On a trip to Italy in the 1990s, Wellspent Market founder Jim Dixon realized that real extra virgin olive oil tasted much better than the olive oil he’d been using. He couldn’t bring enough of the good stuff home in his suitcase, so he started importing it.
His first shipment was a couple of cases. Jim sold some of the oil to cover the shipping costs. His friends in Portland’s restaurant community wanted more, and his business, Real Good Food, slowly became a supplier to chefs.
For years Real Good Food provided the best restaurants in town with more than 100 gallons of extra virgin olive oil every week. Local chefs also bought special vinegars, salt, grains, and other hard-to-find ingredients that Real Good Food sources locally and around the world.
Real Good Food always had a loyal following of home cooks who tolerated the erratic dock sale hours so they could get the same products their favorite restaurants used. In 2019 we opened our store on NE Couch Street.
We updated our website, too, and, after years of emails complaining about the pizzas sold by a California firm called Real Good Foods (see that s at the end?), we decided to rename our website and retail store to Wellspent Market. But Real Good Food is still alive. We own the rights here in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s now our distribution business for food service as well as our brand for the products we import.
The Pacific Northwest is home to a lot of great food, and we love to share the stories of some of our favorite local producers. We’ve got everything from home grown miso and kimchi to chili oil and chai. And, of course, Oregon olive oil.
But the world is full of people passionate about making good food, and we want to eat it, too. We not only import extra virgin olive oil from Italy, hand-harvested sea salt from Portugal, and the best capers in the world from the tiny island of Pantelleria, but we carry really tasty food from all over the world.
Jim first heard about Koda Farm’s rice several years ago while visiting olive oil and vinegar maker Albert Katz in Napa. After a day of picking Meyer lemons for Katz’s agrumato olive oil, Albert told him about the California rice grower. He gave Jim a big bag of rice, saying “I think you’ll like this.” He was right.
Called “the best rice grown in America” by Mark Bittman, Kokuho Rose is the house rice at nationally acclaimed restaurants such as Sqirl, Superiority Burger, Porridge + Puffs, Marlow & Sons, and Baroo. In Portland, Koda Farms rice is served at Tusk and Double Dragon.
Robin Koda came to Real Good Food in the summer of 2019 to talk about her family’s farming history and the California rice industry. We love her as much as the rice her family grows!
Marco Frattaroli’s Tuscan Bakery produced some of the first good bread in Portland back in the 1980s, when he wanted to make the kind of bread he’d eaten as a child in Italy.
He left the bread business to open Bastas on NW 21st and after more than 20 years, it morphed into the wine bar Carina. He’s still making great Italian food at Cibo, his restaurant on SE Division.
When Marco couldn’t find good ingredients locally, he made them himself. He produces more than 40 pounds of fresh mozzarella every week for Cibo. In July, 2019 Marco came to Real Good Food and taught us (and 20 or Real Good customers) the art of mozzarella stretching.