The Ava Gene’s kitchen is proud to utilize the following producers and their foodstuffs throughout our menu.We thank you for helping to support our community of small farmers and artisans. Grazie mille!
During the spring of 2010, Agostino took note that 'Nduja, the typical product of his hometown in Calabria, started to make a big impact in the Chicago food scene. Being dissatisfied with the quality of the product he was finding, he was inspired to create the original taste of his hometown and bring it to the States. When his father came to visit from Italy that winter, they did just that and were elated with what they created.
Agostino has passed on the passion of salumi making to his son, Tony. Together, they are 'Nduja Artisans. Making salumi has been a tradition in their family for more than five generations. During the summers, they grew their own sweet and spicy peppers, stringed and sundried them for the salumi. Meanwhile, the family pig was being fattened for what would eventually be various salumi including proscuitto, soppressata, dried sausage, pancetta and of course ‘Nduja!
You will find their 'Nduja as one of the few staples always on our menu, as well as some of their salamis from time to time.
Similar to some of our other producers, Avalanche takes inspiration from Italian products and makes them their own. Our favorite cheese they make is the Lamborn Bloomers, a Robiola style cheese made entirely from goat’s milk.
The farm of Anthony and Carol Boutard in Gaston, Oregon produces some of the most amazing organic produce in the Pacific Northwest. Their specialties include chicories, mixed berries, fresh and dried shelling beans, fresh and dried peppers, and corn. The Boutards grind their dried corn for our polenta and cookies, their dried peppers figure as a main flavor component in many of our preparations & the heirloom varietal beans they grow appear regularly on the menu. In fact, Ayer’s Creek products can be found all over the kitchen, even the preserves on our cheese plates.
Cascade Organics is based in Portland, OR and operated by Jeff Michels. They specialize in baby greens of all varieties but also have access to local foraged mushrooms like chanterelles and morels plus wild caught fish such as steelhead and salmon. The produce is grown by a collective of urban farms working together to provide sustainable produce.
Greg Hessel, one of our favorite cheesemongers in Portland, is creating relationships with domestic & international producers, sourcing special products unique to his portfolio. He has played a large part in curating our cheese selections, not only for the Formaggi portion of the menu but also for some cheeses used on Giardini and Primi dishes.
Creative Growers is a small family farm located in the foothills of the Coast Range, west of Eugene. For the past eleven years, they have been supplying certified organic produce to restaurants and farmers markets in the Willamette Valley while offering a CSA program to residents of Northwest Oregon.
Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Creminelli provides us with traditional Italian cured specialities, some of which aren't otherwise available in the U.S. The Creminelli family has been producing artisan meat products in Italy since the 1600's. In 2006, Cristiano decided to open his family's first and only salumeria in the U.S. He uses organic ingredients and heritage meats raised without antibiotics and fed all vegetarian diets.
Dancing Roots Farm is one of the closest farms we work with. Located just 18 miles east of Portland, adjacent to Dabney State Park on the Sandy River, they operated on 10 acres of farmland and grow over 100 different varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. All of these varieties have been selected not strictly based on yield and uniformity, but more on flavor, nutrition, genetic diversity, and beauty. In addition to supplying for many restaurants in Portland, they also offer a CSA program.
Della Terra means “of the earth”. Chris Becker's artisanal pasta is made with organically grown durum wheat semolina and water. There are no preservatives or additives whatsoever. The pasta is a true representation of simplicity and respect for the quality of the ingredient, as well as the technique used to craft fine pasta. All the pasta is bronze dies drawn, which gives the pasta a porous and coarser texture which causes the pasta to grip the sauce. That texture also has a unique mouthfeel and a wonderful bite. Watch the video.
Operated by Tom and Patreece Denoble and located in Tillamook, OR, Denoble Farms originally specialized in different varieties of artichokes but now grows a variety of vegetables. The land was a dairy farm for the previous 150 years and this history in combination with the rich sea air makes for incredibly fertile soil and great tasting produce.
DiStefano is a family owned dairy in Southern California dedicated to making authentic burrata and other fresh milk cheeses. With a history rooted in Murgia, Puglia in Southern Italy, the Bruno family has been hand making burrata alla panna in the U.S. for the last decade. We obtain their cheese direct from the dairy ensuring it is always fresh, creamy & delicious.
The nation's first exclusively local distributor and producer of high quality foodstuffs is a partnership with Laney Family Farms and their trusted network of farms and ranches. Eat Oregon First distributes beef, poultry, pork, seafood, grains and eggs to restaurants and markets and all sources or destinations are located near Portland. Their philosophy espouses tri-local food, which translates as product born or raised on the farm, given feed exclusively grown on or nearby the farm and sold at local markets surrounding the farm. This closed circle ensures the freshest product with the least amount of impact on the environment.
In 2007, Carmen Peirano and Eric Ferguson took over Nick's Italian Cafe, utilizing it as a home for their new salumeria, Fino in Fondo, meaning “Until the End” in Italian. Located in McMinnville, they are dedicated to upholding tradition and producing an old world, quality salami from naturally raised heritage Berkshire and Yorkshire pigs.
