Oregon Growers & Shippers Press

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The New York Times | 2007

The New York Times July 31, 2007


PB&J; Upgrade: Breaking Out the Good Stuff

Stick to your old-fashioned roots and the market will eventually wake up. Take the Koeze Company's Cream-Nut peanut butter, for example. It has been made in Grand Rapids, Mich., from dark-roasted Virginia peanuts since 1925. Coarsely ground in small batches and lightly seasoned with sea salt, it is neither creamy nor chunky but totally irresistible.

Jeff Koeze (pronounced COO-zee ) runs the company, and is the fourth generation of his family to do so. He uses vintage slow-grinding machines to produce exceptionally nutty-tasting peanut butter, which has been sold nationally for only the past year or so. When freshly made, it is well emulsified into a creamy consistency. The oil eventually floats to the top and has to be stirred back in. This does not affect quality, only convenience.

Fairway and Barney Greengrass stores have new shipments. Zabar's also sells it, as do Marlow & Sons and Stinky Bklyn in Brooklyn. A list of other stores is at creamnut.com. A 17-ounce jar is about $6.

And to go with your peanut butter? Jelly, of course. These days, many preserves are touted as being "all fruit" with "no added sugar." All that means is that syrupy grape or apple concentrates are used as sweeteners, with minimal reduction in calories. Oregon Growers and Shippers, which sells a line of preserves that use seasonal fruit grown on small farms in the Pacific Northwest, bucks this trend. Its preserves are sweetened with cane sugar, tipping the scale in favor of fruit.

A dozen flavors include marionberries, huckleberries, cherries and strawberries. Most are $6.50 for a 12-ounce jar from growersandshippers.com. In New York, Ideal Cheese Shop sells the jars for $5.95. The huckleberry is $8.95 but out of stock until next month.

This article originally appeared in July 31, 2007 issue of The New York Times.

Food & Wine | 2005

Food & Wine June 2005

By Ann Pepi

The Jam Man | Dave Gee

"You'll never see me make orange marmalade," says Dave Gee, cofounder of the 18-month-old Oregon Growers & Shippers. Not that this former chef has anything against citrus; rather, Gee is committed to using Pacific Northwest fruit in his excellent preserves. That means apples and Bing and Lapin cherries from the Hood River area and marionberries from the Willamette Valley. Gee buys from growers who handpick their fruit at the peak of ripeness, so he doesn't need to add a huge amount of sugar. As a result, his apple butter (with thyme), apple-fennel chutney and pear-hazelnut fruit spread taste more fruity than sweet. Gee also supports local artists; a vivid pastoral by painter Mark Nilsson appears on the preserves' labels.

This article originally appeared in June, 2005 issue of Food & Wine.

The Capital Press | 2005

The Capital Press January 26, 2005

By JAN JACKSON Freelance Writer

Fresh fruit inspired sweet specialties

HOOD RIVER, Ore. David Gee, co-founder of Oregon Growers & Shippers, is a biology and anthropology major from New Haven, Conn., who, after spending several summers wind-surfing in Hood River, couldn't get the Northwest out of his mind.

He first visited in 1991 as a college student on summer break. He came to stay in 1999.

In 2003 he founded Oregon Growers & Shippers and started making, marketing and distributing high-end preserves and fruit spreads. Helping to connect the urban marketplace to agriculture, Gee capitalizes on the fact that he buys fresh fruit directly from local growers.

"It's all about quality, and I need the best possible fruit to start with," Gee said of his Oregon Growers & Shippers venture. "I worked my way through college cooking in restaurants that believed that the best food is found growing fresh in our own back yards, and that's my philosophy for Oregon Growers & Shippers."

When Gee moved to Hood River permanently, he had to look to Portland for work because, at the time, jobs in Hood River were scarce.

"I was employed with Provvista Specialty Foods selling and marketing specialty foods to area restaurants and retailers," Gee said. "My love for quality food and my background as a restaurant chef helped me sell the products that Provvista carried.

"I developed my recipes in the 6th Street Bistro's kitchen in Hood River in the morning hours before the restaurant opened for the day. I started with apples, pears and cranberries because it was the season to get them fresh, and by spring and summer I added cherries and berries."

Looking ahead to national distribution, Gee started right off using a co-packer to process his jams.

"Because my ambition is to take these products nationwide, I knew there was no need to try to start cooking it in any back room," Gee said. "Aside from actually making the products, I do as much of the work myself as I can to keep production costs low.

"I give many tastings at farmers' markets and specialty stores in the Portland and Seattle areas because if I can get people to taste it, they tend to buy."

