From purple carrots to black tomatoes, plant breeders and seed companies showcased their upcoming new varieties to farmers and chefs at yesterday’s first Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) Variety Showcase in Portland, Oregon. CBN’s Lane Selman envisioned an event that would bring together eaters, growers, and plant breeders to form “community breeding”. The showcase did just that by including over 100 breeders, seed companies, farmers, and chefs in an evening of collaborative discussions and variety tastings.
OSA researchers Micaela Colley and Laurie McKenzie conducted a taste test of orange, purple, and yellow carrots from the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project. In addition, participants dined on carrot cake made from ‘Nash’s Best’ carrots and pickled carrots prepared by chef Joseph from Portland’s Ava Gene’s.
OSA also shared participatory farmer-bred varieties from Nash’s Organic Produce for tasting. Showcase participants sampled flavorful red and green curly kale and a white romanesco cauliflower that Nash originally received from farmer-breeder outside of Turin, Italy.
Imaginations and new relationships built throughout the event as the food community savored the best of the new breeds. The breeder community included many friends and colleagues of OSA along with their crops, including Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed presenting ‘Stocky Red Roaster’ peppers; Andrew Still and Sarah Kleeger of Adaptive Seeds conducting a taste test of storage onions; Brian and Crystine Campbell of Uprising Seeds sharing ‘Pokey Joe’ cilantro and ‘Shiraz’ beets; Alex Stone of Oregon State University sharing several wondrous incarnations of squash; Michael Mazourek of Cornell University pleased the crowed with ‘Habanada’ pepper spiced whiskey; and Jim Myers of Oregon State University who partnered with a local chef to serve ‘Indigo Rose’ tomato bloody Mary’s.