Oregon Growers & Shippers mission is to produce and distribute the highest quality farm-direct products made from Pacific Northwest ingredients, while using business practices that are respectful to the environment, people, communities, and our way of life. 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.
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