Oregon Taste Launches First Ever Statewide Directory of Fresh Oregon Food Producers

Author: Lori Warner-McGee, Oregon Taste/James Beard Public Market, Development Director

Publication: Summer 2021

Oregon Taste, a public service project of the Historic Portland Public Market Foundation, launched OregonTaste.com on March 16, 2021. The free searchable online directory promotes the state’s farmers, ranchers, fishers and other food producers by connecting them directly to area consumers. Why Oregon Taste? The pandemic has shown more than ever the importance of supporting our local food systems. The sudden decline in food demand by restaurants and hotel customers isolated some farmers from some of their biggest buyers, while some consumers were dealing with localized food shortages. The idea for OregonTaste.com was born out of this increased need to connect more people to more local farms and the foods they create. “Promoting direct sales is a big win for agriculture, our communities and economy,” said Alexis Taylor, Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture. “Direct sales contribute to sustainable agriculture and food systems, increased farmer profitability, and stimulating the local economy. Nearly 6,700 or 18 percent of the state’s agricultural operations rely on direct sales.” -March 26, 2021

One of Oregon Taste’s goals in supporting local food systems is to bring Oregon food producers to a broader audience around the region and the state to help enhance their discoverability. Directory users searching for local fresh foods can filter their searches in multiple ways, by businesses that sell kosher and non-GMO foods, for example, or search for businesses that are BIPOC-owned and woman-owned.

Oregon Taste partners with farm and food organizations across the state that share the commitment to bolstering Oregon’s local and regional food systems and celebrating Oregon’s remarkable food and farming history. There are currently twenty four collaborative partners, like  Oregon Farmers Markets Association, Oregon Rural Action, Oregon Pasture Network, North Coast Food Web, Oregon Department of Agriculture and Ecotrust. A full list of current partners is available here: https:// oregontaste.com/partners. The directory is organized according to the seven Oregon regions as identified by Travel Oregon in collaboration with Oregon Taste: Oregon Coast, Portland, Mt. Hood & The Columbia Gorge, Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, Central Oregon and Eastern Oregon.

OregonTaste.com will soon expand to include links to value added food products manufactured or processed in Oregon; wine, beer, spirits and other beverages created in the state; listings of local food events; and listings of the state’s food-related non- profits, agencies, and food organizations.

“This website is so awesome. I have been looking for this exact thing. I’m stoked and about to order meat from one of your listed farms. Thanks for your work Oregon Taste!” said one new user of the OregonTaste.com directory.

Producers of Oregon grown food can submit listings and consumers can help too by making sure their favorite farmers, growers, ranchers, fishers and farmers markets are listed

Visit OregonTaste.com/submit-a- business at https://oregontaste. com/submit-a-business.