OARS Announces New Wilderness Gourmet Culinary Adventure Featuring Acclaimed Ashland Chef, Damon Jones on the Rogue River

OARS (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists)
CONTACT: Steve Markle
TEL: 209-736-2407 ext. 716
EMAIL: stevem@oars.com
WEBSITE: www.oars.com
SKYPE: stevem_oars

OARS Announces New “Wilderness Gourmet” Culinary Adventure Featuring Acclaimed Ashland Chef, Damon Jones & Fresh Oregon Fare on the Wild & Scenic Rogue River

Angels Camp, California—June 29, 2010—Veteran rafting & adventure travel outfitter, OARS (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists), announced a new addition to their popular Wilderness Gourmet series of culinary adventure vacations. This 4-day specialty departure beginning September 18th includes 45 miles of Class III whitewater rafting on Southern Oregon’s popular Rogue River, combined with expert instruction on how to prepare delectable riverside dishes. Each evening, Executive Chef Damon Jones of Larks Restaurant at the Ashland Springs Hotel, will utilize peak-season ingredients to create a perfect expression of Oregon’s bounty. A selection of award-winning, local wines will complement each evening’s meal.

Recently featured in the New York Times, OARS’ Wilderness Gourmet adventures are in high demand and growing increasingly popular among food- and wine-lovers, in addition to whitewater enthusiasts nationwide. The company currently maintains a waitlist for their September 1st trip, featuring Chef Bob Anderson, former Executive Chef of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite and currently owner of V Restaurant in Murphys, California. OARS’ 2011 gourmet trips are now booking more than a year in advance.

These gourmet whitewater rafting adventures are an elegant alternative to traditional river trips and hold a certain appeal among the foodie set. After a day of exhilarating rafting, three-course meals are served shortly after arrival at camp, including hors d’oeuvres paired with premium wines from some of the best vineyards in the West, a gourmet entrée, followed by a delectable dessert prepared riverside. OARS. Marketing Director, Steve Markle explains, “You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to enjoy these mouth-watering river trips.”

Unique to the September 18th departure, Chef Damon promises to deliver a southern Oregon ‘Farm-to-Table’ experience featuring farm-fresh produce, meats and cheeses sourced exclusively from the local “foodshed,” with fresh seafood from the Oregon coast. Recognizing the social and environmental advantages of locally grown and produced food, Chef Damon will also be accompanied by a small-scale Oregon farmer who will help to create a fully sustainable, natural dining experience on the river.

When asked, ‘Why eat local?’ Chef Damon explains: “There’s a direct relationship that’s established, and it’s more about that connection than anything else. I’m big on sustainability, and able to literally pick up the phone and speak directly to the fisherman I buy seafood from instead of having to go through third parties to place an order; not to mention, that first-hand relationship puts money back into cultivating the local economy.” Just as farmers, ranchers and fisherman are recognizing the social and environmental advantages of sustainable agriculture, consumers are coming to appreciate the benefits of fresh and sustainably-produced food. Increasingly, producers and consumers are being linked through community supported agriculture and farmers’ markets.

Chef Damon continues: “There’s also a level of pride that farmers have in the produce they grow, and sharing that with people helps consumers acquire a unique perspective on what they’re eating. The farmers know it best, it comes from having a passion and a green thumb; they’re extremely knowledgeable of the process and they work hard to sustain their land.”

A typical meal prepared by Chef Damon on this unique OARS adventure might include seared Tumbo Tuna with spicy mustard and reduced soy, followed by a grilled American Kobe flatiron steak entrée with caramelized onion, homemade Worcestershire sauce, fingerling potatoes, and andouille sautéed Brussels sprouts. For dessert, a lemon sponge cake with huckleberry compote, raspberry coulis, and vanilla whip cream rounds out the evening.

In addition to their popular Wilderness Gourmet trips, OARS also offers a series of Wine on the River adventures, featuring gourmet meals prepared by acclaimed chefs and premium wines introduced by regional vintners. As quoted in another recent article in the Los Angeles Times, OARS guest Bruce Legernes recalls, “We learned a lot about wines from the foothills and the food was absolutely marvelous. We even had duck confit, cooked in its own fat right there along the river!”

The series continues on August 17th with an exceptional, three-day whitewater rafting adventure on California’s Tuolumne River, just outside of Yosemite National Park. The Tuolumne River is one of California’s most pristine rafting runs, not to mention one of the most challenging. By day, rafters will navigate a series of thrilling rapids, stopping occasionally for mini-hikes up side canyons carved by waterfalls. In the late afternoon, Scott Klan, Winemaker for Twisted Oak Winery, will present a selection of award-winning varietals from the Sierra Foothills.

OARS’ August 23rd – 25th trip on the Tuolumne will include wines from Boyle MacDonald paired with mouth-watering menus prepared by Neil Clooney, two-time winner of Iron Chef Oregon and Executive Chef of the Dragonfly Cafe and Gardens in Ashland.

Ironstone Vineyard’s President and whitewater enthusiast, Stephen Kautz, will present his award-winning wines on an August 27th, 6-day trip on the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Salmon River alongside Executive Chef James Lehman. Considered by many to be North America’s premier alpine river experience, the Middle Fork boasts non-stop, Class III-IV whitewater, natural hot springs and excellent fishing. The Kautz family is committed to producing wines of exceptional, unparalleled quality, outstanding value and everyday approachability.


Since 1969 OARS has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport vacations, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines of the world. OARS caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries worldwide, including one-day and weekend escapes. For more information on OARS gourmet wine and culinary adventures, including a free 84-page color catalog, call OARS at 1-800-346-6277, email the company atinfo@oars.com or visit www.oars.com.