Our Story

Charlene & Richard

Both born into families of farmers, Charlene Murdock and Richard White have devoted their lives to providing family, friends, and community with home-grown food.

Charlene looking at cooper pot

Charlene shares information about a cooper pot, one of the many traditional cooking utensils in the outdoor kitchen.

In the 1980s Charlene founded a specialty food brokerage where she met Richard. Together they formed Murdock and White, the Pacific Northwest’s premier specialty food brokerage which they managed for over 25 years. This work brought them in to contact with small, artisanal food producers across the region with whom they formed many of relationships that remain at the heart of their food and farming work today. During their time in the food brokerage industry, Charlene and Richard not only gained knowledge, but they collaboratively built “taste memories” with this community. These memories are the tangible and intangible connections made when we relate to food, place, and the stories of a recipe prepared.

 

Richard checking the soil in a garden bed.

Richard checking the soil in one of the many diverse growing areas on the farm.

In 2004, Charlene and Richard served as delegates at Slow Food International’s first Terra Madre gathering – one of the largest international events dedicated to food, the environment, agriculture and food politics held in Turin, Italy. Their experience at Terra Madre and the inspiration they brought home with them had lasting impacts on Nana Cardoon’s work and commitment to the environment, agriculture, and food culture. Both Charlene and Richard are longtime members of Portland chapter of Slow Food and serve on the International Ark of Taste committee, which is an international program that seeks to save an economic, social and cultural heritage of a diverse variety of fruits and vegetables, animal breeds, seafood, cheeses, cured meats, grains and confectionery.

 

“We think of our meals as the binding elements of culture and our connection, through hands in the dirt, to agrarian cultures the world over.”

– Charlene

Richard tending the bees.

Richard tending the bees.