What they’re eating: Eugene, Oregon
Nestled in Oregon's lush Willamette Valley, which is famous for crafting some of the best Pinot noirs in the country, lies Eugene, Oregon, a vibrant city that has been a bastion of the natural products industry for decades. Nancy’s Organic, for example, has been slinging probiotic-packed yogurt in the area since the 1960s; Yogi Tea has been brewing up herbal blends since 1984.
Now, according to Micah Elconin, founder and principal of the food and beverage consultancy Season to Taste, Eugene is busting with exciting natural goodies. “The Eugene area has been producing best in class natural food companies for decades,” he says. “The 165 food and beverage manufacturers that exist in our area benefit from a deep pool of talent, infrastructure and support services that help continue to accelerate the launch of new brands.”
Other factors that lend to Eugene’s good-food enthusiasm include a fervent focus on organic and sustainable agriculture in the Willamette Valley, and support for local products and healthy eating from the passionate community. “We think Eugene is a great incubator for natural foods because our community is so passionate and supportive of what we are trying to do. That includes all of the customers at events and farmer's markets who ask tons of questions,” says Jessica Jones, owner of Queen’s Bounty, a raw honey brand. “This interest from customers really helps our great local network of natural food stores feel confident supporting ours and other natural products.”
Here, learn more about just a handful of natural foods and beverages from the Eugene, Oregon area, and keep an eye out for more products launching from this hotbed of food-focused innovation.