It started with a simple idea -- a meal that celebrated the amazing food grown in our own backyard. It has evolved into a summer celebration. A gathering that reinforces the connection between the farm and the food on your plate.
Behind this simple idea is a powerful message. A couple actually. We're committed to increasing your awareness of the multiple benefits of eating local foods – social, environmental, health, economic, gastronomic. As preachy as that might sound, we're not here to give you a lecture. We just want you to know your options when you're purchasing food. And we want you to remember what it feels like to have the juice from a freshly picked peach trickle down your chin.
Plate & Pitchfork is an adventurous evening that celebrates and supports local farms. In fact every Plate & Pitchfork dinner begins with a farm tour. We want to make sure that you have a chance to meet your farmer and get to know a little bit about them and how they run their business. Our host farms range from 10 to 110 acres and their business models and produce are varied, but they all have one thing in common and that's a commitment to using sustainable farming and business practices.
Plate & Pitchfork has a long standing tradition of re-investing in our community. Our tenth anniversary season will benefit four outstanding organizations: Farmers Ending Hunger, Oregon Tilth's Organic Education Center, Foodworks Farm, and the Sauvie Island Center.
Meet the Team
Erika Polmar: Founder, Event Producer, Chief Dishwasher
Erika has been building things for as long as she can remember -- first with Crystal Climbers and now through technology or a good old-fashioned handshake. Erika has spent the last 20+ years in positions ranging from Santa's Helper to pink-slip wielding acquisition manager to corporate spy. Somewhere in the midst of all that Plate & Pitchfork began as a summer project and nine years later, Erika is still building. Plate & Pitchfork has allowed her to hone a funky blend of culinary, technology and marketing expertise, while developing a keen awareness and understanding of the issues facing both the culinary & agricultural communities. She puts these skills to the test every day as she builds Plate & Pitchfork from a simple farm dinner series to an organization that brings complex issues to the fore so that together, as a community, we can create a healthy, economically viable and delicious place to live.
Stephanie VanRheen: Administrative Wonderwoman
After spending her childhood exploring the woods and water of central Minnesota, Stephanie packed up and shipped out to Chicago to pursue a bachelors degree in Business & Economics at North Park University. She embraced big city life and quickly came to love her diverse, urban environment. While in school she worked for the North River Commission, a community organization focused on livability and community involvement. Her experiences there led she and her husband, Aaron, to Portland where she earned a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University in the Spring of 2010. Now you'll find this full-time mom and wanna-be foodie taking care of many behind the scenes details, like coordinating culinary assistants and making sure you've got the proper table number.