Oregon Growers and Shippers Preserves and BBQ Sauce
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
gather round and hear a tale
of one a plain cardboard box
shipped to me via the mail.
Can you see why I got a B in poetry?
Anyway, have you heard of Oregon Growers and Shippers? They are a direct specialty food store based in Oregon (you probably guessed that) that buys seasonal ingredients from local farmers and turns them into sauces, preserves, butters, etc.
If you hadn’t heard of them until now, it’s okay. I hadn’t either until they offered to send me some goodies, which I felt compelled to accept. Now, I am so glad that I know about them. They make some truly outrageous products.
When it arrived, in my not-so-little cardboard box, I was sent six items to try (which isn’t really scratching the surface of their catalog). They sent: pumpkin butter, marionberry preserves, pear and hazelnut preserves, strawberry pinot noir preserves, and two types of BBQ sauce: regular and mesquite. I grabbed six spoons and got set to try them all.
I started with the BBQ sauce and found it was good. There’s always a danger in sending someone from Kansas City BBQ sauce and to be honest, I found the regular sauce to be a little too sweet for my taste. Maybe it was the whiskey, maybe the cane sugar, not sure, but there was a definite sweetness. That doesn’t mean it was bad, merely not to my liking. On the other hand, the mesquite BBQ was far less sweet with a bolder, spicier flavor that I could see smearing over some ribs or brisket. In other words, nicely done!
Really, though, the treasure of the package I received was the preserves and I’m not much of a spreadable fruit kind of guy. I find most of the time, jams and jellies come into two forms. The first is when the fruit is cooked down so much the final product has almost no taste. The other form is fruit that has been cooked down so much the final product has almost no taste AND they dump a metric crapton of sugar into it so that all you taste is sweetness as your teeth rot off.
Guess what, Oregon Growers & Shippers Preserves have started a third category. Their preserves were so good. The pear preserves were nicely sweet, actually tasted like pears, and had great crunch from the hazelnuts. The marionberries started off tart, but finished amazingly sweet like raspberries, only better. The pumpkin butter was good with nice seasoning and probably would have been the star of many gift boxes, but it was a familiar flavor against the exciting newness of the preserves.
The strawberry pinot noir was also great, though pinot noir fans should be forewarned, the preserves didn’t deliver a big wine taste like I thought they would. Instead, they offered a strong strawberry flavor (no complaints there) with a hint of earthiness from the red wine, but just a bit. Quite frankly, I’ve not tasted anything else like it and I can’t stop eating it.
Normally, when I get ingredients, I try to offer recipes or suggestions on how to serve it. My suggestion for the Oregon Growers & Shippers preserves is get some shortbreak cookies and just smear. Even toast might overwhelm the flavor and you don’t want to do that. If you don’t have shortbread cookies, go with a spoon and eat it straight. They’re that good.
Anyway, obviously I liked the preserves. The sauces were good, but the preserves were EXTRAORDINARY. I highly recommend hopping on the Oregon Growers & Shippers site and getting your own basket of goodies. You can try the preserves I had or experiment with Cherry Zinfadel preserves, Northwest Peach preserves, or lemon pear marmelade. Your call.
And, as you might have guessed, I ganked the image from the Oregon Growers & Shippers site. Thanks for letting me try your products. I can’t wait until we get a fresh package of shortbread cookies. I’ve got more preserves to eat.