Rogue Valley residents are invited to celebrate locally produced food by pledging to eat from the greater Rogue Valley during the week of Sept. 9-16. This event is sponsored by Thrive, food producers, grocers and restaurants in Southern Oregon organizing a week full of food events highlighting ingredients grown, raised or produced in this region.

The "Eat Local Challenge" is a week of activities that promote locally produced foods and raise awareness about the benefits of eating locally. Food films, restaurant specials, store tastings, cooking classes, a farm tour and the first annual 'Rogue Flavor Dinner and Auction' at Roxy Ann Vinyard are included in the festivities. Full details are available on the Web site .

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Robert Plain takes the challenge. Keep up with how he's doing in his daily blogs that will run the duration of the food challenge.



: Local Beverages



THRIVE's Eat Local Challenge is completely voluntary. Participants set their own rules, depending on what "local" means to them: The Rogue Valley? 100 miles? The Pacific Northwest? People may decide they will strive to eat all local all week, or select a few objectives to meet during the week.

Participants can challenge themselves to meet all or some of these goals:

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People who pledge online at or fill out an Eat Local Challenge Card at Eat Local Challenge events will be entered into a drawing for a Rogue Flavor Gift Basket.

Those who take the pledge are affirming that local food means better taste and more nutritional value, a stronger local economy, fewer food miles and other ecological costs of long-distance food transportation, according to event organizers. By eating local, people also learn about the Southern Oregon "food shed" and the way that working farms connect people to our land and preserve the area's rural character.

The Rogue Flavor Dinner and Auction invites guests to "Eat the View" as they enjoy an elegant five-course dinner combining the fresh flavors of local farms and the culinary talents of Rogue Valley chefs including: Chef Susan Powell of Pilaf, Chef Damon Jones of Larks, Chef Tim Keller of the Carriage House at Nunan Estate and Chef Jamie North of Amuse. Appetizers by New Sammy's Cowboy Bistro, Sloe Bar Grill and 38 on Central. Tickets are $60 and are available at the Ashland Food Cooperative and Grilla Bites in Medford. Proceeds will benefit Thrive's Rogue Flavor campaign.

The week's events culminate in Thrive's annual Rogue Flavor Food and Farm Tour Sunday, Sept. 16 as we taste the unique flavor of four Rogue Valley food businesses from 10 a.m. to — p.m. Summer Jo's Farm, Garden and Restaurant, Blackberry Lane, Cary's of Oregon toffee factory and Pholia Farm goat dairy are all on the tour. Tickets are $20 and include lunch. Pre-registration and prepayment are required by calling 488-7272 or e-mailing wendy@thriveoregon.org.

The Eat Local Challenge is part of THRIVE'S mission to strengthen and connect businesses and community members in the greater Rogue Valley who share a commitment to creating an economy that preserves community character, promotes social justice and protects ecological health and diversity. We are working to grow the supply and demand for locally produced foods through the Rogue Flavor campaign and Food Connection programs that link local growers, restaurants and retailers.

Schedule of Events

Saturday, Sept. 8

Talent Harvest Festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown Talent. Local presenters include: Bear Creek Orchards, Fresh Feast, Pascal Winery, Downtowne Coffeehouse, and Carla's Wild Wines: wild and hand crafted herbal wines.

Rolling Hills Peach Pie tasting 11 a.m. to1pm at the Ashland Food Cooperative, 237 N First Street,


Sunday, Sept. 9

Rogue Flavor Dinner and Auction, 6 p.m. at RoxyAnn Winery

Thrive and Slow Food invite you to enjoy an evening of local flavor &

a five-course dinner combining the fresh flavors of local farms and the culinary talents of the Rogue Valley's finest chefs.

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162; Appetizers by New Sammy's Cowboy Bistro, Sloe Bar and Grill, and 38 on Central.

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162; First course by Chef Susan Powell of Pilaf and Global Pantry.

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162; Chef Damon Jones of Larks presents a main course featuring Full Circle Bison

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162; Salad by Chef Tim Keller of The Carriage House at Nunan Estate

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162; Dessert compliments of Chef Jamie North of Amuse and Mix Sweet Shop

Tickets are $60 and available at Grilla Bites 226 East Main Street, Medford, and the Ashland Food Cooperative, 237 N First St., Ashland or by calling 488-7272. Proceeds to benefit Thrive's Rogue Flavor Campaign

Monday, Sept. 10

Pangea &

Meet the Chef, Marc Rosewood, 5-7 p.m. 272 E Main St.


Gooseberries Market &

We will be sampling many of the locally grown and/or produced foods which are carried year round in the market. Come and purchase local foods for the Eat Local Challenge and, of course, all year long. 1533 N.E. "F" St., Grants Pass. 541-471-2700

Tuesday, Sept. 11

Tomato Taste-Off at the Rogue Valley Growers Crafters Market, East Main and Wightman in Ashland.

Is your home-grown tomato the ugliest? the biggest? the tastiest? Bring your entry to the Rogue Valley Growers Crafters Market to be judged by a panel of tomato experts for a chance to win Market Bucks. Tuesday at the Ashland Armory and Thursday at the Medford Armory. Register at the information booth by 11 a.m., judging begins at 11:30.

People are invited to come to the Taste-Off and sample a variety of tomatoes from market farmers, then vote for their favorite heirloom, cherry, paste and hybrid and learn about tomato varieties and cooking ideas. For more information call 541-261-5045

Jam and Slab Pie Tasting, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pennington Farms 1115 Williams Hwy., 4 miles past the Provolt Grange.

