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Vote for standouts in Portland food scene

Ecotrust’s seventh annual Local Hero Awards is once again asking the public to vote for their favorite food and beverage entrepreneurs.

Each of the four nominees in six categories are being recognized for the way they’re transforming the face of food with their sourcing of ingredients, care for animals and land, treatment of workers, and engagement with their communities.

There are four nominees in each category — farm, restaurant, food artisan, beverage artisan, nonprofit/educator, and retailer — who were the top standouts in nominations by the public.

To vote, visit www.ecotrust.org/project/local-hero-awards/.

The winners will be announced June 12 at Ecotrust’s summer barbecue, with a keynote on social enterprise by Nell Newman of Newman’s Own Organics.

Last year 2,300 people cast their votes, and 250 people attended the Local Hero Awards ceremony.

Here are the 2014 nominees:

Retailers

• Pastaworks, a European-style market around since 1983, sells house-made fresh pastas and sauces, as well as an array of specialty products from the region and beyond that has set a high bar for quality.

• Linnton Feed & Seed has been a vital source of farm and animal supply for area farmers and gardeners since 1946. In 1997, owner Dan Cadmus shifted the store from a chemical-heavy, conventional outpost to one with a vision for sustainability, stocking the shelves with organic and high-quality products that would benefit both farmers and animals in the long run.

• Tails & Trotters sees pork production as a careful craft. Inspired by the nut-finished pigs of Spain, T&T pigs are fattened on a diet of Pacific Northwest hazelnuts, giving the end product a unique local flavor.

• Cherry Sprout Produce is a small food market that works to provide affordable, healthy foods and a community space to an evolving North Portland neighborhood.

Farm

• Wild Garden Seed owner Frank Morton started saving his own seeds as a salad farmer. He later started Wild Garden Seed, which catalogs and sells an extensive list of organic seeds. Morton also works for the rights of organic growers, pushing back against forces that threaten the integrity of their crops and livelihood.

• Gales Meadow Farm owners Anne and Rene’ Berblinger bought their farm in 1991 and imagined they’d work as small-scale hobby farmers. But farming developed into a serious passion, driven by a desire to take care of the land and pass on the wisdom of organic farming.

• Our Table Cooperative is a farm operating uniquely through a co-op model, offering membership to its 12 workers on the farm, other regional producers, and customers. It uses organic and biodynamic approaches and sees the farm as a single, whole organism.

• Sun Gold Farm is a family farm that successfully transitioned away from conventional dairy and began selling its produce at farmers markets and through a CSA.

Restaurant/Chef

• Cha! Cha! Cha! and Cha Taqueria are the restaurants of Javier Hurtado, who has built his farm-to-table supply chain and works to support a variety of environmental causes.

• Higgins owner Greg Higgins is a veteran chef and pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, with 20 years serving fresh, local and seasonal fare at Higgins restaurant in downtown Portland.

• The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen is an urban farm, nomadic supper club and catering company that provides produce to area restaurants and hosts meals using produce from within two miles of the farm.

• Xico specializes in regional Mexican cuisine with locally sourced Portland produce and fresh tortillas made from non-GMO, house-ground corn, all contained in an energy-efficient Passive House building.

Food Artisan

• Fishpeople founders Duncan Berry and Kipp Baratoff have created a shelf-stable product that uses local seafood and supports rural coastal communities.

• Tabor Bread uses whole grains from local farmers and mills them in house, giving their breads a unique freshness and flavor.

• Salt & Straw works with local artisans and farmers to create unique ice cream flavors and a strong sense of community.

• Sweet Creek Foods is an organic food processor that often works directly with farmers and fishermen to co-pack their raw products, with the goal of being an integral part of a vibrant regional food system.

Beverage Artisan

• Nossa Familia Coffee is involved in every part of its supply chain, from purchasing its raw beans from family growers in Brazil, to sustainable roasting in Portland and selling coffee at its Espresso Bar.

• Sokol Blosser Winery produces wines from organically grown grapes and works to embed sustainable practices in every part of its family

business.

• Starvation Alley Farms has the first organic-certified cranberry farm in Washington and produces a pure, organic, unsweetened cranberry juice.

• Teutonic Wine Company shook up the Willamette Valley region with terroir-true wines inspired by Germany.

Nonprofit & Educator

• Shannon Stember is assistant director of Nutrition Services at Portland Public Schools and has been a nutrition education and wellness champion for students for nearly two decades.

• Hacienda CDC’s Micro Mercantes Incubator works to ease the barriers to economic opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs who want to break into the food business through its Micro Mercantes micro-enterprise incubator program and its newest venture, the Portland Mercado.

• Glen Andresen is a natural gardening educator and beekeeper currently working on his Bridgetown Bees project, which is trying to breed a hardy queen that can withstand Portland winters.

• The Portland Fruit Tree Project works to increase equitable access to healthful food and strengthen communities by empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of city-grown produce.