By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Duyn remembered for company, community roles

Carlton Mayor Kathie Oriet said Duyn was very supportive of the local community. She said that extended, for example, to the donation of 800 hot dogs for the community’s annual National Night Out.

Oriet said the business had a great reputation, as its many restaurant clients were quick to attest, both privately and publicly. And she added, “He was very good to support the local happenings in town as best he could.”

Carlton Farms was founded in 1956 by Henry “Hank” Duyn as the Carlton Packing Company. His brother, Carl — John’s father — joined him in the venture in 1958.

Scott Bernards said he had known John Duyn his entire adult life, both as owner of the neighboring property and as the one who maintains the farm’s irrigation system. He described much history between them, going back to their fathers.

“He was very gracious,” Bernards said. “He cared about people.”

He said Duyn truly cared about his employees, realizing they played a big part in the company’s success. In fact, he said some employees were second generation.

He said Duyn always supported community events, including the Yamhill County Fair’s annual livestock auction.

Every year, Duyn would purchase a steer at the auction from his son, Wade, Bernards said. “I appreciated that,” he said.

In the summer of 2002, Duyn hired a marketing group to rebrand the company. In the process, it adopted the current name of Carlton Farms, according to a News-Register article.

“We source our animals from producers with proven quality and a background that matches our growing requirements,” Duyn said at the time. “Carlton Farms better reflects the procurement process we have to ensure quality foods that help us guarantee consumers an enjoyable dining experience.”

Duyn said he was banking on the campaign to create believers in new circles. He said he wanted company products to inspire confidence in consumers, and he seemed to largely succeed.

In his recently published book, “Portland Food Cart Stories: Behind the Scenes with the City’s Culinary Entrepreneurs,” author Steven Shomler praised the company in general, and Duyn and Jake Burns, its vice president of operations, in particular.

Shomler said he noted one of Portland’s food cart featuring Carlton Farms pork. As the year progressed, he said, he noticed a number of carts were proclaiming their allegiance to Carlton Farms meat.

“Under John’s leadership, this local family business has flourished to become a very well-known and prominent local brand,” the author noted.

In his book, Shomler discusses a tour of food cart row in which he and Duyn sampled fare from seven different vendors.

“It was quite fun to see how excited food cart owners were to have the president of Carlton Farms at their food cart,” Shomler said in his book. “John earned a tremendous amount of my respect that day. He was very kind and was genuinely interested in each person we met. The encouraging way he interacted with the small business owners we met with that way was impressive.

“It was apparent that John loved food and also that he was quite knowledgeable about many different kinds of cuisine.”

Shomler said he later visited Carlton Farms for a behind-the-scenes look.

“When they say ‘handcrafted,” they are serious, and you can taste that difference in every bite,” he concluded. “In my opinion, the food carts that feature Carlton Farms on their menus are making a very wise business decision.”

A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at the Performing Arts Center at Jesuit High School, 9000 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Portland. Public visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, at Macy & Son Funeral Directors in downtown McMinnville.

Memorial contributions may be made to Jesuit High School or the Trappist Abbey, care of Macy & Son.

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