Portlandia Foods

8 04 2017

IMG_1484It’s almost un-American, but I couldn’t handle the taste of ketchup until I was a teenager. Even then, I only used ketchup for dipping my greasy, limp school cafeteria fries into just to make them palatable. The memory of the pairing still grosses me out. To this day, I can go without having general ketchup on anything, because I only tolerate its taste. Luckily for me, usually when ketchup is available, so is mustard—and I love mustard.

While lunching with a friend, she encouraged me to try her new favorite ketchup called Portland Ketchup made by Portlandia Foods. I hesitated because my pub fries were too good to ruin with ketchup, but I trusted her enough to dip. This organic Portland Ketchup actually tasted good, and I shared the bottle with my genius friend through the remainder of our meal. Recently, while dining at a favorite restaurant with my family, not only did Portland Ketchup appear on our table for the first time, but so did Portland Mustard. I didn’t know that Portland Mustard existed!

Portlandia Foods ensures its vegan condiments remain free of gluten, pesticides, monocultures, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and monosodium glutamate (MSG) by partnering with local distributors who support local farmers. These products include Portland Ketchup, Portland Mustard, and Portland Worcestershire.

Portlandia Foods is located at 2451 SE Ankeny Street in Portland, Oregon and is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays. Call (503) 729-8257 to set an appointment, or go to www.portlandiafoods.com for more information or to order online.


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From Portland’s Palate

10 03 2017

IMG_2370The cookbook From Portland’s Palate: A Collection of Recipes from the City of Roses by the Junior League of Portland, Oregon includes nearly 250 recipes that integrate local ingredients such as seafood from the Pacific Ocean, fruit from the Columbia River Gorge, and wine from the Willamette Valley. These recipes are both familiar and innovative. Each section begins with stunning artwork by Illustrator Jennifer Winship Mark along with a page of information and tips about a certain area or season. Not only is this a classic Pacific Northwest cookbook, but it’s also an entertaining read.



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Stash Tea

6 01 2017

img_8244My favorite tea happens to be local, founded and headquartered in the Pacific Northwest! Stash Tea began in a Victorian house in Portland, Oregon in 1972 and expanded its headquarters just over the West Hills to Tigard, Oregon. Stash quickly grew to become a top specialty American tea company, selling products online, in a variety of stores, and around the world. Stash teas come in a variety of flavors and forms including loose, bulk, bagged, pods, sachet and iced. The company also sells treats and any kind of teaware imaginable.

Stash Tea derived its name from tales of early travel when merchants traded and transported tea by ship. Ship captains received the finest teas as gifts and stashed them away for safekeeping. Admittedly, my daughter and I do the same with our favorite flavors of Stash Tea!

To see all that Stash Tea offers and learn all about tea, go to www.stashtea.com!


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PNW Outerwear

26 10 2016

fullsizerender-1We’re barely into our wet season in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve already endured tornadoes, damaging winds, and record rainfall—and we haven’t even gotten into our rainiest months yet! I hear the grumbling all around me. But, life outside our doors can’t wait until summer. We live in the Pacific Wonderland, as our license plates proclaim, and we have the availability of nearly every outdoor activity imaginable.

So, what do we do? We don our moisture-wicking, water-repellent attire and footwear and get outside. Notice, I did not include umbrellas, because although we all secretly have them, we rarely use them. Die-hards even shun them. If we all used our umbrellas at once, mayhem would ensue. Umbrella gridlock would destroy our peaceful existence with what we call “liquid sunshine.”

Our more practical, less obstructing approach of layering outerwear benefits both customers and businesses. The PNW has a variety of superb local companies that can outfit you perfectly for any activity in any weather. I support local businesses even if they’ve gone global, because they’re still part of our family. Here’s my short list of PNW companies with quality products: REI, Columbia Sportswear, Nike, Pacific Trail, K2 Sports, Eddie Bauer, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Northwest Riders Clothing Company, Zumiez, and Coastal Farm & Ranch. These businesses will cover your needs and keep you going comfortably so wet or cold weather won’t keep you from enjoying your outdoor activities.


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Toadstool Cupcakes

8 08 2016

IMG_7855My cousin recently brought Toadstool Cupcakes to a family gathering, and when I peeked inside the box, I saw the cutest variety of tiny cupcakes I’d ever laid eyes on. I’m not much of a cake lover and I never eat dessert first, but when another cousin prompted me to try one, I dove right in—before the potluck started! To my delight, the Toadstool Cupcakes tasted even better than they looked. They are topped with creamy fillings and hand-dipped in white or chocolate ganache, then finished with signature decorations unique to each flavor.

Toadstool Cupcakes bakes all cakes on site and offers over 50 flavors daily including wheat-free and vegan. Tiny Toadstool Cupcakes are nearly the size of a standard cupcake and cost $2.75 each or $30 per dozen. Some flavors of the Tiny Toadstool Cupcakes include: Salted Caramel, Snickerdoodle Dandy, Strawberries & Cream, Oregon Marionberry, Confetti Cake, Double Fudge, Strawberry Cheesecake, Mocha Buzz, Oregon Hazelnut, Green Tea Chai, Fudgy Pudgy Brownie, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, and Banana Split. Giant Toadstool Cupcakes cost $5 each and if you buy 11, you get the 12th free. Giant Toadstool Cupcakes are double flavor, side-by-side treats in these six daily flavors: Red Velvet Double Fudge, Caramel Macchiato, Razzle Dazzle Lemonberry, Candy Bars, Neopolitan, and Cookie Monster.

