Plate and Pitchfork’s 10th Anniversary and Upcoming Events

6 Feb

Farm to Table Goodness with Plate & Pitchfork

Celebrated Plate & Pitchfork turning 10 a few weeks ago at Grochau Cellars and what a nice party ’twas, especially since we were introduced to some of our favorite new (and existing) culinary artisans:

The Sugar Cube was offering a birthday treat of “Citrus, Fennel-Nibby Financiers,” complex little chocolate-covered goodies showcasing the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Bull Run Distillery – Now that’s some sippin’ vodka right there. Drinkable by straw. Smoooove with extra “o’s.” They were offering a delightful “Killer Bees” cocktail with agave, ginger syrup, and fresh lemon juice as well as a stunning “21st Century” with Creme de Cacao, Lillet Blanc, and fresh lemon juice. Um, yes, please.

Grochau Cellars offered up a nice Pinot and a Tempranillo-Syrah blend. As this is Pinot Country, it can be challenging to find good Syrah and Tempranillo, so was tickled pink with their “Tinto.”

Handmade pie from Lauretta Jean’s – Wow. These tasty little pecan pie-lettes included a generous sprinkling of sea salt, the result being appealing in a caramel-fleur-de-sel kind of way.

Profiteroles from St. Jack – Chocolate or Espresso. THE. BEST.PROFITEROLE.CREAMPUFFY.THINGS.EVER. Especially the espresso. Wow.

Candy bars from Beans and Bees – Their Honey Bar’s fluffy caramel, hazelnut and honey-nougat center had us drooling on the serving plate. No more! We cried…and then took two more.

Here’s more about Plate & Pitchfork from their website. I’m putting one of their “out-on-the-farm-meet-the-farmer-and-winemaker-dinners” on the bucket list. YES.

Plate & Pitchfork started nine years ago when founder Erika Polmar envisioned the simple idea of a meal where people shared a conversation focused on the amazing bounty grown by Oregon’s small family farmers. That small idea grew into a popular farm dinner series that reinforces the connection between the farm and food on your plate. Each summer farm dinner takes place in a field or vineyard and pairs a farmer with two local chefs and a winemaker. Menu items are inspired by the seasonal harvest and prepared on-site by the guest chefs. Every dinner begins with a farm tour to meet the farmer and get to know their agricultural practices.

Mission: Plate & Pitchfork’s mission is to reconnect eaters with the people who grow and prepare their food. Guests enjoy a tour led by their host farmer, and meet ranchers, fishermen, winemakers, and bakers whose products grace the table. Along the way, founder Erika Polmar hopes to make diners aware of the multiple economic and social benefits of eating local.

What’s New: Plate & Pitchfork will offer the 10th season of its popular summer farm dinners beginning mid July 2012 through the end of August. To celebrate this decade milestone, Erika has created some new events and trips to bring even more awareness to food issues and connect more people to local food artisans from chocolate makers to distillers, brewers and bakers.

Beneficiaries (The Fab Four): As Plate & Pitchfork kicks off its 10th season, the idea of giving back to the community has become an even greater focus. A portion of every ticket sale throughout the 2012 season will help four local non-profits do their best to fight hunger in Oregon and educate youth about farming and the environment.

  • Farmers Ending Hunger
  • Oregon Tilth’s Organic Education Center
  • Sauvie Island Center
  • Village Gardens/ Janus Food Works

ForkLift: The new winter series ForkLift will take guests behind the scenes with Portland’s culinary artisans to places like bakeries, roasteries, and distilleries where they will have a chance to roll of their sleeves and learn a bit about the craft before sitting down to a three-course dinner paired with beer, wine and spirits. The first dinner on February 12th is Outside the Chocolate Box with Scott Ketterman from Crown Paella and David Briggs from Xocotl de David at Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine. An April 29th dinner will begin with a bakery backstage tour at Grand Central Baking and dinner prepared by Dolen Lane of clarklewis.

Road & Raft Trip to Hells Canyon Recreation Area and Carman Ranch: Plate & Pitchfork and Winding Waters River Expeditions will travel to Eastern Oregon September 6-11, 2012 to explore rolling prairie, verdant valleys and timbered rangeland that is home to Carman Ranch and 6 Ranch. Tour the ranches and learn the art and science behind raising great beef exclusively on pasture. Rope a calf and enjoy a traditional branding style BBQ prepared by Portland chefs Benjamin Bettinger of Beaker & Flask and Jason Barwikowski of the Woodsman Tavern. After the ranch visit, guests will spend three days rafting in Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. Enjoy more gourmet meals from Ben and Jason, along with the thrill of class III and IV whitewater adventure.

The Almanac Blog: The Plate & Pitchfork team has gathered a lot of culinary know-how throughout the past nine years and have launched a monthly blog called the Almanac. Columns like “Table Talk” will tackle tough food issues and “Cheats & Fakes” will reveal kitchen secrets. Also, monthly interviews with local chefs, winemakers and farmers will answer the questions you always wanted to ask yourself. The Almanac is written by Kelly Clarke, former Willamette Week Arts & Culture editor, blogger Lindsay Strannigan, and recovering restaurateur Ali Jepson.

2012 Dinners: The Plate & Pitchfork season will be announced in March 2012 detailing the entire line up of summer farm dinners. A few returning chefs include Vitaly Paley of Paley’s Place; Benjamin Bettinger of Beaker and Flask; Jasper Chen, Sarah Pliner, and Kat Whitehead of Aviary; Aaron Barnett of St. Jack; and Anthony Cafiero of Tabla. Wineries to include Domaine Drouhin, Andrew Rich and Chehalem Wines, along with farm partners Sauvie Island Organics., Viridian Farms and Sun Gold Farms.

About Erika: Plate & Pitchfork founder Erika Polmar has been building things for as long as she can remember – first with Crystal Climbers and now through technology or a good old-fashioned handshake. Erika has spent the last 20+ years in positions ranging from Santa’s Helper to pink-slip wielding acquisition manager to corporate spy. Somewhere in the midst of all that Plate & Pitchfork began as a summer project and nine years later, Erika is still building. Plate & Pitchfork has allowed her to hone a funky blend of culinary, technology and marketing expertise, while developing a keen awareness and understanding of the issues facing both the culinary & agricultural communities. She puts these skills to the test every day as she builds Plate & Pitchfork from a simple farm dinner series to an organization that brings complex issues to the fore so that together, as a community, we can create a healthy, economically viable and delicious place to live.


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