The Lunch Show

lunchshowThe Lunch Show is located in downtown Ashland, Oregon and features local and seasonal fare. The Lunch Show is owned by Elisa Boulton, who manages the restaurants, and Dave Winzig, the head chef. The Lunch Show focuses on using fresh, quality, local ingredients. Elisa explains, “It’s always been really important to us to use good quality ingredients and local ingredients. We make everything from scratch here. We make our own condiments, we make our own pickles, and we bake the bread fresh everyday. All the meat is cured here and we buy from local suppliers as much as possible.”

According to Elisa, Dave bases his dishes, “On what is available seasonally. He will change things up depending on what the local market has. We buy a lot from local farmers and try to keep it simple.” Elisa spoke about some of the challenges of getting locally sourced items. She explained, “It takes a lot of effort and coordination. I source directly with the farmers so it’s a lot trickier than just calling up one vendor and ordering everything we need.”

When asked why The Lunch Show chooses to use local food, Elisa replied that, “The quality of local food around here is really good, and to me, it’s just so important to support local farmers. I love knowing where my food was grown, and I love knowing who grew it. The quality is way better than if you buy it and truck it in; it’s going to be fresher. I think that eating food that is grown in the same area you live in is really important.”  Locally sourced items include produce, cheese, meat, wine, beer, kombucha, and locally roasted coffee.  In addition to local food, the Lunch Show serves GMO-free products. Elisa explains that, “Pretty much everything we use is organic; everything is GMO-free.”

The Lunch Show has recently expanded its hours and is open from 11 am – 3 pm. Current menu items include the Pastrueban, the Yammich, other sandwiches, salads, homemade sodas, and more. To view their menu or to order online for pick-up, visit https://thelunchshowashland.com.

Siskiyou Sustainable Coop

Siskiyou Sustainable Coop

CSAThe Siskiyou Sustainable Coop has been serving the Rogue Valley for thirteen years. There are eight farms in the Coop: Seven Seeds Farm, Dancing Bear Farm, White Oak Farm, Sun Spirit Farm, Wandering Fields, Barking Moon Farm, L & R Family Farm, and Wolf Gulch Farm. All of the farms products are certified organic.

Tom and Maud Powell are the directors of the Siskiyou Coop. Maud works directly with Coop members. She explains, “I really enjoy interacting with people and helping them figure out what size box they want and if it’s right for them.” Throughout the season Maud sends the members recipes and helps them figure out new ways to cook the food that they receive in the CSA share.

Running the Siskiyou Sustainable Coop involves a lot of coordinating and organization, which is overseen by Tom Powell. “We have eight farms that are all growing for one CSA so there’s a lot of planning that goes into it, like figuring out who is going to grow what and when because we want the boxes to be filled out and to be diverse,” explains Maud. Although Maud and Tom take on the role of coordinators, the cooperative makes all of its decisions as a group. In order to fill their boxes and get them ready for delivery, members of each farm meet at a central location once week to prepare the boxes and drop off their products. The shares are then dropped off at several pick-up locations throughout the Rogue Valley.

The Coop has grown in size over the years. According to Maud, they had about sixty members in their first year. They currently have two hundred and fifty members. Their growth, aside from the quality of the product, is due in part to their Workplace Partnerships program. The Workplace Partnerships is a program in which the Siskiyou Coop partners up with local businesses and offers their employees a discount on CSA membership. So far, the Coop has partnered with Lithia, Asante, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. To learn more about The Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative visit http://www.siskiyoucoop.com.

 

Wolf Gulch Farm

Wolf Gulch Farm

wolf gulch

Wolf Gulch Farm, owned and operated by Maud and Tom Powell, is located in the Little Applegate. The farm is approximately three acres in size and its products are certified organic. The products grown at the farm have changed throughout the years. Maud explains, “It’s been this whole learning process of finding out what works well on our farm, what we like to grow, what’s profitable, and what there are markets for. What we’ve found is that our property is best-suited to growing seed crops.” As such, about half of the farms production is seed crops; in any given year Wolf Gulch Farm grows, “Somewhere between fifteen to twenty different types of seeds. We almost always grow lettuce, tomatoes, onions, leeks, parsnips, kale, and a range of other seed crops” that also include flowers, such as zinnias and sunflowers. In addition to seeds, they also grow produce, which is sold “almost exclusively” through CSA’s. During the summer and fall seasons, Wolf Gulch Farm sells their produce through the Siskiyou Sustainable Coop. During the winter months, they sell their produce via their own Wolf Gulch Farm CSA.

