Parkrose ‘Cowabunga!’ events draw thousand of guests

This was the reason Rossi Farms was filled with lively events – supporting a good cause – in mid-July …

People came from all over the Pacific Northwest to enjoy four events in outer East Portland, produced under the “Cowabunga!” banner by Portland Monthly magazine, in Parkrose.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After hosting a successful “Country Brunch” at Rossi Farms last summer, party planners with Portland Monthly magazine expanded their offerings for over three days this July in an event they called “Cowabunga!

Billed as an “All-You-Can-Eat Food Festival”, celebrating Portland life and food, the three days included tastings, cooking demonstrations, and competitions featuring all-star chefs, brewers, winemakers, distillers, farmers, and ranchers. “Seared”, the Friday night event on July 13, quickly sold out.

Guests Jenya Andreev and Amanda Fisher enjoy soft brisket street tacos prepared by the chef of Alto Byjo.

The two events held on July 14, “Farm Out” – a daytime tasting event benefiting Oregon Food Bank – offered food and information from Portland’s top butchers, bakers, chefs. Then, that evening brought the Cowabunga! “Barn Bash”, which was reminiscent of the past Rossi Farms Barn Bashes. The event finished off with a Portland Monthly “Country Brunch” on Sunday.

Pausing for a photo together during the Cowabunga! “Farm Out” are Portland Monthly CEO and Cofounder Nicole Vogel, host Joe Rossi, and the magazine’s VP of Marketing & Events, Emily Wyant.

“This is our inaugural event – a three-day ‘Festival of Beef’ celebration, which is why we called it Cowabunga!” smiled Portland Monthly CEO and Cofounder, Nicole Vogel.

“At our four events – which include family-friendly offerings – our guests are finding barbecue and craft beer, and lots of demonstrations at which they can learn how to pickle, butcher, make pizzas, and everything in between,” Vogel told East Portland News.

It’s not all meat at Cowabunga! Here, Jessica Alsberg and Josh “The Fruit Monkey” Alsberg of Rubinette Produce Market show the best moon-drop grapes, green grapes, and red grapes, that some of those present have ever seen.

Explaining cuts of beef, and giving aging tips, is Chef Beau Carr from Ringside Steakhouse.

The idea came up as a way to highlight Portland Monthly’s food issues – the magazine and website is renowned for food and beverage coverage, remarked Vogel. “We thought it be fun to work with all of our relationships, and our love of the food scene in Portland, to have a place where everyone come out to experience it all in person – rather than just read about it, alone.

“Rossi Farms is such an amazing location – only about 10 minutes from downtown, and the Rossi family is wonderful to work with,” Vogel said.

“To me, Cowabunga! is where ‘urban meets rural’ – for a good cause,” observed Joe Rossi. “In addition to the Oregon Food Bank benefitting from the Saturday daytime event, Parkrose High School is benefiting from this version of our ‘Barn Bash’, too.

Volunteer Lindsay Trapnell and Oregon Food Bank Resource Developer Sharon McFadden say, “We’re very grateful for the support of Portland Monthly”.

“Our friends at Portland Monthly have been very generous, allowing us to continue the tradition of giving back to Parkrose School District education with an event that the community really loved here in years gone by,” Rossi observed.

Vogel smiled, and responded, “And, we appreciate how the Rossi family has been so deeply involved with their schools and their community, and have highlighted how immigrants have benefited our city by championing the Portland Immigrant Statue.”

With all of the tasting, especially on a warm summer day, Ryan Lishka of Pelican Brewing says he happy to pour another frosty cup of beer.

Chef Lola Milholland from Umi Organic offers ramen noodles with fresh charred collards and leeks, and a cabbage salad.

In total, as many as 250 volunteers were involved, helping produce all of the events; and more than 75 restaurants, producers, and chefs contributed their efforts, and food, to the four events.

Cowabunga! helps us fulfill our mission to be the ‘Voice of the City’, as we help people experience all the best the city has to offer, in a festival setting showcase,” Vogel asserted. “Reading is a ‘private experience’; but coming here is a ‘public experience’ – one in which our pages come to life, here at Rossi Farms.”

Throughout that weekend, no one “pigged out” – but many guests enjoyed “beefing up” – at Cowabunga!

>> On our Front Page: Charles Hall with SilverFire wood burning stoves is demonstrating the cooking of flank steak on Himalayan salt blocks.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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