Posts Categorized: News

World Ocean’s Day and Our Conversation with The Nature Conservancy’s Associate Director for the Coast and Marine

Today we celebrate our world’s oceans. That seems like the perfect day to celebrate an Oregon Coast treasure – Cascade Head Preserve. The nature preserve and surrounding national forest at Cascade Head are so special they have won recognition as a National Scenic Research Area and a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. The waters off the coast here are also protected as one of Oregon’s five marine reserves. Pretty rad right? Thanks to the fine folks at The Nature Conservancy, such as Dick Vanderschaaf, this stunning site will be around to safely enjoy for decades to come. Continue reading for information from our Pinkies Down Podcast interview with The Nature Conservancy’s Associate Director of the Coast and Marine Program – Dick Vanderschaaf.

Welcome Dick, can you tell us about your history with The Nature Conservancy?

DV- Hi, I’ve been here with The Nature Conservancy for many moons, and really enjoy my work. I do all sorts of fun things here at the coast, primarily working on conservation, no surprise. In the salty world, primarily in the ocean, but also somewhat in the estuaries as well—all here on our diverse coastline.

Cascade Head

Cascade Head Viewpoint1©Devan King/TNC

PDP- Well, thank you for everything you do. We appreciate it. As a lot of my fellow Oregonians and folks from outside of Oregon love and enjoy spending time at the coast, we want to keep it as beautiful as ever. We appreciate you and everything you folks do.

To start us off, we’re going to talk about marine protected areas today. Can you tell us what is a marine protected area?

DV- Sure, a marine protected area is really an area just as it sounds: a designated site that’s typically in the ocean, usually it abuts to land, but it doesn’t have to. It could be out there in the open ocean. It protects all sorts of the resources that are contained within it. The fish, the bottom habitat, the seaweeds that are maybe there. All these different things, in different ways. And there’s all different kinds of marine protected areas. Some prevent all sorts of extraction fishing and any kind of development. These are usually called a marine reserve, that’s the strongest kind of protection that we have available. Whereas other ones have other sorts of limitations on certain kinds of fishing. Potentially they may that there’ll be no ocean development of different kinds.

Nowadays we’re seeing a lot of interest in the ocean for energy development, these sorts of things. People created offshore wind development on the East Coast, and it’s being looked at here in the West Coast of the US as well. A marine protected area could be designated to say ‘no energy development’ as well.

Cascade Head

Cascade Head Viewpoint2©Devan King/TNC

PDP- Thank you for shedding a little light on that. With a better understanding of marine protected areas, diving deeper into a more specific spot: Cascade Head. Could you speak on the history in this story on that location?

DV- Yeah sure. Cascade Head, as you probably know, is a well-known big headland on the Oregon coast right on the Central Coast. The headland itself was purchased by The Nature Conservancy way back in 1966. We protected this big grassy prominent headland that overlooks the Salmon River. It’s been a Nature Conservancy preserve for all these years now. The one thing that we always have known as we went up hiking there and protecting this unique grassland habitat right there at the coast, is that we were not protecting the ocean—and we knew we needed to. We weren’t the only people coming to realize that ocean protection was something that needed to be pursued much more strongly here in Oregon.

In the early 2000s, the governor directed the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council, a citizen group who advises the governor, to come up with a process to protect special areas along the Oregon coast in the Oregon marine environment. Eventually what happened was, five areas were up for proposal for designation, of which offshore of Cascade Head was one of them. Then, there was a citizen panel that evaluated the site of Cascade Head. This took a year, and of course there’s lots of contentions about these sorts of things. But that finally wound its way through the process and recommendation was made to the Oregon legislature.

Then in 2012 there were five sites that were designated on the Oregon coast and Cascade Head was one of them. Cascade Head itself was already marine reserve. So again, that’s the strongest kind of protection and prevents any sorts of extractions. You can’t take any fish from this site, you can’t take any seaweed, you can’t do any development at the site—these sorts of things. Then, surrounding the marine reserve there are a series of three protected areas. There is one on the north side, there is one to the west side,  farther out in the ocean, and then there is one of the south side. These areas allow different sorts of “take” if you will. They allow sustainable fishing at some level. But they still prevent any kind of bought development whether it’s going to be for renewable energy or whatever the case may be. So, they’re still highly protected.