Master Food Preservers, OSU Extension Service, 569 Hanley Rd. Central Point in the auditorium. Certified Masters of Food Preservation will be canning and reserving seafood all day beginning at 9. a.m., and observers are welcome. "Can the Catch!" is an educational hands-on classroom for preserving seafood: pressure canning, freezing, drying, etc. Class is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Bring pressure canning lids to be tested. For more information call 776-7371.

Meet the Cheesemaker, 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Rogue Creamery, 311 N. Front St. in Central Point. The Rogue Creamery's Head Cheesemaker, Craig Nelson, will talk about cheesmaking and a conduct a tour of the room where their cheddar cheese is made. Reservations required at 541-665-1155 x123.

Harvest Ratatouille cooking demonstration, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Ashland Food Cooperative, 237 N First Street, Ashland

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Cooking with Rising Sun Farms Balsamic Drizzles, — to 4 p.m. at Rising Sun Farms, 5126 South Pacific Hwy, Phoenix. Learn to add flavor and zest to salads, veggies, cheeses, desserts and grilling just by tipping a bottle of Balsamic Drizzle in any of nine fabulous flavors. Come to the tasting room; we'll show you how and share the great tastes with you. 535-8331 ext. 201.

Community harvest at Eagle Mill Farming Education Project, 6-8 p.m. at 100 Eagle Mill Road in Ashland. The "working party" will kick-off with a brief tour of the farm before commencing the harvest, which will be provided to local area restaurants. Fresh garden snacks will be provided. For more information call 482-2424.

Jam and Slab Pie Tasting &

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pennington Farms 1115 Williams Hwy., 4 miles past the Provolt Grange.

Thursday, September 13th

Tomato Taste-Off at the Rogue Valley Growers Crafters Market 1701 S. Pacific Hw.,y Medford. Taste heirloom tomatoes or bring in your own for judging. See Tuesday for full event description.

Jam and Slab Pie Tasting &

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pennington Farms 1115 Williams Hwy., 4 miles past the Provolt Grange.

New Sammy's Pizza with Eggplant, Roasted Garlic, and Rogue Creamery Oregonzola Cheese, cooking demonstration, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Ashland Food Cooperative, 237 N First St.,


Celebrating the Seasons: Autumn Harvest Cooking Class with Maria Katsantones of the Ashland Food Cooperative Community Classroom, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13

Celebrate "Eat Local Challenge" week with this special class focusing on primarily locally grown/produced ingredients. We will make: Eggplant Shoes with Full Circle Bison Bolognese; Green Bean, Goat Cheese and Hazelnut Salad; and Backyard Apple Pear Crisp for dessert.

$30 for the general public, $25 for Co-op owners. Pre-registration and prepayment are required at or at the Co-op Information Desk.

Heidi's Pie in the Sky quiche and pie tasting, — to 6 p.m. at Tark's Market

Friday, Sept. 14

Jam and Slab Pie Tasting &

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pennington Farms 1115 Williams Hwy., 4 miles past the Provolt Grange.

Film screening 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Science Works Hands-On Museum, 1500 E. Main St., Ashland.

Join Thrive and host Science Works as they celebrate Eat Local Week with some food for thought. Beginning at 6 p.m., six short films on food and sustainability will be shown followed at 7 p.m. by the documentary "King Corn."

Good Food Film Shorts: From Singing peanuts to teenage tomato-growers, these short films will make you laugh, make you think and inspire you to take action for a healthy, sustainable and delicious future.

King Corn is the story of two college friends and their journey back to their Iowa roots to learn where their food comes from. The film is an entertaining and provocative new look at the role of corn in our diets and the American foodscape.

Food Wine tasting at Tark's Market: Sample Bear Town Bakes from — to 6 p.m. and Trium Vineyards wines from 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 15

Pangea soup tasting 5 to 8 p.m. Stop by to sample some of our all-time favorites including Portobello Bleu Cheese, Coconut Curried Yam, Moqueca, Roasted Garlic Potato, Summer Melon.

Phoenix Grange will host a Local Producer's Sample and Sale. Local producers will feature their products 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 209 N. Main St., Phoenix. Free admission.

The Heartsong Herbal Brewing Company proudly presents a day of food festivities and music in recognition of "Eat Local Week" at the Chai Hut Food Artisan's Gallery Caf&

233;, — to 5 p.m. at 2220 Ashland Street in Ashland. A selection of local businesses for this event, such as Eco Teas, Pickled Planet, Higher Power Raw Sprouted Trail Mix, Living, Bliss Out Biscotti and Living Tea Kombucha, just to name a few. There will be a variety of live music.

School Lunch Applesauce Cake cooking demonstration, 11am-1pm at the Ashland Food Cooperative, 237 N First St.,


Jam and Slab Pie Tasting &

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pennington Farms 1115 Williams Hwy., 4 miles past the Provolt Grange.

Frank and Roy of The Kitchen Company will host Blackberry Lane Farms for a Heirloom Tomato Tasting. Experience the different shapes, colors and flavors of five varieties. Canning and preserving techniques, and recipes will be available. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 212 SW 6th Street, Grants Pass. 541-955-5311

Sunday, Sept. 16

Rogue Flavor Food Farm Tour 2007 Taste the unique flavor of four Rogue Valley food businesses as you join Thrive in a half-day tour of local farms in the Rogue Valley from 10 a.m. to — p.m. Summer Jo's Farm, Garden and Restaurant, Blackberry Lane, Cary's of Oregon toffee factory and Pholia Farm goat dairy are all on the tour. Tickets are $20 and include lunch. Pre-registration and prepayment are required by calling 488-7272.