sustainability

Acorns, More Than Just Squirrel Snacks - For NPR

I first met wild food expert John Kallas through a friend several years ago.  That is how I found myself up at 6am on a Saturday morning at the Oregon coast, digging for steamer clams. John has a year-long calendar of events that pit you against nature and have you come out the well-fed victor. Classes with titles like, "Wild Foods From Dirt to Plate," "Sea Vegetables of the Pacific Coast," and most recently, "Acorn Pudding."   

So with adventures like that, you can understand why I've been dying to do a story on him. Now just needed to find a wordsmith and well, a publication. Ah, technicalities. Luckily the plucky Deena Prichep was able to supply both and got National Public Radio's The Salt to come along for the ride. We spent the day watching, shooting and interviewing as John took a group of folks from Acorns to Pudding. Apparently this involves lots of grinding, lots of leaching and lots of sugar.  The result was warm, sweet, and porridge-like. 

Those squirrels had no idea.

Pigs N' a Blanket - 1859 Magazine - In Print

Perfect weather, perfect subjects, not so well-behaved piglets.  Well, two out of three ain't bad. We spent the day at Worden Hill Farm with the uber photogenic Ortloff Family, Susan and Wolfgang, and their three bewitching daughters; Kate, Hadley and Mia for the cover of 1859 Magazine.  They bought the land from Susan's parents back in 2007 and left an urban lifestyle in Germany for mud-splattered days in Dundee, OR.  We were wooed by the multitude of pig sizes, varying from holdable to rideable.  We were also wooed by the family, who shared some of their cured pork and promised to invite us to their next bonfire.  After a day of mucking around, dodging porkers who thought our feet looked like apples (note to self: do not wear red boots when photographing pigs) Susan waved good-bye and said cheerfully, "You don't think you smell, but you do."

Oregon Business Magazine - Eleek - Designing Light

Pulled out all of the stops and all of the speed lights (well, all four) to light a portrait of Eleek co-owner Sattie Clark for Oregon Business Magazine.Sattie was gracious and fun and Eleek is a pretty amazing green company and is considered a pioneer in the design and manufacture of energy-efficient lighting.  While I was there the place was humming as they worked on a huge project to recreate lighting fixtures for Seattle’s 1906 King Street train station, based solely on historic photos. The monumental fixtures differ from the originals only in their durability and that LEDs are replacing gaslight.  Eric Kaster, her hubby and co-owner took a brief moment from production to pose for a few pics as well.

Plus no toxic substances are used in manufacturing, and local scrap metal and other recycled materials are first choices, as well as products that come from sustainable businesses and from within a 50-mile radius, in order to help reduce their carbon footprint.  I also found out that Eleek hires from the neighborhood, pays full benefits, offers flexible scheduling and pays bonuses to employees who walk, bike or bus to work.

All things that add up to an amazingly cool and progressive Portland business.  Oh, and did I mention that Sattie and Eric met while both performing at Berbati's Pan some years ago?  Yep, I know.  It's like the perfect Portland love story.

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