At Cascade Head, we have not only the land-based protected area, which is The Nature Conservancy preserve, but we also have the ocean-based protected area. And in the 1970s, the United Nations initiated and set aside the land-based area as the Cascade Head biosphere reserve, which is the international designation. So, Cascade Head really has both the land and the water protection going for it now. It’s just a huge complete package, which is really cool.

Cascade Head

Cascade Head Viewpoint3©Devan King/TNC

PDP- What a special place. But wow, that’s really quite a long period of time to get established?

DV- Yeah, it took a long time. There are a lot of meetings. A lot of contention about these things because they are setting cited areas that are excluding some traditional uses. It took a lot of meeting people to make agreements and compromises going forward. Cascade Head again, the offshore area is very well known as having the largest offshore reef: Siletz Reef, along the Oregon coast. It has some highly sustained fisheries as well. The marine reserve excludes any kind of fishing. But at the south end and the north end the marine protected areas that bracket the reserve do allow hook and line fisheries. That is again sustainable, and Oregon has well-regulated fisheries in general. These areas will be protected for a long time in a good way.

PDP- Fascinating. I know some of the fishing families have been around forever, some of those individuals and families being able to continue to earn a living and continue what they do is important. As general visitors such as myself or other folks that want to go visit Cascade Head, or other parts of the Oregon coast. How can we, as a collective, just be more mindful? What are some things that would be recommended?

DV- One thing to remember is there are five marine reserves. I certainly encourage people to go and visit these sites. They’re really interesting sites, each one is a little bit different. They span from the South coast at Redfish Rocks near Port Orford. It is an incredibly cool site; it is much different than the others. You can enjoy the beach, or you can get out into the water. Whether you’re a surfer or swimmer or paddler there’s ways to get into the water there.

I certainly encourage people to visit these five sites and enjoy them. To think of them kind of like a National Park. You go to National Park, and you may not be able to get to all of the park necessarily, but just the feeling of being at these sites is really a special feeling. The same thing holds true for the Oregon marine reserves, and the marine protected areas here on our coast.

A lot of people come to me and say “Well, how can I just go there and enjoy these sites? The Oregon ocean is so cold, what if I’m not a surfer with a strong wetsuit?” I say, “Just take your shoes off, wade down to the water, and you’re in the marine reserve! Right at that instant when your toes are down there just starting to numb off!”

You can certainly go and enjoy these sites on the North Coast. Many people enjoy the Cape Falcon reserve, they go to Oswald West State Park, which is of course hugely popular park here on the North Coast. It’s a place that many people visit. There’s over a million visitors a year there so these sites are accessible. They’re all special and I encourage people to go there and enjoy them in various ways. You can go hiking, you’re overlooking the ocean. You can be in the ocean if you have the wherewithal. Just go and enjoy them, that’s the most important thing to do.

PDP- I love it. A few of these places I hold near and dear. So, I sure enjoy hearing the zeal. Are there ways that we can continue to educate ourselves or help folks like yourself in The Nature Conservancy? Getting involved seems to be a good way to put the best foot forward.

DV- I think if you are traveling, if you’re local, you can certainly visit these sites and you can participate in various things here. You can maybe help with the monitoring program in one way or another. You can go to a site and maybe help with a regular beach cleanup. But if you’re not local you can certainly—with the wonders of digital media—keep up on these sites. Some places have videos you can watch, or you can certainly read through the agency websites that are tracking these things. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is the manager for the great reserves here in Oregon and they have a great website. For some places they have live-stream videos going on so there’s a lot of ways to keep up.

Finally, I certainly encourage you to support The Nature Conservancy. Our organization, and many other organizations as well, are looking at supporting and working hard at protecting the ocean. The ocean is obviously hugely important to us as people; it’s hugely important to our livelihoods; it has amazing cultural significance that we’re just beginning to better understand. I think we’re going to see in the future some marine protected areas come forward that are strictly being set aside for cultural reasons. Which is really neat to see this newly added diversity of importance for these sites, not just protecting biological diversity. But certainly, I encourage people to support organizations that are trying to do the right thing for the ocean. And to stand up for them when it comes to talking to your representatives. One way or the other, say “Hey, these places are important to us. We need the ocean, and we want you to do everything you can for it.”

