Snail by Snail: Evan Gregoire

Portland Seedhouse

The  love and enthusiasm Evan has for seeds is best characterized by an event he hosted last year dedicated to heirloom tomatoes. Imagine a restaurant dining room beaming with tomatoes in late summer. Some varieties prepared as a paste, others dried, others made into sauce. The colors range from pale yellow to rich orange to deep reds. And the names from Corleone to the well loved San Marzano. The task ahead: taste and rate every which one. It was a tomato lovers dream place (see pic below)! And the culmination of a vision inspired by his time as a Terra Madre delegate.

Evan is a young farmer with a big vision: to save seeds in order to create an insurance policy against disease and famine and as a way to preserve a rich cultural heritage. This effort now takes shape as the Portland Seedhouse; a seed cooperative working to facilitate and encourage the saving of open pollinated seeds.

Listen in to hear:

  • His closed system method of farming
  • His favorite part about Terra Madre
  • Why biodiversity matters

And we want to see what you’re planting in your garden for a chance to win a set of Portland Seedhouse seeds!

Giveaway details:

Between May 18th and May 30th:

1. Tweet a photo planting your spring garden, getting new seeds, or visiting your favorite seed bank with the hashtag #snailbysnail

2. Then, spread the word:

{Tweet it} Listen to @slowfoodpdx #snailbysnail podcast and join the giveaway for free seeds from Portland Seedhouse

We’ll announce 2 winners on May 31st! (Keep an eye on Twitter for a direct message from us)

To follow Evan, you can see him on Instagram. His tomato starts are available exclusively at Pizza Jerk and Garden Fever.


PS: To access the seed saving guide mentioned in the podcast, head over here.

Snail by Snail: Gitta Grether-Sweeney

As you can imagine, the board of Slow Food Portland has strong opinions when it comes to food. And as passionate as we all are, we were in a bit of a standstill when it came to next steps. What needs our attention? How does Slow Food Portland fit into the greater non profit scene in Portland? After many meetings, reflective exercises and a hard look, we came to the conclusion that this year would focus on education.

Which brought us to the doorstep of Gitta Grether-Sweeney, the director of nutrition services for Portland Public Schools. She walked us through school lunch, budget, and where she needed help. By January, a handful of volunteers set out to give samples of parsnips at a few elementary schools. The mission was simple: to have a few extra people approaching kids to invite/coax/rally them to taste the new veggie so that they might be more willing to pick that item in the lunch line.

This is a new endeavor, but one we hope to see grow and expand across more schools! If childhood nutrition inspires you, we’ll hope you’ll join us for sampling during lunchtime. To get on the volunteer list, please fill out this form.

This month’s episode dives right into school lunch! Listen in to learn:

  • What Gitta Grether-Sweeney thought would never see happen during her career, but did
  • How Portland Public Schools feeds kids with $3.15 for lunch. With about $1.48 spent on food
  • Why 100% whole grain might not always be achievable

Snail by Snail: Oregon Olive Mill

©Evrim Icoz Photography

In Dayton, Oregon a massive delicious experiment is going on. The Oregon Olive Mill has been growing olives in the Pacific Northwest’s cool climate since 2008. In that time, there have been freezes and thousands of trees dying. Nonetheless, they ventured on and have been producing excellent olive oil and creating a burgeoning Northwest olive oil culture.

Joined by Paul Durant, owner and miller at the Oregon Olive Mill, and Libby Clow, the olive oil program ambassador, listen in to hear:

  • About Slow Food University and Libby’s concentration on olive oil, wine, cheese, and cured meats (yum!)
  • How and why olive oil keeps them honest
  • And what the freeze of 2013 taught them about the cultivation of cool climate olives


©Evrim Icoz Photography

To learn more about the mill and plan a tasting, visit their website by clicking here.

PS: If you’re wondering what the occasional banging is that comes into the background on the track, it’s a construction team fixing a water leak outside our door on the day we recorded (much to our surprise).

Snail by Snail Podcast: Chef Kusuma Rao

Chef Kusuma Rao

To eat Chef Kusuma Rao’s food is to be delighted totally and completely. Her dishes are incredibly complex and nuanced, but her plates never lose touch with the basic element that food is a vehicle for nourishment and connection.

In speaking with her, I felt such privilege to get a glimpse into her talent and the process that accompanies the development of each dish. Listen in to learn:

  • why she doesn’t shy away from the term “fusion”
  • why she’s deliberately chosen to do pop-ups as opposed to establishing a brick and mortar restaurant
  • her dream to use food as a way to feed non-profit organizations and foster community

To find out more about Chef Kusuma Rao and see her beautiful food and breads follow her on Instagram @ruchikala or visit her website.

Share the ideas!

“It’s good to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and to listen to the food as much as possible ” {Tweet it!}

“Good, clean fair gives a reason to go one direction over the other. Guides the true story of what we’re doing on all levels.” {Tweet it!}

We want to hear from you! 

Once you’ve had a chance to listen, we’d love to know…

What’s your favorite food story? Is there a certain dish that has a significant role in your life?

Happy listening and eating!