In 2006 Chef Paul Bertolli, formerly of Chez Panisse and Oliveto, opened Fra'Mani in Berkeley, California. Their meat, chiefly pork, comes from family farmers commited to the well-being of their animals and their land. Fra'Mani is derived from the Italian for 'between or among hands' and conveys the message 'from our hands to yours'.
Guru Garlic Farm is located west of Carlton, Oregon, on the first rise of land at the foot of the Coast Range. Craig and Kari Bodmer raise garlic there, growing 40 different varieties to bring many subtle variations of taste to the table. Each variety is hand planted and nurtured and given the space, nutrients, and sunlight it needs to develop its own unique and complex flavors. Garlic is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops, and was spread throughout the world from its origin in Central Asia by garlic lovers themselves. It is with appreciation for its history and its enthusiasts that Craig and Kari work to bring each strain of garlic to its fullest expression of flavor year after year.
Located in Philomath, Oregon and owned by John Eveland and Sally Brewer, Gathering Together Farms is certified organic and provides us with some of the best produce the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Their crop yields are extremely diverse which is an essential facet of their philosophy resulting in over 50 types of vegetables of 300 different varieties each year. They also operate a restaurant called Farm Stand on the property which serves Italian influenced Northwestern cuisine.
Goldin Artisan is a small goat dairy owned by Carine Goldin in Molalla, OR. Carine emigrated to the Pacific Northwest from the Savoie region of France roughly 10 years ago and during her early days in the States noticed a lack of artisan cheeses living up to memories of her alpine home. About 5 years ago, she realized her dream of producing exceptional goat cheeses at her rustic fromagerie. One of her cheeses, La Chaumine, is a perfect example of the quality of her cheeses and also a parallel to our philosophy at Ava Gene’s. The cheese is modeled after Italian Taleggio but is transformed into a French styled goat cheese made in the Pacific Northwest: original and inspired.
Located just north of Eugene, OR, Groundwork Organics has been growing certified organic vegetables, specialty fruit, and flowers since 2000. We buy a plentiful assortment of vegetables from them, ranging from broccoli and cauliflower, to cucumbers and sweet onions. You can find them at Portland’s Saturday PSU farmers market and Eugene’s downtown market, as well as many restaurants and natural food stores throughout the area.
Hama Hama, located in Lilliwaup, WA, has spanned 5 generations and had been in operation since 1922. While mainly in the oyster and tree farming business, Hama Hama also harvests shellfish of all sorts; including manilla clams which go beautifully with Linguini, cream, wine, and pine nuts.
Jacobsen Salt Co. is lead by proprietor Ben Jacobsen who strives to create the best finishing salt America has to offer. Harvested from the cold waters of Netarts Bay on the Oregon Coast, Jacobsen Salt Co.’s finishing Salt has gained much critical acclaim for its beautiful taste, texture, and appearance.
Following a trip to italy in the early nineties, Albert Katz & his wife, Kim, were inspired by the culinary heritage of the foods they tasted. The most significant discoveries were the olive oils from Tuscany. In the late nineties, they moved from San Francisco to Napa & began the passionate pursuit of producing olive oils which would have the same character & integrity as those from the source. As their olive groves in the Suisun Valley matured, the Katz family began making traditional Orleans method vinegars from local grape varietals. Joshua was one of the first chefs to start using Katz products during his time in NYC, and this relationship has extended the opportunity to use their wonderful oils and vinegars in our kitchen here in Portland.
Kiyokawa Orchards is a family owned and operated farm located in Parkdale, Oregon. Their fruit is grower direct allowing them to provide us with consistent quality fruit at the peak of its season. Randy Kiyokawa and his family have been growing the finest produce available in the Mount Hood Fruit Loop since 1911. The fertile soils found at the base of Mt. Hood and glacier-fed water sources create a unique growing environment for 80 distinct varieties of apples, pears and Asian pears.
Owned by Kathy and Herb Eckhouse and based in Norwalk, Iowa, La Quercia’s specialty is Italian style prosciutto. Some believe they make the only whole cured pork legs to rival the hams of Parma, Italy. They primarily butcher Berkshire heritage pigs from a small network of environmentally conscious hog ranchers. We use their guanciale and pancetta in some of our pastas and serve their cured meats including coppa and prosciutto on our Affetati di Salumi. La Quercia means “the Oak” in Italian and some of their pigs are finished on acorns in the Spanish tradition of Jamon Iberico de Bellota.
The Leporati family in Parma, Italy produces some of the finest prosciutto from the region, aged for nearly 500 days, almost 5 months longer than required by the laws governing production. In 1969, Nello Leporati left an urban life to move his family to the Langhirano hills, pursuing his first passion of pork butchery and ham production. He had the collaboration of his entire family; his wife, his daughters, his son-in-laws and, most recently, his three grandchildren, who carry on the business passed down from their grandfather.