PDP- That’s right. Give them a holler. Well, thank you. We appreciate it a lot. Sincerely we really do. Everybody here at Union, myself obviously. I don’t know what I’d do without the Oregon coast. It is definitely a place to go find balance. The least we can do is our best to protect it and keep it the beautiful place that it is.

Celebrating Spring at Tom McCall Preserve

Tom McCall Preserve Tom McCall Preserve

In addition to their work to fight climate change, improve the health of our forests, restore habitat at the coast, The Nature Conservancy helps to protect millions of acres of land across the world. In fact, in Oregon alone, they have protected more than 530,000 acres. One of these special places is Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena

Located just east of Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge, the Preserve bridges the wet west side of the Cascades with the drier grass prairies of the east, creating a unique landscape with many rare and sensitive plants. Each April and May the preserve is full of bright native flowers. The flowers that are the most prevalent at the Preserve are Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Lupine. Native plant species help preserve the planet’s biodiversity and are often better able to support the local environment and wildlife than ones that are introduced.

Red Tail Hawk

The Preserve is a great example of the beauty and diversity the earth offers when it is protected. The work The Nature Conservancy does help to restore and protect these 231 acres allows birds and other species to thrive. Among the many native flowers, we saw a few red tail hawks during our visit.

Underwood Wine and The Nature Conservancy

We recommend making a trip out there within the next week or so as the peak blooming season is coming to an end. Please stay on marked trails to protect the sensitive species that call it home. Pack your camera, flower identification book, and your favorite beverage.

Learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect #NatureNow.

Tom McCall Preserve

As always, pack it in, pack it out, stay on the trails, and please don’t pick any of the flowers.

More information on the Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena, including directions, highlights, and other resources, is available here.

Above Photo: Rowena Crest ©Gary Grossman/TNC Photo Contest 2019
All Other Photos: ©Union Wine Company

Union Tastes: Exploring Diversity in Wine

They come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes, with an endless amount of potential early in their life, later coalescing to become something beautiful and complex. We are talking about the amazing wine grape of course. However, our community within the world of wine is just as varied and multifaceted. In hopes of sharing this abundant bouquet of culture, we invite you to our Diversity in Wine tastings, where we feature world class wines brought to you from our fellow winemakers and growers in the BIPOC community.

BIPOC Wine Tasting

A few months back we rounded up a few of our favorite wines and made some at-home tasting kits for our staff. Each staff member picked up their wines and tasted from the comfort and safety of their homes. The fantastic wines we enjoyed are from the following wineries:

Chosen Family

Chosen Family “makes wines that capture a rare moment in time.” Founded by Channing Frye, Chase Renton, and Jacob Grey as a way to bring their passion for wine and for making the most of life to their friends, family, and all of our dinner tables.

A thoughtful approach to every aspect of the winemaking process is showcased in their wines, which tend to sell out fast so if you have the opportunity to score a bottle, do it!

Chosen Family 2019 Chardonnay – Our Notes: 

Great acidity, balance of fruit and mild oak. Nice layers. Flavor lingers on your pallet and is very enjoyable. Juicy, light.

Aroma: mineral, stone, brioche, savory, lychee
Appearance: straw yellow, wheat fields
Taste: biscuits, tart green apple, green fruit, pear
Finish: smooth, buttery, dry

Chosen Family Chardonnay Chosen Family Chardonnay

Abbey Creek

“It’s great that I’m the first but what’s most important is that I’m not the last.”

In 2008, Bertony Faustin became the first recorded black winemaker in Oregon. He works hard to create community and open up the dialogue for a deeper conversation into diversity, equity and inclusion. Named after the creek that runs through the vineyard, Abbey Creek wines have made a name for themselves in the world of Oregon Pinot Noir, as well as offering up a collection of sparkling wines and a 14-month, oak-aged Chardonnay. If you’re in the Portland area, be sure to visit Bertony’s new wine shop and tasting room, The Crick. It is full of good vibes and good tunes.

Abbey Creek 2019 Chardonnay – Our Notes: 

Super interesting for a chardonnay, bright, smells amazing. Balanced oak with fresh flavors. Maybe stainless steel aged? Big mouth feel.