Maud spoke about some of the challenges of farming, including improving the soil and the Rogue Valley’s limited water supply. Maud explains, “We have a heavy clay soil but since 1998 we’ve been using all the practices you hear about to build organic matter in your soil. We’ve been doing cover cropping, green manure cropping, and using compost. It’s been really cool to see that after all this time we have a lot of topsoil built up in our fields. It’s really nice to see that those practices work.” Regarding water issues Maud explains, “We don’t have a lot of water but seed crops don’t need as much water as annuals.” Because of the drought, they have been, “Doing more water catchment and just being more careful during the winter about collecting as much water as possible.” Due to the drought, Wolf Gulch Farm suspended their winter CSA program for the first time last year, but they hope to re-start it this year.

When asked about the rewards of farming, Maud said,“ There’s so many things about it that I love… It’s really rewarding that our job is to grow food for people. It’s incredible. It’s such an honor… The seed we sell is going all over the country. The fact that the seeds from our farm are being grown in all these gardens and farms around the country is mind-blowing… It’s amazing to me.” To find out more about Wolf Gulch Farm’s seeds, visit http://www.siskiyouseeds.com.

 

Eric Bell, Standing Stone Brewing Company

IMG_8409Eric Bell is the head chef at Standing Stone Brewing Company located in Ashland, OR. Bell’s commitment to sustainable practices and local food is reflected in his work at Standing Stone. Bell explains, “I love working with local farmers. Local, healthy food is really important to me. We raise our cows and our own lambs. We can tell you the entire story of our animals’ lives, what they’ve eaten, and how we’ve raised them. It’s a transparent system that you can go see anytime you want; we never hide anything, it’s out in the open.” Visitors are welcome to tour Standing Stones farm.

In addition to local meat, Standing Stone uses other locally sourced ingredients such as produce, wine, and olive oil; they also brew their own beer. When asked why he cares so deeply about local food, Bell replied, “That’s a little different for me than it might be if you were to ask someone else because I am a chef. No matter what, if you buy food from a farmer at the market it will taste better than what you buy in a store. It’s traveled less of a distance, it’s fresher, and it’s probably an heirloom variety.”

Quality is important to Bell, and as such much of Standing Stones food is made from scratch. “We make our own mayonnaise, I ferment Sriracha, and we make our own kimchi and hot sauce,” explains Bell. All dressings, including ketchup, are also made in-house, from scratch. In addition, 90% of the food at Standing Stone is GMO-free. Bell personally researches every single ingredient that passes through his kitchen; something, which he says, “is an ongoing process that takes constant research.”

When asked why he is passionate about sustainability, Bell responds, “I have children and I care about this planet and the world we are leaving for them.” Bell has done his part to help make Standing Stone an even more sustainable business. “We have very little garbage, we have almost no waste. We recycle everything and what we don’t recycle we compost on our own farm. When I started here we had two dumpsters for garbage and there was talk of getting a third one and we all thought ‘What? Wait a minute, this isn’t right, we need to rethink this process’, so we’ve gone completely in the other direction. Now, we have one 32 gallon household-size garbage can and that’s it.” Olive oil used in the kitchen is purchased in reusable 55 gallon drums so that there is “never any waste, there’s no container that you throw away ever.”

Two of Bell’s favorite dishes that are currently on the menu are the lemongrass beef salad and the kimchi burger. For further information about Standing Stone, or to view their menu, visit http://www.standingstonebrewing.com.

 

Roxane Beigel-Coryell

536421_899678829550_1684165445_nAs a college campus, SOU faces some unique waste challenges. Roxane Beigel-Coryell, SOU’s Sustainability & Recycling Coordinator, explains that the student body population, “turns over every few years and we constantly have new people coming in.” Because SOU’s student body population changes so frequently, educating students about what can and cannot be recycled is an ongoing and often laborious process. Roxane explains that recycling standards are, “very different community to community which adds to the confusion when people are coming to campus from Portland or even as close as Medford where the rules are different even though we’re neighbors.” In order to educate students, garbage bins and recycling bins are color-coded and have signs on them that explain the proper usage of each bin. Roxane also coordinates student outreach by hosting events and activities that focus on waste management and sustainability.

