Commissions team with chefs to promote Oregon crops...
The following article is a reprint of an article from the Capital Press
For the Capital Press
Published:July 13, 2015 2:23PM

Pro Chefs of Oregon works in tandem with commodity commissions each summer to sponsor the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table at the Bite of Oregon, which will be Aug. 7-9.

Pro Chefs of Oregon’s annual picnic and barbecue competition this year featured a twist: Not the lemon peel sort. Instead of being held in a Portland area park, this year, for the first time, it was held on an Oregon farm and sponsored by Oregon agricultural commissions.

“We just wanted to say thank you to them for all of the hard work they’ve done at the Bite of Oregon the last several years,” said Bryan Ostlund, administrator of the Oregon Blueberry Commission, one of four commodity commissions to sponsor the event. “They just bust their hump. They work hard at that thing.”

Pro Chefs of Oregon works in tandem with commodity commissions each summer to sponsor the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table at the Bite of Oregon.

At this year’s Bite, scheduled for Aug. 7-9 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, several commodity commissions will be working with the chefs, including the Oregon Blackberry and Raspberry Commission, the Oregon Sweet Cherry Commission, Oregon seafood commissions and the four commissions that sponsored the annual picnic: the Oregon Dairy Products Commission, the Oregon Beef Council, the Oregon Potato Commission and the Oregon Blueberry Commission.

“I’ve been working with the chefs at the Bite of Oregon for the last several years,” Ostlund said, “and I’ve been completely impressed with how much work they do on our behalf. They are in there year in and year out volunteering their time to put a public face to Oregon agriculture.

“We absolutely appreciate what they do,” he said. “So we decided to do something special.”

Gingerich Farms in Canby hosted the picnic, held July 11, while the Oregon Beef Council supplied beef. Cheeses were provided by the Oregon Dairy Products Commission and potatoes and blueberries were provided by their respective commissions.

Aaron Guerra, barbecue competition and picnic chair for Pro Chefs of Oregon, said the sponsorship was “a welcomed boost to make this event bigger and better than it ever has been.

“I was very pleased to see them come through like that, but not necessarily surprised,” Guerra said. “The commissions have always stepped up.”

He characterized commission involvement in the picnic as a “win-win.”

“It is an opportunity for us to highlight the commissions and the wonderful products that they provide,” Guerra said. “And for them, it was a thank you for all that the chefs have done at the Bite to promote their products.

“We work very hard on the Bite, and it is a labor of love and anytime that we can help promote each other and see the appreciation and satisfaction (of participants), it is a win-win,” he said.

Asked if he believes commissions are getting good bang for their buck at the Bite, he said: “Absolutely.”

“We have chefs and purveyors who have become more aware of the variety and depth of Oregon products, as well as people in the general public who may not think about where their food comes from and all that goes into providing it on a daily basis,” Guerra said.

“I think it is a multi-layered benefit that helps the general public, the chefs and purveyors all see what the commissions provide and how they provide it,” he said.