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Ecotrust opens first of two food-based business spaces



TRIBUNE PHOTO: JENNIFER ANDERSON - Sydney DeLuna, general manager of The Redd, applauds the transformation of the space and its call to action: 'Hey, you're a part of it.' Portland foodies will have a new place to buy fresh-caught Oregon seafood, soon after it’s left the boat.

Wilder Land & Sea is poised to launch its seafood CSA program early this fall at The Redd, Ecotrust’s new $25 million sustainable food hub.

For the past five or so years, Wilder has been selling wild Alaskan sockeye salmon to more than 50 local restaurants within a 10-mile radius of their Southeast Portland headquarters.

“Most people don’t know when it’s a fresh seafood product, because there’s no labeling,” says Nathan Rispler, a Portland native who became a commercial fisherman 13 years ago for Iliamna Fish Co., a salmon CSA also located at The Redd.

He worked with chefs like Aaron Barnett at St. Jack restaurant, who loved the salmon but constantly asked what else he had.

“Then the wheels started turning,” Rispler says. “I found an Oregon trout being raised on Sauvie Island. I started bringing that to market. People really liked that.”

So about three years ago, Rispler and business partner Kyle Swanson, a chef, added other products, including local grassfed beef, free-range chicken, Oregon trout and other Oregon seafood they are able to find in season, from butter clams and cockles to fresh Dungeness crab.

Now as Wilder Land & Sea launches their CSA at The Redd, they’ll keep their relationships with chefs and start serving directly to residents for the first time with their fresh seafood orders and pickups, possibly adding other meats later.

“It’s exciting to talk to someone who’s going to cook it themselves,” Rispler says.

They’re still working out the details, but those who sign up on the Wilder Land & Sea email list will get notice of when the first seafood deliveries will launch.

Midweek, they’ll learn what the boat will bring in on Thursday, and customers will place their order for pickup by Friday or Saturday at The Redd, where they also might find other CSA items from farmers and ranchers Wilder works with.

“This fish is as fresh as you can possibly get it,” Rispler says. “We just want to get people eating fresh Oregon seafood. If they only buy for one meal that week, that’s cool with us.”

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JENNIFER ANDERSON - The public is invited to The Redd's first major event, Roots at The Redd, set for Tuesday, Sept. 20. Ecotrust's $25 million project is home to local ventures that boost regional food system access and equity.Second place in works

Wilder is one of a handful of tenants that will occupy the space at The Redd, which has been under construction for the past year at Southeast Seventh Avenue and Salmon Street.

Just recently, a mural on the east-facing wall went up.

Designed by artists Zach Yarrington and David Rice of the Portland nonprofit Forest for the Trees, it looks like a package peeling open, a call to action that reads: “Hey, you’re a part of it.”

“I love the idea of ripping off the wrapping of the food system and inviting everyone to be part of it,” says Sydney DeLuna, general manager of The Redd.

After a year of construction, the first of the two buildings on the campus, now known as Redd West, will open at the end of September.

The other, Redd East, is going through its final permitting process and set to break ground in late spring, for a 2018 opening.

Once the dust settles and the finishing pieces are in place, Redd West, a former distribution hub and sales center, will have been been completely transformed to house six tenants as well as a 2,000-square-foot cold storage space.

B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery, one of the tenants, will own, lease and manage the cold and freezer space to fellow tenants as well as other community entrepreneurs.

Some of their space is being leased to Iliamna Fish Co., a salmon CSA (see our Sept. 15, 2005, Sustainable Life story), as well as Carman Ranch, Lazy B Ranch, Cattail Creek.

Having access to adequate cold storage in the middle of the central city rather than further out in the metro area has been one of the big barriers to business for regional producers who want to keep their overhead and carbon footprints low.

Other tenants at The Redd include:

• FoodCorps, a Portland-based national nonprofit that works with AmeriCorps volunteers to connect schoolchildren with farm-fresh food, will relocate here after outgrowing their Northwest Portland offices.

The 35-person staff will use their space to plan nutrition education and school programming. They served 160,000 students in 600 schools across the country last school year.

During National Farm to School Month this fall, Ecotrust will work with its partners to host a public forum Oct. 26 about the future of the farm-to-school movement in Oregon.

• Soup Cycle, a certified B-Corp serving weekly meals of small-batch fresh salad, soup, juice and bread to homes and offices by bicycle since 2008.

• New Foods Market, an online local food grocery store that will launch in October (see our upcoming Sustainable Life

story).

Wilder, Soup Cycle and New Foods each will have a kitchen space to rent out and host pop-up events.

“I’m really happy with where we are,” DeLuna says. “It’s a good first big bite.”

@jenmomanderson

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