In spite of educational efforts, two food-related items are incorrectly recycled at high rates: Coffee cups and pizza boxes. Disposable coffee cups are not recyclable in Ashland, yet they are frequently tossed into recycling bins throughout SOU’s campus. Often, the cups still contain small amounts of liquid, which can leak out onto other items in the bins, such as paper, thereby rendering the contents unrecyclable. Likewise, pizza boxes are often incorrectly put into recycling bins. Roxane explains, “some communities will take them for recycling but it’s a very expensive process because of the grease that gets onto the cardboard.” Cleaning the grease off is a “very intense process.”

In general, “food waste is a really big challenge for us, not only from the waste made by people who take more food than they are going to eat, but also just in-house, in the kitchen.”  Currently, pre-consumer food waste is sent to Recology Ashland to be composted. Post-consumer food scraps go in the trash, but various groups at SOU are interested in creating composting programs that include post-consumer waste.

Another type of food waste on campus is seen at the end of the year when students move out of the dorms. “We have been trying to partner more with the SOU food pantry to collect the students ‘non-perishable food at the end of the year because it’s a big waste stream. They buy a lot of packaged, non-perishable stuff and when it’s time to move out they don’t want to take it home, so we are trying to get the food pantry to take it.” This is one of many projects going on at SOU. Roxane revealed that, “A lot of students are very concerned with food waste issues on campus and I think they’re just trying to find the right way to plug into it.”

Michael Antonopoulos, Ton Ton’s Artisan Affections

IMG_20130225_110240Ton Ton’s Artisan Affections, founded by Michael Antonopoulos, has been in business since 2012. Antonopoulos is passionate about his products and the community where his business is located. He sells his products, which include grain-free cookies, roasted chickpeas, and hummus, to local retail stores; they are also available at Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Markets. The face-to-face nature of the markets has allowed Antonopoulos to “develop a rapport and interplay with the community.”Antonopoulos claims that consumers at the market provide valuable insight and allow him to, “make adjustments and be aware of what people are really looking for.”

In the last three years, Ton Ton’s Artisan Affections has expanded, and new plans are on the horizon, including a gluten-free subscription box that will consist of goods from various Rogue Valley producers. Antonopoulos is also in the process of creating a marketing campaign which will help spread the word about Ton Ton’s Artisan Affections to locations outside of the Rogue Valley. In order to meet larger product demands, however, some changes will be needed.

Currently, Ton Ton’s products are produced in a shared rental kitchen in Talent, OR. Although Antonopoulos notes that the rental kitchen has served him well for the past few years, it has limited oven space, which restricts his production ability.  Antonopoulos hopes to vacate the kitchen by April 2016 and open up a new, larger processing facility, which will meet all of his storage and baking needs. Staying true to his commitment to community, Antonopoulos plans to rent out the new facility to other local food producers who are in need of a space. To find our more about Ton Ton’s Artisan Affections, visit their website at www.artisanaffections.com or stop by their booth at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Markets.

Tom Marks, Organic Produce Warehouse

tom marksTom Marks, founder of Organic Produce Warehouse, has been involved in many different roles in the food system. “I have been a farmer, I have opened two restaurants, I have been a produce manager, and I’ve worked in natural health food stores,” explains Marks.  About ten years ago Marks was working for another company, selling produce. His boss at the time offered to pay him in money, or in fruits and vegetables; Marks chose the later and began opening his own accounts.

From there on out, “One thing led to another and I realized that we didn’t have a local organic food facility, and that most of the organic produce being sold in the area was going through distribution sites in Portland and Seattle and then coming back to us on a truck everyday.” This process “seemed absurd” to Marks, and he decided he “Wanted to provide an opportunity for people to support local business and get their organic produce locally.” As a result, Organic Produce Warehouse was opened.

The goal of Organic Produce Warehouse, according to Marks, is to “Provide the infrastructure needed to have a thriving food system. In order for us to have food security we need to have healthy food businesses and in order to have healthy food businesses you need an advocate, you need someone in the food business who is going to help you succeed.” OPW strives to be that advocate. They work hard to connect with local businesses and consumers alike.  In addition to selling products grown or made by local people, they also keep community needs in mind. Currently, they are exploring the possibility of opening up a shared use / incubator kitchen.

If consumers in the Rogue Valley want to know which items are supplied by Organic Produce Warehouse, Marks suggests a simple method: Just ask. Produce managers will be able to tell you which products come from Organic Produce Warehouse. To find out more about Organic Produce Warehouse, visit http://opwfresh.com.

