Join ODNC and Food Hero with Food Hero’s Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge this spring. 38,000 free seed packets, donated by Bi-Mart, will be distributed by Food Hero to Oregon state residents as part of the program which aims to inspire kids to grow their own gardensand eat a healthy diet.
You can register to pick up a seed kit with Food Hero while supplies last. The seed packets will be available in 4 different seed kits: cool-weather vegetables, warm-weather vegetables, herb or edible flowers and flowers that attract pollinators, like bees and birds. Or you can join in with your own seeds, says Halie Cousineau, OSU Extension Food Hero state garden education coordinator.
The Food Hero Facebook page will hold weekly office hours when gardeners can ask questions, post photos and share their accomplishments, Cousineau said. Once they harvest their produce, gardeners can find more than 300 recipes using vegetables and fruits on the Food Hero website.
Children are a big part of the program. Beginning April 1, digital lessons will be released every Thursday through June 10 when school ends. The lineup includes Growing Healthy Kids with OSU Master Gardeners and a four-week lesson plan in partnership with the Oregon Bee Project. Kids will learn about how bees help make healthy food and how to identify several of Oregon’s bees.
Kids can upcycle their yogurt or milk containers and use sleeves provided by ODNC to help track the care and progress of their plants. Download yours here!
Throughout summer and into fall, participants will receive a monthly Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge email with gardening information, harvest recipes and storage tips. Challenge information will also be available in English and Spanish on the Food Hero gardening page. For more personalized interaction, participants can email challenge leaders or email or call the Master Gardeners in their area.
“We’re trying to make the program accessible to anyone, children, elders, people with special needs and the diversity of cultural populations in Oregon,” said Cousineau. “We’re encouraging people anywhere to join. We want to make a community.”
During the month of February, grilled cheese lovers have rejoiced with the return of The Melt Down in Yamhill County. This month-long event features 30 unique, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from 30 different restaurants and food carts. Best of all, $2 from every sandwich supports a regional network of 17 emergency food pantries, known as YCAP.
Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich – Made with house made mac and cheese with tomato soup mixed in
Double Dog Dare Ya – Layers of pepper jack, pickled jalapeños, cranberry, bacon and cream cheese
PB & JK – With smoked pork belly, burrata and fig jam
It’s Chive O’Clock Somewhere – Cotswold and swiss, topped with jalapeño jam, caramelized leek, shallot spread and chive-infused butter… bacon optional!
Sour Cheddar Chow – Scrambled eggs with ham, cheddar cheese, and spinach in a homemade sourdough waffle
Slayer Melt – A melted selection of cheeses, stout braised onions, peppadew peppers, with sweet and tangy smoked beef brisket
If you want to try these delicious variations on the classic grilled cheese- don’t delay! While some of the sandwiches remain available after February 28, most are limited-time creations available solely during The Melt Down this month.
In support of YCAP, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council is among the sponsors of this growing, dairy-positive, annual community event supporting a good cause. It’s a natural partnership since most of the sandwiches use Oregon-made cheeses and butter. In past years, Oregon dairy producers, processors, and Dairy Princess Ambassadors have been featured as part of the event.
This year, Yamhill County Dairy Princess Ambassador Libby, created her own DIY grilled cheese to help support The Melt Down:
Accolades and appreciation for the event keep pouring in. “I can’t even believe how incredibly successful The Melt Down was this year … thank you so much for all of the incredible support you guys provide,” said Diane Longaker, organizer of The Melt Down in 2020.
Loredana Wilkerson posted, “Finally got to eat the #tmd2021 offering at Conservatory Bar tonight… so very glad indeed. “It’s Chive O’Clock Somewhere” is indeed special. Everything about it was well-balanced IMHO. Everything.”
Ted Tracey also had glowing praise for the event, “Went to 3 places on Saturday for #TMD2021! The first was from #GrainStation and it is now at the top of my list for grilled cheeses this year! The cheeses were fantastic and the caramelized onions were a deliciously sweet addition alongside the au jous!”
In February 2020, participating restaurants sold 13,532 grilled cheese sandwiches, more than double from the year before, making it a win-win for local restaurants in the community. Each year, the event generates increased business, and the food pantries receive much-needed financial support to meet ever-growing demand in their communities. You can even add a third win, since the participants in this event get to enjoy gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Bon appetit!
With power outages happening throughout Northwest Oregon, people may be tempted to store their dairy products outside to keep them cold and fresh. Please don’t! When perishable dairy items (like milk, yogurt and ice cream) are left outside, they can become unsafe to eat.
Please follow these tips to store and enjoy your dairy products safely:
• If in doubt, throw it out. If a dairy product has been unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours, it can become contaminated by harmful bacteria. Be safe and throw it out.
• Do not store your food outside, even if it’s freezing. The USDA says that outside temperatures are inconsistent, causing chilled food to enter the “danger zone” of warmer than 40°F, allowing harmful bacteria to grow.
• Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
• Eat shelf-stable pantry goods.Shelf-stable milk comes in special containers and does not need to be refrigerated before consumption. You can also use powdered milk as an alternative. Please use safe, potable water when mixing and drinking.
• Once power returns, check the temperature inside your refrigerator and freezer. With the exception of some hard cheeses, when a dairy product has been left in the unit above 40°F for two hours or more, toss it. Also, keep in mind that it will take several hours for your refrigerator or freezer to create a safe temperature for storing food. To keep the cooling process active, fill it with cool, not warm or hot, food.
Here are more resources on keeping your dairy foods safe:
Imagine picking up your milk in glass bottles directly from the dairy farm as the cows are mooing in the background – or having your milk delivered right to your door. Although this may sound like a treasured memory from your grandmother’s past, four dairy farms in Oregon are bringing forward these time-honored traditions with some delicious options.
Whole, pasteurized milk that is not homogenized is commonly called “creamline milk.” When the milk is homogenized, the healthy fats that occur naturally in milk are broken down to distribute evenly throughout the gallon. In non-homogenized milk, that healthy fat rises to the top to create a line of cream. Before homogenization was invented in 1899 milk drinkers would shake their milk to distribute the cream.
Milk’s nutrition benefits also come in many tasty flavors! Like “Schocolate” Milk from Schoch Dairy & Creamery, Vanilla Latte Milk from Royal Riverside Farm, or Banana Milk from Lady Lane Farm. You can even get seasonal flavors like Blackberry Milk from Rising Sun Dairy.
Although some grocery stores carry creamline and small batch flavored milk, you can also buy your favorite dairy products and more right at the farm! Check out the list below for an option near you.
In closing, here are some quick tips. When visiting a farm, watch for signage, and park in designated areas. Avoid wandering into other parts of the farm without permission. Practice social distancing and bring a mask to ensure safety. Lastly, some farms take cash only, and if you aren’t going straight home from the farm, be sure to bring a cooler with some ice for safe storage.
As we leave 2020 in the rear view mirror, we look back at a year that was unpredictable and exasperating for many. Time and time again, Oregon dairy farmers, processors and those in the dairy community proved to be resilient and rose to challenge after challenge. Among them; the pandemic, temporary supply chain disruptions, increased hunger, and historic wildfires. Throughout it all, Oregon dairy farmers proved they were there for their communities while working to provide nutritious dairy products – all without skipping a beat.
March abruptly impacted any previously made plans for the year. With the beginning of a statewide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, toilet paper made headlines as Oregonians began stocking up on supplies, but they also started to clean grocery shelves out of butter, cheese, milk and ice cream. Stores, and all those throughout the supply chain, quickly adjusted to meet the increased demand for milk and dairy foods. As restaurants and retailers closed their brick and mortar locations to the public, people were advised by government officials and medical professionals to Stay Home, Stay Safe and Stay Healthy.
As the shutdown continued, restaurant and retail closures unfortunately followed throughout the year, with notable Portland establishments like Toro Bravo, Beast and the much-loved Cheese Bar closing permanently. The closures impacted dairy and many other locally produced foods that supply restaurants and food service companies.
More people took to making their meals at home, using pantry staples like butter, milk, yogurt and cream. Stacy Foster, from our own team, joined in with her daughter, creating a delicious recipe from Food Hero.
Although though most summer events, like the Oregon State Fair, were cancelled due to the coronavirus, ingenious solutions were created to keep traditions going. The Oregon Dairy Women celebrated the 51st year of their Red Barn Ice Cream event by taking it on the road with the help of Wilco. By the end of the summer, they had visited five cities in Oregon and served hundreds people their famous cones and shakes.
Free summer meals were extended throughout Oregon through the year, resulting in nutritious food boxes and assistance programs that helped kids and families across the state.
And some farmers gave to their communities personally, like Rickreall Dairy, which celebrated the farm’s 30th anniversary by donating several hundred grocery bags full of food and milk to neighbors in need in their community. Tillamook dairy farmer Derrick Josi (aka TDF Honest Farming) bought meals for linesmen following a severe windstorm and for first responders during the subsequent wildfires.
Throughout it all, Oregon dairy farmers have been there, supporting their communities in ways too numerous to count, with delicious and nutritious food, helping their communities and caring for their animals and the earth. In 2020, dairy truly made everything better for a lot of people.
From our families to yours, we hope this next year is a safe, healthy and happy one.
Innovative, visionary, brilliant, genuine, caring – friends and colleagues have used all these words and more to describe Marty Myers. Marty was the General Manager of Threemile Canyon Farms since 1998 and served on the board of the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council since 2013. He passed away unexpectedly on December 1 at his home, and the loss will be felt throughout dairy, agriculture and local communities where he made a positive impact.
The following is a statement from Warren Chamberlain, Chairman of the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council’s Board of Commissioners:
We were saddened by the news that Marty Myers, general manager of Threemile Canyon Farms, died this week.
On behalf of our Board and staff, we wish to express our sincere condolences, thoughts, and prayers to his family.