The Masciarelli family produces traditional bronze die pasta in the small Abruzzo village of Pratola Peligna. The same family has been producing pasta since 1867 and is one of the oldest pasta producers in Italy. The ingredients are simply local spring water from the surrounding Majella National Park and local durum wheat. Each batch is handled independently from others, mixed and adjusted by hand. The pasta is extruded through hand made bronze dies creating more texture to the pasta, resulting in a better vehicle for sauce and a better mouth-feel. The finished pastas are dried slowly which allows the dough to retain its elasticity.
Mizuna Gardens is a super small farm, (only 3/4 arces!) and located in Warren, OR. They grow greens almost exclusively, and really produce some amazing stuff. They do a fantastic job at finding and growing greens that do well in the cold months and even have some that can withstand freezing temperatures. This allows us to have fresh local tender greens on our menu even in November.
Olli Salumeria was founded in 2009 by Oliviero Colmignoli and Charles Vosmik. Oliviero was producing salami in Virginia for his family’s Italian salami company but was unsatisfied with the product because of the quality of ham being used. Charles got him in touch with Caw Caw Creek Farm and Oliviero made prosciutto from their heritage breed pigs. A year and a half later the two of them tasted the prosciutto and Olli Salumeria was born.
Our Table Cooperative is making a space in our local food system for the sharing of resources, skills, and knowledge among a community of growers, producers, and customers. As a multi-stakeholder cooperative, its vertically integrated model unites and gives equal emphasis to each part of the food system--from the growing and distribution, to the creation and enjoyment of meals. The home of Our Table is a 58-acre farm in Sherwood, Oregon where cooperative members grow a mix of Certified Organic vegetables, fruit, and flowers, as well as raise pastured chickens. The cooperative augments these offerings with a mix of regionally crafted foods from its producer members. Driving the Our Table food community is the motivation to develop a lasting collaboration around our region’s foods.
Patrick Theil drives 330 miles 1-2 times a week from Joseph, OR to delivery the best potatoes you’ve ever had. We also buy carrots, beets, wild plums and garlic, and sometimes mushrooms from him. Although we can find potatoes more locally, this is one of those occasions where the little bit of distance is way worth it.
The Reluctant Trading Experiment imports truly the finest Tellicherry peppercorns we have ever seen. The flavor and fragrance is comparable to the complex notes of a fine aged wine. The company was founded by Scott Eirinberg with help from his friend and India connect Divakar, who convinced the “reluctant” Scott that peppercorns were a worthwhile industry to pursue. Their story is indeed fascinating and comical.
Salumi is a Seattle based charcuterie producer which has its roots dating back to a small Italian import store in 1903. Their current operation is located in the historic and was started by world renowned chef Mario Batali’s father. They produce some really awesome products using age-old Italian techniques, modernized with the latest equipment and materials.
Sartori is a fourth-generation family owned and operated company in Plymouth, Wisconsin. From their leadership and artisan cheese expertise, to their cheesemakers, to their network of patron farmers, they share a deep sense of connection to the community of dairies and a responsibility as stewards of the land. Their SarVecchio Parmesan is a hallmark of American cheesemaking in the Italian tradition.
Operating on just 18 acres on land, Sauvie Island Organics provides for 400 CSAs and 25 restaurants. Their farm is located 15 miles from downtown Portland, nestled among farmland and wildlife refuges. For over 21 years they have been growing vegetables in the rich soils of Sauvie Island. They are dedicated to providing delicious, seasonal, local foods to Portland area residents through our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
They are a small-scale, diversified vegetable farm located in Sandy, OR. They grow using natural and biological methods and do not use any pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or chemicals of any sort. They sell directly to restaurants in the greater Portland area. They also sell at the new Mississippi Farmer's Market- check it out!
Inspired by the regional cured hams of Europe, Tails & Trotters is the Pacific Northwest’s first signature pork producer developed from pork finished on local hazelnuts. Tails & Trotters pork is mirrored after the famed Jamon Iberico from Spain; crafted from the Pata Negra, or black-footed Iberian pigs who roam the oak groves of south and southwest Spain feasting on acorns. Using the resources of this region, co-owner and founder Aaron Silverman substituted hazelnuts for acorns and the result was the development of a distinctive variety of Pacific Northwest prosciutto.
Owned by Leslie and Manuel Recio, Viridian Farms is located on Grand Island, Oregon -- an inland river island encircled by the Willamette river and Lambert slough. The fertile land has been farmed for generations, and was originally homesteaded by the Rockhill family in the late 1800s. Unconventional in their approach to row crop farming, they draw on cultural backgrounds, travel experiences, and most importantly, food experiences to guide crop selections. The culinary origin of the over 100 unique herbs, edible flowers, fruits and vegetables grown are primarily comprised of varieties that are typical of the cuisines of France, Italy, and Spain — with a notable emphasis on Basque ingredients.
This small, super local farm is owned and operated almost completely by Justin Green and his wife. Located just over the west hills in Hillsboro, OR, Justin grows some incredible produce using only organic practices. Paying close attention to soil health and sustainability really comes through in the superb quality of his fruits and veggies.