In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, fourth-generation farmer Leslie Lukas-Recio, along with her husband, Manuel Recio, grow more than 100 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers at Viridian Farms.
Specializing in berries, stone fruit, peppers, tomatoes, and squash, they also devote themselves to the produce of Spain (where the two met when they were both doing college studies there). On the farm’s 100 acres there are also choricero and piquillo peppers, heirloom Basque Alubias Tolosana beans, pochas string beans, and Catalogna puntarelle. The couple’s world travels, eating, and visiting farms play a big part in what they decide to grow. They plant from seeds they save, and put a premium on water conservation, among many other sustainable practices. They even set aside eight acres of their farmland as a “reserve” that, Lukas-Recio says, will never be farmed and that provides a vital habitat for herons, owls, hawks, deer, coyote, ducks, geese, quail, and other local wildlife.
Even the name Viridian (a shade of green), says Lukas-Recio, represents the movement that approaches farm design in a sustainable manner. “It’s meant to reflect our growing methods, the way we treat our workers, and to show a general awareness of our farm’s impact on our local foodshed.”
You can find Viridian’s produce at the Portland Farmers Markets as well as at specialty grocers around the city, such as Whole Foods and Woodsman Market. They also they sell directly to chefs like Gabriel Rucker<<link to Rucker bio>> of Portland’s Le Pigeon, so if you eat around the city, chances are you’ll bite into something grown with care by Viridian.