Aroma: lemon rind, grass, salt air, lemongrass
Appearance: pale gold, clear pastel yellow
Taste: sour candies, tart citrus fruits, under-ripe grapefruit, sour patch kids, apple
Finish: smooth and tart

Abbey Creek Chardonnay

McBride Sisters

Robin and Andrea McBride grew up separately in Monterey, CA and Marlborough, New Zealand – two world-renowned wine regions. The newly found sisters joined forces in California in 2005, creating the McBride Sisters Collection. In a male-dominated profession, the McBride sisters used their passion to grow the largest black owned wine company in the United States, with a strong focus on inclusivity and sustainability. “Since 2005, The McBride Sisters’ mission has become clear — to transform the industry, lead by example, and cultivate community, one delicious glass of wine at a time.”

Black Girl Magic Rosé 2019 – Our Notes: 

Fruit forward with an easy finish. Perfect for a beach day. Lovely color.

Aroma: lily, apricot, floral, citrus, strawberry
Appearance: watermelon pink
Taste: black pepper, grass?, strawberry , raspberry, meyer lemon
Finish: slightly bitter, easy

Black Girl Magic Rose

Black Girl Magic Rosé

Charles Wine Company

Charles Wine Company was created in 2012 and is a small, boutique style family establishment sourcing grapes from the Sierra foothills in the Lodi Appellation of California. A strong focus on high-quality varietals and thoughtful winemaking creates an authentic offering of wines with a personal feel.

Paul Charles Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – Our Notes: 

Young, could use a few more years in the bottle. Big, bold, and beautiful. Nice acidity and savory.

Aroma: cranberry, sage, currant, black cherry, spice
Appearance: brick red, deep red
Taste: charcoal, strawberry, cedar, slightly sweet and jammy, cassis
Finish: smooth, low tannin for a cab

Paul Charles Wine

Maison Noir

Maison Noir is a lifestyle brand, producing a line of T-Shirts and a wide variety of Oregon wines including distinctive Pinot Noir’s, a bright Chardonnay and a Red Blend with a punch. Award-winning Sommelier, André Hueston Mack, founded Maison Noir in 2001, sourcing grapes predominately from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. André approaches winemaking a little differently and focuses on creating a wine that “isn’t afraid to have a good time.”

OPP 2019 Pinot Noir – Our Notes: 

Traditional tasting OR pinot noir but with a bit of a bite. Smells delicious. Good on it’s own, even better with food. Very well rounded.

Aroma: leather, white pepper, smoke, current and cherry
Appearance: ruby
Taste: blackberry, red currant, tobacco, clove
Finish: smooth, balanced tannins, structured, dry

Other People's Pinot Other People's Pinot

And, there you have it!

Thanks for “joining” us for this first tasting by the Union family. Watch for more BIPOC-focused notes and tastings coming soon.

Easy Dinners, Amazing Pairings: Fried Chicken and Bubbles

Let’s face it – the holidays are hectic. The days between Thanksgiving through New Year’s can often be described as organized chaos, from shopping, family drama, unexpected guests, and meal planning. Throw in a global pandemic and it’s enough to make anyone a bit crazy. So you may be searching for easy meal ideas and ways to support the local Portland restaurant scene. Enter Big’s Chicken.

Somewhere throughout history, some brilliant guy or gal figured out that fried chicken pairs beautifully with sparkling wine. Pull out a bottle of Underwood Bubbles, place your order online through Big’s Chicken, and voila – a full dinner with drinks are served.

Big’s offers a wide array of options to put an easy and complete dinner on the table. First, let’s talk about the chicken. This post is all about the fried chicken, but Big’s also offers a grilled option. You can get a whole bird, half-bird, or just the wings. There is also a delicious fried chicken sandwich option. Watch out—the wings have a kick!

Now let’s talk sides. We opted for the classics of coleslaw and jo-jo potatoes, as well as the black-eyed pea salad (perfect for good luck on New Year’s Day). Word on the street is the fried Mac N Cheese Bites are to-die-for if you’ve got room for more.

