Organic Valley Partners with Portland Restaurateurs to Honor 40th Anniversary of Earth Day at Tables Throughout the City
As communities across the nation prepare to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2010, the farmer-owned cooperative Organic Valley is partnering with four local Portland chefs to embrace the spring tradition, offering two weeks worth of Earth Dinners.
Acclaimed chefs Vitaly Paley of Paley's Place and Michael Conklin of Lucy's Table, artisan baking pioneer Grand Central Bakery, and the well-respected Oregon Culinary Institute will offer special Earth Dinner meals to raise funds for Chefs Collaborative, the leading nonprofit network of chefs and farmers that fosters a sustainable food system through advocacy, education and collaboration. The Northwest dairy farmers of Organic Valley will match every dollar donated by each restaurant partner.
“The concept for Earth Dinners grew out of a desire to start a tradition that connects citizens more meaningfully with their food, who grew it and particularly, the impact of food production on human health and the health of the earth," said Theresa Marquez, founder of Earth Dinner and chief marketing executive for Organic Valley. “The dinner table is a powerful place. The hope is that when friends, family, farmers and chefs join together with organic, local and seasonal foods, magic happens, story telling starts and we experience the remarkable role that food plays in our lives and our culture."
To kick off the Portland celebration, Grand Central Bakery, 2249 NW York, will feature a Spring Locavore Menu from April 16 through April 30 in all six of its Portland cafés. The artisan baking company will donate $1 for every item sold from the special seasonal menu, which showcases 100 percent Northwest-grown ingredients, to Chefs Collaborative. Visit www.grandcentralbakery.com for locations, menu, and full roster of ingredients and suppliers.
Between April 20 and April 23, the restaurant at Oregon Culinary Institute, 171 SW Jefferson St., will offer a four-course prix fixe Earth Day-themed lunch at 12 pm and a four-course prix fixe Earth Dinner at 7 pm. The culinary school partners with local farms and dairies to source as many Northwest-grown ingredients as possible, including sustainable produce, meat and cheese. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from all of these meals will go to Chefs Collaborative. For reservations call 503.961.6200.
A pioneer of Northwest cuisine and longtime advocate of local and sustainable cooking, Chef-owner Vitaly Paley of Paley's Place, 1204 NW 21st Ave., will honor Earth Day on April 22, with a menu that salutes the values of this special holiday and spring's delicious bounty. Paley's Place will dedicate 10 percent of the evening's profits to Chefs Collaborative. For reservations call 503.243.2403.
The same evening, April 22, at Lucy's Table, 704 NW 21st Ave., Chef-owner Michael Conklin will prepare a special three-course prix fixe Earth Dinner menu paired with wine from sustainable winemaker Paul Dolan's Parducci label. The regular menu will be available as well, featuring simple flavorful preparations of the freshest possible ingredients. Ten percent of the evening's total proceeds will go to Chefs Collaborative. For reservations call 502.226.6126.
Organic Valley also encourages Portland families and friends, schools, and nonprofit organizations to host their own Earth Dinners. Visit www.earthdinner.org to download a free toolkit and a PDF of the new Earth Dinner Book containing helpful tips, quotes and thought-provoking questions to spark meaningful conversation among guests.
Earth Dinner is supported by a broad-based coalition of organizations including Beyond Pesticides, Bioneers, Chefs Collaborative, Healthy Child Healthy World, Earth Day Network, Earth Pledge, Eco Education, Ecotrust, Environmental Working Group, Heifer International, New York Restoration Project, Slow Food USA, Small Planet Institute, Social Venture Network, OM Organics, The Organic Center, Organic Consumers Association, and Waterkeeper Alliance.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,652 farmers in 34 states and four Canadian provinces, and achieved $520 million in 2009 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @Organic_Valley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley .