There are a few annual events that make me extra happy to live here: Jim Dixon's Olive Oil Garage Sale. The apple tasting at Portland Nursery. The farm ramble at Ayers Creek Farm. And the one that totally brings back my horse-loving eight-year-old self, the Yamhill County Farm Fest and Plowing Competition sponsored by the Oregon Draft Horse and Mule Breeders Association. This year the rock-em, sock-em competition, featuring classic draft breeds like Belgians, Percherons, Haflingers, Shires, Suffolk and Clydesdales, plus teams of doughty mules, is coming up this Saturday, April 12, on what's predicted to be a stunningly gorgeous day. The event includes blacksmithing demonstrations, historic farm equipment, quilts from local quilting clubs and other family-friendly activities. So throw the kids in the buggy and trot them out to the country for a day of country fun. (Be sure to say hi when you see my eight-year-old self patting the horses…)
Details: Yamhill County Farm Fest and Plowing Competition. Sat., April 12, 10 am-4 pm; $5 admission, kids 12 and under free. Yamhill Co. Historical Society and Museum, 11275 SW Durham Ln., McMinnville. 503-434-0490.
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Community Supported Cheese is an idea whose time has come. Fortunately, Sasha Davies is all over it with her monthly Cheese Club at Cyril's. Unlike many buying clubs, where you're stuck with whatever that month's featured product is, Sasha has created a club where participants can opt in depending on how they feel about the selected cheese and whether their budget that month will support the purchase of a pound of cheese. How awesome is that? She does it by (get this!) posting the month's featured cheese to Kickstarter, then letting folks commit or not. Plus if it doesn't get funded, then everyone's off the hook! That's my kind of club.
Details: Community Supported Cheese Club at Cyril's. Thurs., April 10, 6:30 pm (pledge must be made before Thurs., April 10 at 6 pm; future monthly meetings and cheeses will be posted); $10 to taste the cheese of the month; price for the pound (or piece) varies monthly. Check the website. Cyril's at Clay Pigeon Winery, 815 SE Oak St. 503-206-7862.
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Some sad news came this last month from my friend Kim Carlson at Culinate. After seven years of publishing a nationally recognized online food magazine, she and her husband James Berry will be closing up shop, or at least that part of it that publishes stories and recipes. I've written stories and contributed recipes to Culinate over the years and found their passionate commitment to the cause of good cooking, great ingredients and sustainable sourcing to be thoughtful and inspiring. The good news, if it can be spun that way, is that they are keeping the website's content available for the foreseeable future. The website was only part of their business, and now they are turning their focus to the partnerships they have with cookbook authors and publishers to create mobile apps from cookbooks. These have included Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything series and the app for the incredibly successful Hello, Cupcake! series, recently awarded the iTunes App Store Editor’s Choice and Best App of the year. Now rumor has it they're about to release a huge new cooking app project that will rock the foundation of the cookbook world. Stay tuned!