Taste of Harry and David takes place this weekend

Harry and David's Country Village in Medford will host the eighth annual Taste of Harry and David this weekend. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the event will showcase specialty food, refreshments, music and the Rogue Valley's agricultural heritage.

Dozens of booths will offer samples of gourmet foods, including artisan cheeses, breads and sauces, as well as local wines and beer. More than 25 wineries are expected to participate.

New to this year's event is a wine competition. Wineries from all over the state will compete for medals and to see who has the best new wine release. Judges will be winemakers from around the state.

Harry & David is also partnering with THRIVE of Southern Oregon to present the second annual Perfect Pairing Chef's Challenge. Local chefs will pair award-winning wines with Harry & David specialty foods as a kick off to THRIVES "Eat Local Challenge." The challenge encourages Rogue Valley residents to support locally produced food by pledging to eat foods produced in the Rogue Valley during the week of Sept. 11.

Admission is $15 per person — or $10 per person for those who bring five non-perishable canned or dry good items for ACCESS Inc., an agency that helps those in need in Jackson County.

Area bands also will provide music each day during the event.

  • Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Latin Jazz Quartet features Larry Cavalier on vibraphone, Jim Calhoun on bass, Ed Dunsavage on guitar and Chicken Hirsh on drums. The group has performed together for 10 years and plays a tasty mix of Brazilian jazz, bossa nova and samba music.
  • Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m. The Rhythm Kings, one of the Rogue Valley's favorite blues groups, features founder and band leader David Pinsky on vocals, guitar and harmonica. The group has played at festivals all around the North West and have been together nearly 20 years.
  • Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Ed Dunsavage Trio features guitarist Ed Dunsavage along with bassist Joe Cohoon and drummer Chicken Hirsh. The group has performed in the Rogue Valley for 15 years and plays a mix of jazz, blues, ballads and swing.
  • Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m. Back Porch Swing, a Gypsy swing group, features George Rubaloff and Linda Powers. The group performs music in the classic hot club style of Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli.

The Taste of Harry & David event marks a continuing partnership between Harry & David and two local charities — ACCESS, Inc. and Rotary First Harvest.

ACCESS is one of 20 regional members of the Oregon Food Bank that help distribute food statewide to 915 food pantries, residential shelters, daycare centers and senior programs, providing over 57.8 million pounds of food each year. ACCESS has been providing emergency food and nutrition programs in Jackson County for more than 30 years.

Rotary First Harvest of Oregon is a nonprofit, non-partisan corporation established by local Rotary Clubs for charitable and educational purposes. Rotary First Harvest of Oregon obtains local food products and provides them without cost to community food banks, feeding program operators and other similar organizations.

Harry & David annually donates more than 30,000 pounds of peaches and 60,000 pounds of pears to food banks and needy Oregonians. The Taste of Harry & David has resulted in annual donations averaging 4,750 cans of food.

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