Risa Buck, Recology Ashland

Risa Buck

Risa Buck

One of the biggest challenges associated with waste disposal is consumer education. Risa Buck is the Waste Zero Specialist at Recology Ashland, a waste and recycling company that serves the Ashland and Talent area. Part of Buck’s job includes educating the public about proper disposal, recycling and waste prevention options. Buck speaks with local residents and businesses at the recycle center, retirement homes, schools or at Boy Scout meetings, and the Boys and Girls Club for example. She helps organize recycling opportunities at events such as the 4th of July celebration, Talent Harvest Festival and Bear Creek Salmon Festival, for example. She focuses on “low-hanging fruit” topics, which she describes as, “Opportunities that are available to people if they choose, like recycling.” Buck’s topics span from “A-Z”, but the focus is always on reducing the amount of waste that could end up in a landfill.

Food-related waste is a particularity tricky part of the waste disposal stream. The best way to reduce food scraps being trashed is to AVOID wasting food in the first place. Another way to deal with food scraps is by composting leftover food material at home. Currently, Recology Ashland does not have a post-consumer composting program for residential customers. They do, however, have a composting program for pre-consumer fruits and vegetables for businesses only. Fruits and vegetables must be uncooked and unprocessed in order to be accepted. These products can come, “from restaurants, coffee houses, SOU, bed and breakfasts” and similar businesses. Buck explains that the Department of Environmental Quality is concerned about post-consumer compost for three major reasons: Effluent (liquid from the composting process that could potentially go into streams and water tables), odor, and the ability of composting material to attract rodents. Recology does have a yard debris program for residential and commercial customers and offers composting classes each summer at the recycle center.

Buck says that, “We would be delighted to offer community curbside food scrap pick-up. From our perspective, there’s two big questions to answer: One is what composting process makes the most sense, and two, whether the community is willing to pay for the cost of this service.” If you would like to see a post-consumer food-composting program in your community, Buck suggests contacting your elected county and city officials. To find out more about Recology Ashland, visit recologyashland.com.

Oshala Farm

je-calendula-pickingOshala Farm, located in the Applegate Valley, is owned and managed by Elise and Jeff Higley. The farm, first established in 1906 by the Hill family, spans across 113 acres, about 50 of which is farmland. This season, 24 acres are in production. According to Elise Higley, “We grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and tree crops.” Oshala Farm also produces their own teas and line of spices, which are for sale on their online store.

Elise spoke about the challenges and rewards of farming. “The most rewarding part is hearing from people down the line that “I had your teas” or  “this is the best squash I’ve ever had” or things like that. It’s just a really great feeling because it is so much hard work. To know that your product got somewhere and brought health or a smile to somebody’s face makes you feel really good; it makes it all worth it.”

As for the challenges, Elise says that, “Farming is very physically demanding. You need to find the right people to work with that are as crazy as you are, that are willing to work long hours and get up in the dark and stay out until dark, and help you harvest with headlights in the freezing cold, and are as passionate about providing local food. It’s challenging to be able to find people who are willing to do that and pay them what you feel is worth their time.”

There are other challenges, as well, “The cost of infrastructure is definitely challenging. It’s hard to get loans on your overall, everyday costs. It’s easier to get loans for equipment.” Elise stated, “We don’t have a lot of mechanism on our farm for our veggies so it takes longer to harvest things and it costs more money. The biggest barrier is being able to provide quality food at a competitive price.” Oshala Farm does its part to help bring fresh, nutritious food to individuals who may not be able to easily afford it. “We do offer a discount section for our seconds or blemished items. We always have volunteers come work on the farm, which is great, too. We love to give them lots of food.”  To find out more about Oshala farm, or to purchase their products, visit http://www.oshalafarm.com.

Photo provided by  David Gribb Photography.

The Future of Food and Farming, November 19th at 7pm

Join the Rogue Valley Food System Network for a community discussion about The Future of Food and Farming in the Rogue Valley on Wednesday, November 19th at 7pm (Doors open at 6:45) at the Medford Public Library (205 S Central Ave).

Food and farming have a future in the Rogue Valley, and a network of allies are working to make sure that future is bright. Come learn from a panel of community stakeholders what a “food system” can do, and how efforts are expanding local consumption of locally grown food, creating points of market access for emerging farmers, and ensuring a reliable supply of the right kind of farmland. See attached for more information or visit www.facebook.com/rvfoodsystem.

Please RSVP for this free event. (If the link does not work for you, copy and paste this addresshttp://bit.ly/RogueFoodFuture)

We hope to see you there!

Future of Food Rogue Valley Nov19_8x11_final

For more information, contact Hannah Ancel, Community Food System Coordinator, ACCESS

541-618-4019
hancel@accesshelps.org

http://www.rvfoodsystem.org