Marty was an inspiring and visionary member of our Oregon and Dairy Nutrition Council Board of Commissioners, and a true friend. Marty’s insight, thoughtfulness, and willingness to work with all points of view benefitted not only ODNC, but Oregon’s dairy industry overall.
Under his guidance, Threemile Canyon Farms has become a leading example of Oregon agriculture in workforce development, adaptation of new technologies, community support, and sustainability. Marty’s vision of a closed-loop system and other sustainability innovations earned Threemile Canyon national recognition. This year, the farm was recognized as a 2020 Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability award winner by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
As a fifth-generation Oregonian, Marty gave much to the state in a lifelong agricultural career. We will continue our work at ODNC in the spirit of Marty’s vision and in the memory of his friendship.
This is a statement by Tim Curoe, CEO of R.D. Offutt Company, the parent company to Threemile Canyon Farms:
“Marty Myers was the visionary force behind Threemile Canyon Farms. He had a vision for the farm to be a sustainable operation, which was well ahead of the times. He brought that idea into reality by creating a ‘closed loop’ system where nothing would be wasted, and that remains the foundation for the farm’s remarkable and continued success.
“There just aren’t enough kind words to use when describing Marty. He was thoughtful, quick to laugh, and someone who always focused on what was possible. But most of all, I will remember him as friend and a true partner. He will be dearly missed but his vision will most certainly live on.”
Marty Myers leaves an impressive and lasting legacy, and he will be missed. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, Marty’s family is encouraging donations to Blanchet House and Oregon Food Bank in his honor. Cards, letters and remembrances can be sent to:
You could say that 2020 has been quite a year with the triple challenge of Covid-19, wildfires and food insecurity for communities across Oregon. Following in the tradition of giving thanks, we’re highlighting people and organizations in the dairy community who have given generously to make a positive difference this year. Join us in saying #Thanks4Giving to these community heroes.
Thanks4 Helping Schools in Need // This year hunger impacted many communities throughout Oregon. We’d like to say #Thanks4Giving to Safeway/Albertsons and GENYOUth whose “Help Feed Families During the Crisis” campaign generated $450,000 in emergency grant funding for Oregon schools to aid them in distributing free, nutritious meals to children during the school year.
“The support from Safeway and Albertsons has shown how communities can rise up and come together to support the needs of children.” said Alex Singer, Nutrition Services Director for Central School District in Independence/Monmouth.
Thanks4 Clearing the Air // We’re also thankful for Darlene Sichley of Abiqua Acres, who cared for her community during the recent wildfires by procuring 72 much-needed air filters to help clear unhealthy smoke from their homes so that her neighbors could breathe more easily.
“We may have had some difficulties, but the power of the community of helpers is greater than the fear and is the brightest light of hope,” said Darlene in a recent issue of Cowsmopolitan.
Thanks4 Helping Communities with Hunger // Incredible generosity makes for an incredible community. When Sarah Marcus of Briar Rose Creamery heard about hunger in her community, she donated over 250 lbs of their delicious, handcrafted Fromage Blanc cheese to the YCAP Food Bank.
Thanks4 Community Teamwork // And thanks to the team at Rickreall Dairy, who decided to pay things forward on their farm’s 30th anniversary by giving away over 400 bags of groceries, including fresh milk and meat from their farm, to their community.
“We just pray that this random act of kindness will give everyone the hope they need as we all struggle through these crazy times,” said Rickreall owner, Louie Kazemier.
Thanks4 Caring for First Responders // Oregon has no shortage of farmers who want to give back. Derrick Josi, of TDF Honest Farming in Tillamook, called on his 400,000+ Facebook followers to support their local first responders during the wildfires earlier this year. His call to action resulted in a Tillamook coffee shop receiving over $1,000 to cover breakfasts for firefighters working to save homes and dairy farms threatened by the Pike Fire.
On behalf of the Oregon dairy community, we’re thankful for you! When you buydelicious dairy products, you support local dairy families, communities and businesses throughout the state. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!
Like so many people throughout our state, the dairy community has been struggling with the impacts of wildfires. The widespread nature of the fires has impacted farms in many parts of the state including the coast, the Willamette Valley and southern Oregon.
While our farmers and animals are currently safe, more than 10% of dairies in Oregon have been under some level of evacuation warning and 100% have been impacted by smoke and unhealthy or hazardous air quality conditions. And with such large fires and widespread impacts, dairy farmers are certainly not alone.
With more than 40,000 Oregonians evacuated, many have lost their homes and businesses, some have even lost their lives, and others remain missing. It is an historically bad wildfire season in a year that has already posed its fair share of challenges. But here are some ways that you can help make a difference:
American Red Crossis helping evacuees and providing shelter and resources. They accept donations on their website, by calling 800-RED CROSS or you can text the word WILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also volunteer to support local relief efforts.
Wildfire Relief Fund is a disaster relief fund created by Oregon Business & Industry, the Oregon Business Council and the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce to support Oregonians who have been displaced.