Salt & Straw’s commercial remodel celebrates the local and the sustainable

Upcycled wood to be showcased in new scoop shop for Portland’s ice cream rising star.

If Portland is the center of the “plot-to-pot” movement, then ice cream maker Salt & Straw is its newest standard bearer.  Owner Kim Malek opened her first cart on May 26th (between 17th and 18th Avenues on NE Alberta Street), and her farm-to-cone ice cream has already taken the nation by storm, garnering a wave of media attention, including a glowing review by the Wall Street Journal.  

“Our ice cream is handmade in small-batches using only all-natural dairy with the best local, sustainable and organic ingredients Oregon has to offer, as well as imported flavors from small, handpicked farms and producers around the world,” states Salt & Straw’s website.  “We start with local cream from Lochmead Dairy in Eugene, Oregon. All their cows were born right there on their third generation, family farm – so we know it’s the highest quality we can get and super fresh.”

This focus on the local and the sustainable will be physically expressed by the “bricks-and-mortar” of Salt & Straw’s new scoop shop at 2035 NW Alberta St.  Designed by architect John Cooley and built by Hammer & Hand, the commercial remodel will be a showcase of locally-sourced reclaimed wood.  We’re using clear vertical grain (CVG) fir from the bleacher seats of Lewis and Clark College’s original athletic stadium, barn wood from the barn at the Oregon State Hospital of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest fame, rafters from a local deconstructed commercial warehouse, and native black walnut milled from locally-salvaged trees.

All-heart Southern Yellow PineAnd we’ll build Salt & Straw‘s new custom-made “community table” from All-heart Southern Yellow Pine salvaged from a demolished high school in Yakima, Washington.

This heart pine has a pretty fascinating story…  During the struggle to unionize timber companies in Southern Oregon during the late 50s and early 60s, mills began to shut down, curtailing the supply of Oregon pine for the ongoing building boom in schools and other public buildings.  Builders began searching far-and-wide for an alternative and found All-heart Southern Yellow Pine from the Southeastern US.  About a half-century ago, the builders of the high school in Yakima used this wood to construct the (now-demolished) school building.  So Salt & Straw’s community table will embody a narrative of Oregon’s timber and labor history (again, a la Ken Kesey … but this time from Sometimes a Great Notion.)

A lot to think about as you savor that scoop of honey-balsamic-strawberry-with-cracked-pepper ice cream!

– Zack

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