Toadstool Cupcakes is open daily from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and is located in Portland, Oregon at 3557 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 97214. Contact Toadstool Cupcakes at (503) 764-9921 or www.toadstoolcupcakes.com. Visit the shop or the website for a full list of gourmet flavors.


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Big League Chew

13 07 2016

IMG_8022Whether it’s baseball season or not, the classic Big League Chew bubble gum remains popular as new generations discover this unique product. Although the traditional pink, original-flavored bubble gum expanded into a variety of colors and flavors (chocolaty candy bar, sour cherry, strawberry, grape, sour apple, watermelon, and cotton candy), its iconic shredded texture and foil pouch packaging stay recognizable across generations and around the world.

The concept of Big League Chew began in the Portland Maverick’s bullpen in the 1970s. The Portland Mavericks were a new independent team in the Class A Northwest League created by Bing Russell, an actor in the hit TV series Bonanza and father to actor Kurt Russell. Left-handed pitcher Rob Nelson noticed teammate Todd Field “chewing” shredded black licorice as a healthy substitute for tobacco, and he instantly got the idea of shredding gum instead. Nelson approached teammate Jim Bouton for help in developing the gum. Bouton brainstormed the name of Big League Chew, financed the initial operation, and eventually pitched it to the Wrigley Company, owner of the Chicago Cubs. The teammates hired MAD magazine artist Bill Mayer to design the final packaging.

A secret formula keeps Big League Chew’s shredded gum from sticking together in the pouch, allowing customers to dip into any amount desired. This ingenuity didn’t happen overnight. In early 1979, Nelson ordered a gum-making machine from a magazine and attempted his first batch of licorice-flavored brown gum in Field’s kitchen in Southeast Portland. Nelson became the new pitching coach for Portland State University and tested batches of his homemade gum to his players who were not fans of it. He continued experimenting while Bouton sketched pouch designs. Nelson hired an art studio in Portland to render Bouton’s drawings into a professional sample to show Amurol, a subsidiary of Wrigley. Amurol’s President tested about 20 Big League Chew pouches at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Naperville, Illinois and they sold out immediately.

After months of tweaking the gum’s colors, flavors and packaging, former teammates and new business partners introduced Big League Chew in May 1980. Over the decades, Big League Chew fans rave that this particular gum continues its use as a healthy alternative to tobacco. For others, it’s a fun, flavorful, storable chewing gum.


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Pendleton Woolen Mills

6 01 2016

IMG_1636-2Anyone familiar with the Pacific Northwest knows that we like our plaid shirts so much that they’ve grown into a stereotype. We wear them throughout all seasons. They double as coats in spring and fall. We layer them with puffy vests in winter. These shirts tie around our waists and drape over shorts on summer days, dutifully warding off chill from air-conditioners or cool evenings. We owe this trend to Pendleton Woolen Mills that began over 100 years ago.

Thomas Kay, a skilled English weaver, traveled by ship and burro to arrive in Oregon in 1863 and begin his own company in a region ideal for raising sheep and producing wool. Oregon held many positives such as a moderate climate, fresh water, and established wool operations. Kay worked for others before opening his own company in Salem, Oregon where he trained his eldest daughter, Fannie. Fannie married retail merchant Charles Pleasant Bishop and moved their family to Pendleton, Oregon. Their new hometown along the Columbia River already hosted a shipping center for local wool producers on a main railway. The three Bishop sons named Chauncey, Clarence, and Roy, caught the family’s passion for wool and founded Pendleton Woolen Mills in 1909. Pendleton Woolen Mills operated on the original site of a wool scouring plant that washed raw wool before shipping, and also of a previous woolen mill that produced blankets for Native Americans.

Pendleton Woolen Mills employees consulted local and Southwest Native Americans about their preferred colors and designs for blankets. Blanket production continued and included robes and shawls. Native Americans used these products for warmth and for trade among tribes. They preferred wool to animal skins because of its ability to capture heat, repel water, and sew or patch easily. Pendleton’s Nez Perce nation traded among themselves and with other nearby tribes such as the Navajos. They traded for jewelry and various valuables. Native Americans valued Pendleton Woolen Mills blankets for everyday apparel, dowries, gifts, and ceremonial pieces. The most traditional pattern in the Pacific Northwest continues to be the Hudson’s Bay point design with a white background and a stripe of green, red, yellow, and indigo.

The company expanded its location and product line after opening in Washougal, Washington and producing men’s shirts. Women’s apparel, non-wool items, surf wear, and accessories for body and home followed in the subsequent decades. The Bishop family continues to operate Pendleton Woolen Mills to this day.

Interesting Facts

  • The Beach Boys originally were called The Pendletones and wore plaid Pendleton shirts as their band’s uniform. The iconic blue and charcoal plaid remained their favorite and appeared on 45 record covers including Surfin’ Safari and Surfer Girl! That pattern is sold today as the Pendleton Board Shirt.
  • Actor Jeff Bridges wore a classic Pendleton sweater called The Westerley in his film The Big Lebowski! The Westerley sweater gives a nod to the hand-knit Cowichan sweaters made by Pacific Northwest Tribes.

All rights reserved. No portion of Seasonal Northwest, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be copied or reproduced without written permission.