It’s that time of year folks, the travel season is upon us!
While Lina was jetting off to Boston this month, I was making my way to the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. A recently coined slogan for this city is, “Portland, the city you’ve heard you should like”. Well, it has proven true. I went thinking that I would like this relaxed west coast city but it exceeded my expectations (it probably helped that the city just happened to be having an unusual bout of dry sunny days).
Portland is a maze of artisanal, gastronomic delight. Often casual, and anything but stuffy, the food scene offers something for everyone from nationally acclaimed restaurants like Le Pigeon, to gourmet dounuts like Blue Star, hand crafted ice cream like Ruby Jewel, and of course amazing fresh nourishing cafes like Prasad and Kure. No matter the restaurant’s cuisine, an integral part of Portland’s food culture is a foundation of using organic, local, and sustainably sourced ingredients whether its a blueberry bourbon basil donut or a mighty quinoa bowl. Now, I understand organic or not donuts are not where you should be getting your life-giving nutrients, however it illustrates a city that has a strong connection to its food and the land that produces it.
One more comment to this little food rant (of which I assure you I can speak about all day long), in addition to finding local and organic ingredients gluten free, dairy free, (insert food item here)-free diets are so widely accepted that even the most restricted diet can be accommodated in many Portland eateries. For example, if you are dairy-free, there is no need to restrict yourself to lemon sorbet at ice cream shops. Ruby Jewel offers cow-free options in delicious flavours like Strawberry Basil or Pineapple Ginger.
Other than food, I was of course on the hunt for new beauty products. Unsurprisingly, it was easy to find locally produced brands that use ingredients from the bountiful state of Oregon. One such brand was Wild Carrot Herbals which is a small family owned and operated company in Enterprise, Oregon. They grow a large number of their own botanicals and source everything else from the best organic producers. All products are made in small batches at their Oregon facility with the exception of the organic castile soap & camamu bar soaps.
I came across Wild Carrot Herbals Oregon Strawberry & Rose Toner while at Clary Sage Herbarium on Alberta Street. This fruity toner smells absolutely delicious and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and soft. As I have expressed before, rose is excellent for hydration and inflammation (which is why this toner will be my go-to for the summer months!). Strawberry, aside from its fantastic smell, offers vitamin C and mild exfoliation through fruit acids.
Clary Sage Herbarium is an apothocary and boutique which sells a large selection of organic and ethically wild harvested herbs and tinctures. This form of apothocary is actually quite common in Portand and is run by knowledgeable herbalists who carry hundreds of herbal remedies that can be used in place of some conventional medicines.
While at Clary Sage, I also picked up organic tamanu oil, which is derived from the nut of a tamanu tree grown in Southeast Asia and like rosehip oil, is high in vitamin A and E, linoleic acide, and oleric acid. Tamanu tends to be a bit richer and thicker in consistency than rosehip oil and is great for healing scars and soothing dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. In addition it can be used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots. I like to keep this on hand to put on cuts, or when I get dry itchy patches of skin, or to add a drop to my eye cream.
My time in Portland gave me a renewed sense of inspiration to get back to the earth, gain a greater connection to my food, and utilize the abundant resources around me for nourishing gifts from mama earth. Needless to say, I have spent the last week planning my terrace garden and planting my seedlings to create my own herbarium!