And don’t forget the sauce! There is a variety of options in which to dip the crispy jo-jos or to pour over the chicken. Shown here are the Fresno Sauce (also used to marinate the wings) and the White Gold Vinaigrette (the same sauce for the slaw). The Fresno sauce will set your mouth on fire, so be sure to have a glass of Bubbles at the ready.  😉

This pairing of fried chicken and sparkling wine is the perfect dinner to keep it classy while keeping it real, and of course to keep those #pinkiesdown. Whether you are looking for an easy meal to ring in the new year, tending to a hangover on New Year’s Day, or just want to take a break from cooking, Big’s Chicken has you covered. Just don’t forget the Bubbles.

 From all of us at Union Wine and Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group – we wish you a safe and physically distanced New Year’s. 2021 can’t come soon enough!

  Photography & Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer) Food by Bigs Chicken

Shop Local PDX

Small businesses are the foundation of our communities, and they can all use some extra love this holiday season.

If you are in the Portland area and looking to shop-small we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spots with links to their COVID shopping guidelines so that you can feel safe and informed as you shop for your loved ones.

Thousands of stores across the country are offering private shopping appointments, curbside pick-up, and seasonal specials so be sure to check out what’s available in your area – we guarantee you’ll feel some extra holiday cheer this year when you shop near. 🎁


Betsy and Iya:

1777 NW 24th Ave

Full of jewelry, clothing, accessories, and more, this NW boutique can easily be a one-stop-shop for all your gifting needs. Independent artists and designers from all over the country have stocked the shelves, and a piece from their signature line of jewelry is sure to be on at least one of your shopping lists.

https://betsyandiya.com/pages/we-are-stronger-than-covid


Pistils Nursery:

Slabtown Location: 2139 NW Raleigh St Suite 108
North Location: 3811 N Mississippi Ave

Whether you are shopping for a seasoned green thumb or some succulents for a newbie plant owner, Pistils is a magical place to find some greenery. Their friendly and knowledgeable team will help you select the right plant vessel for a one-of-a-kind gift.

https://pistilsnursery.com/pages/visit


Powell’s City of Books:

1005 W Burnside St

Books! All of the books! Do we need to say more?! If their inventory is overwhelming that’s ok, a gift card is to the rescue.

https://www.powells.com/locations/powells-city-of-books


The Yo! Store

935 NW 19TH AVE

Quite possibly the most charming selection in town of clothing, toys and books for the little ones in your life…and a few things for mom too.

https://yoportland.com/


Snow Peak

404 NW 23rd Ave

For the outdoor enthusiast who appreciates long-lasting, quality-made goods. Snow Peak is stocked full of gift ideas and will surely bring a whole lot of joy for years to come.

https://snowpeak.com/pages/portland-store


Local Milk Run

Give the gift of good eats this season with a holiday delivery or subscription from Local Milk Run. Partnering with local farmers, butchers, bakers and makers, this will be the freshest gift under the tree.

https://portland.localmilkrun.com/shop

 

Bridge and Burn
1029 SW Harvey Milk St

Bridge and Burn features seasonal collections of clothing designed in Portland and inspired by the PNW. Check all the boxes with high quality, comfortable, and thoughtfully designed pieces.

https://www.bridgeandburn.com/pages/portland-clothing-store


Spartan Shop

1210 SE Grand Ave

Spartan Shop offers a beautiful assortment of home goods, lighting, furniture, art, décor, bath + body products, and fine jewelry. If you have someone on your list who is traditionally hard to shop for, you are sure to find the perfect gift here.

https://spartan-shop.com/


Rejuvenation Holiday Pop Up

1100 SE Grand Ave

Shop seasonal florals + wreaths from Fieldwork Flowers, handwoven baskets from Amsha, + gifts from a curated assortment of Portland makers.

https://www.rejuvenation.com/stores/en/portland/events/f9016c


MadeHere

40 NW 10th Ave

Shop over 200 PNW brands all in one place and earn extra credit on supporting local makers! There’s something for everyone on your list (including yourself) at this fun NW spot.

https://madehereonline.com/pages/covid-19-updates


Kitchen Kaboodle

NE: 1520 NE Broadway
NW: 2315 NW Westover

Making a house a home since 1975, Kitchen Kaboodle is a cook’s paradise. From tabletop décor to appliances, the foodie in your life won’t be disappointed.

https://www.kitchenkaboodle.com/