Manuel and Leslie Recio, the duo behind Viridian Farms, first made their mark on Portland's food scene by growing once-obscure European varietals like padron peppers and turning them into staples. Now they're aiming to do the same with imported goods.
After announcing their departure from farming last December, the Recios have been working hard to launch Conserva, their little import shop dedicated to hard-to-find products from artisan producers in Spain and Southwest France. They quietly opened their doors over the weekend, stocking the shelves with things like anchovy cream, squid ink, tins of octopus and cockles, jars of violet and rose jams, and rouille to garnish bouillabaisse. There's also a small selection of ciders, wines and aperitifs. To help you put it all to good use, the Recios are there to offer recipes and serving tips. And to get you started, they offer a $29 "Pintxos Pack," which is a rotating selection of wine or cider, cheese, crackers and conservas or cured meats to create tapas for two to four people.
This spring, they're also operating a hot food kiosk at the Portland Farmers Market, where they serve up seasonal tapas using produce from the market and specialty items from their shop. Think pintxos made with their imported octopus, Yukon gold potatoes from Winters Farm, and Viridian Farms piment basquaise honey.
Conserva: 1720 NW Lovejoy St., #107, Portland. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.