Craig McCurdy, one of the major Hood River orchardists from whom Gee buys fruit, thinks that though Gee is starting small, he likes the job he is doing in promoting Hood River specifically and agriculture in general.

"Dave has the ability, the backing and the cumulative experience to make it work," McCurdy said. "My wife and I took over our family's orchards 11 years ago, and we've seen others think about doing what Oregon Growers & Shippers is doing, but Dave is actually doing it. If I didn't think supporting him had a future, I wouldn't be working with him."

Choosing to work with growers who practice sustainable agriculture, Gee has a clear plan of action for his company.

"I am satisfied with six of my jam recipes, but I'm still fine-tuning the other three," Gee said. "We are also working on adding a line of dried fruit, mushrooms and savory products, but I will probably cap the preserve line at 12 varieties.

"I can't make the fruit taste better, but I can arrive at the perfect balance of ingredients to keep the subtle flavors alive. I just use the best ingredients available and try not to screw them up."

For more information about Oregon Growers and Shippers, contact David Gee at P.O. Box 207, Hood River, OR 97031, phone at (541) 386-5600, or visit www.growersandshippers.com.

The Oregonian | 2004

The Oregonian July 4, 2004

Market Basket
By Cheri Swoboda

Oregon Growers and Shippers Fruit Spreads, Butter and Chutneys

There's something for everyone in this delicious assortment of preserves. Serve with pancakes, waffles or crackers, or as condiments. We enjoyed Cranberry Pear Fruit Spread made with Oregon-grown fruit and a variety of spices. Not too Sweet Apple Butter has a homemade flavor with just the right spice combination. Other varieties include Pear and Hazelnut Fruit Spread, Vanilla Pear Butter, Apple Fennel Chutney, and Spiced Cider Spread. About $5.50 to $6 for a 12-ounce jar at New Seasons, Strohecker's and Wizer's in the Portland area; Panzanella Bakery and The Gift House in Hood River; Chauteau Lin in Ashland; and Newport Avenue Market in Bend.

The Oregonian | 2004

Portland Monthly | 2004

Portland Monthly November 2004

Happy as a Jam

Devoted friends of the local farmer, Hood River-based Oregon Growers and Shippers recently launched a tasty line of preserves. Homemade from hand-peeled fruits, the jams come in such unique flavors as apple fennel chutney, vanilla pear, hazelnut and pear, and more. $6 Available at New Seasons Market, Pastaworks, Strohecker's and other locations.

Portland Monthly | 2004

Northwest Palate Magazine | 2004

Northwest Palate Magazine June/ July 2004

More sweet news: a brand new company in Oregon's Hood River has rolled out a line of six delicious and versatile fruit butters and chutneys. The company is called Oregon Growers and Shippers, and the "growers" in the name are Wells and Son Orchards in Hood River and Kinsey Orchard in Mosier. Their fruity Apple Fennel Chutney is terrific with roast chicken, and the Vanilla Pear Butter is great with cream cheese on an English muffin. Find these products at New Seasons Markets in Portland, Kneadful Things in Friday Harbor, WA and other good grocery stores.

Northwest Palate Magazine | 2004

Hood River News | 2004

Hood River News December 18, 2004

By Janet Cook, News staff writer

Oregon Growers and Shippers spreads more local flavors

Looking for that last-minute gift with a local flavor? Oregon Growers and Shippers has just what Santa ordered.

Oregon Growers and Shippers is a Hood River company that creates fruit spreads, chutneys and butters made from locally grown products. The company launched last spring with six preserves. Now there are nine products, with more in development.

The names alone are apt make your mouth water: Vanilla Pear Butter, Spiced Cider Spread, Apple Fennel Chutney. For wine-lovers, there's even Strawberry Pinot Noir Fruit Spread and Cherry Zinfandel Fruit Spread.

"It's important to us, and our business strategy, that we work to showcase the best of local food and resources," said cofounder Dave Gee. "We're trying to connect the food source with the marketplace." Oregon Growers & Shippers uses fruit from local growers, including Wells Orchards, McCurdy Farms and Kinsey Orchards in Mosier.

Oregon Growers & Shippers products are sold in a variety of stores throughout the Northwest, as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the East Coast. For the holidays, Oregon Growers & Shippers is creating special gift boxes of spreads, which can be purchased at Panzenella Bakery, The Gift House, Rasmussen Farms and Rosauers. They are also available online at www.growersandshippers.com.

Hood River News | 2004

Oregon Shipper & Growers