 10 years ago, people didn’t give a second thought to who grew their beef, processed their milk, or baked their bread. These days, everyone is talking about eating local and reducing their carbon footprint. There is something wholly satisfying about meeting a farmer face-to-face and taking home their hand-picked produce.
Bob’s Red Mill takes pride in visiting our farmers and making personal connections with our grains. Last year, we visited spelt and wheat farmers in Eastern Washington (right), oat growers in Alberta, and flax growers in North Dakota and Minnesota. This year, we’re visiting with corn and rice growers in California and farmers in British Columbia who may supply a new grain that I cannot share at this juncture (watch for it in September).
At Bob’s, we are not able to source all of our grains from Oregon farmers, some grains are only available from certain regions. We make an extra effort to meet our farmers and tour their facilities to ensure what we bring you is the best grain possible and grown using good farming practices. Knowing this about our company, I felt privileged to be invited to such a wonderful event and meet the people who make up our local food community.