Standing Stone Brewing Company

Standing Stone Farm

Is a Local Drumstick a Better Drumstick? We Think it is

Spring is in the air on our farm and brewpub, and we are breaking out of the farm entranceshell of restaurant norms and serving our own Standing Stone Farm chicken on our menu and specials board! This fresh start stems from our priority to source socially and environmentally responsible ingredients for our kitchen and brewery, and we’re especially proud to bring this delicious, local option to our beloved customers.

A little background: We started farming in October 2011, raising hens and cattle for restaurant eggs and beef on a 265-acre pasture just a few minutes down the road. These animals co-exist on the land using a rotational grazing system, in which the animal species follow each other in a pattern around the field to maximize land health and natural fertilization. Last spring, we startedtwo chickens raising more poultry for meat, too, and constructing an on-site poultry processing facility, completed in January 2013.

Our Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA)-licensed facility enables us to hatch, raise and process the chickens ourselves, and bring fresh and healthful protein straight from the farm to our kitchen. We hatch eggs from our existing flock and raise them outdoors on pasture before bringing them back to our poultry processing site to be prepared for kitchen use. This farm-to-menu chicken never travels further than one mile away in its lifetime!

Out in the field, we start our chicks on organic chicken feed from the time they hatch. They then graze freely on pasture, following the cows and sheep in a pattern around the field, and organic supplemental feed. The entire time it proc roomtakes to raise a full-grown chicken, from hatching to harvesting, is about 13 weeks, compared with 6 weeks for conventional chickens. These Heritage Breed birds are also physically capable of living healthy and naturally for years, compared with conventional chickens that are bred to live only a few weeks until processing.

Based on our menu needs, we will raise over 5,000 chickens a year to meet brewpub demands. Right now, we are the only restaurant in the state of Oregon to have our own processing facility as a resource, and quite possibly one of the first in the nation to have this operation on such a large scale. We are delighted to bring this fresh-food undertaking to Ashland, OR!

This new poultry-sourcing method is creating a big transformation in our kitchen. Our chicken recipes are starting in the field, and the food offerings are changing to reflect the meat that comes from smaller breed chickens, such as poultry cooked on-the-bone using more traditional methods. Our Chicken and Rosemary Noodle Soup now features our farm chickenchicken year-round, since the flavorful meat is great for roasting and boiling. There’s lots more adjustments to come with the operation launching into full swing early summer, so keep an eye on our upcoming new menu and specials board.

At Standing Stone, we all agree this whole practice certainly gives us a deeper respect for the food that goes onto our plates, and we feel it’s important to have a closer relationship with the meals on the table. We’re certain this is an all-around win-win for our brewpub, customers and community since the grazing system we use benefits the land and animals, our employees get to be involved in all the steps, and we are able to serve a fresh product that tastes delicious!

4th Annual Pumpkins & Pints in Our Pastures

NEW LOCATION UPDATE: The rain this last week has made our pasture pretty muddy, so we’re moving the festivities to Standing Stone! Same pumpkins, same live music, same yummy fare and a cozy new space. If the weather is nice, we’ll take it all outside to the patio for fresh air and autumn mountain views. If it rains, we’ll stay warm inside by the wood-fired oven. Either way, we hope to see you downtown on Sunday, October 21st, 12-5pm, at Standing Stone Brewing Co at 101 Oak St.

It’s that time of year again… We’ll gather up the grill, lots of seasonal beverages and food and loads of carving-ready pumpkins and haul them all to Standing Stone Farm for our Pumpkins and Pints celebration! This 4th annual all-ages get-together will take place Sunday, October 21st from Noon-5pm. We’ll spend the afternoon enjoying plenty of family-friendly fun on our pastures on Eagle Mill Rd. in Ashland, OR.

Just like years past, we have lots on the slate for a relaxing day outdoors with good friends, yummy fare and fresh fall air. We’ll have piles of pumpkins and carving tools for a great, big jack-o-lantern gathering. Feel free to bring your own special pumpkin, or carve one of ours! We’ll enjoy live music from Jeff Kloetzel and friends on guitar, mandolin and harmonica, as well as tunes from Standing Stone employees Brandon Schilling and Sam Cathcart. We’ll bring our refrigerated trailer to serve beer on tap (including Okotberfest Lager) and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as lots of food to enjoy from the grill.

This seasonal celebration comes just in time for the one-year anniversary of our Standing Stone Farm Project. Last October, we leased 265 acres of land to launch a farm to supply our brewpub with a local, sustainable source for meat and eggs. A year later, we’ve populated the pastures with cows, sheep, chickens, bees, and three guard dogs. The livestock and chickens follow each other in a rotating pattern around the farm, rejuvenating and replenishing the soil as they go, while the bees help pollinate the plants in the area and give us honey. Now, we get all our beef exclusively from our own cows, as well as all the eggs we can handle, and there’s lots more to come. It’s been great fun with great rewards!

To offer a better idea of how our farm operates, we’ll have Standing Stone employees on-hand hosting tours throughout the day. If you’d like to learn more about our multi-species rotational grazing and meet our animals, or if you’d just like to enjoy a stroll through the fields, be sure to bring a pair of your favorite farm boots for hiking around the hills and through the grass.

Happy Fall season to all, and we hope to see you at the 4th Annual Pumpkins and Pints!

By in Food, Standing Stone Farm 2

Sweet Rewards of Our Honey Harvest

SSBC Beekeeper Danielle with hives (photo: R. Koning)

We’re buzzing with sweet joy as we welcome our first batch of honey from our bees on Standing Stone Farm! We’ve been tending to our beloved honeybees all summer long, and as we prepare to wrap them up warmly for the winter we delight in a sweet treat from our bustling hives in return.

Busy hive entrance

We started beekeeping on our farmland earlier this summer with four single-level beehives. These colorful boxes live in a sunny pasture in the middle on our farmland on Eagle Mill Rd. in Ashland,OR, surrounded by bushes of blackberries to supply plenty of pollen. As our hive populations expanded over the summer we added several more levels to our hives, giving our bee friends and their queens plenty of room to grow their families and make delicious honey.

In September, as the warm, sunny weather began winding down, our Standing Stone beekeepers took a course from Bee Girl of Ashland, OR all about winterizing beehives and harvesting honey. Here, they learned that honeybees need plenty of reserve honey to supply their diet during the cold winter months when they don’t leave their hives. They also do well in small, combined hives that contain their warmth and don’t let cold wind gusts inside.

SSBC Beekeeper Rachel preparing honey (photo: C. Meeks)

After the class, our beekeepers spent a day inspecting and consolidating the hives to prepare them for the cold winter months. They left the bees with enough honey to keep them full with food while pulling the extra honey that was leftover once the bees were settled in their new, cozy spaces.

Back at the restaurant, we harvested our honey using an old-fashioned “crush and strain” method, pushing the honey through a fine mesh strainer to separate the liquid and wax. Once finished, we filled five liter jars with fresh, delicious honey to use in our restaurant. We’ll be sure to use it in dishes that let its natural sweetness shine through, so stay tuned to special’s board for honey delights coming soon.

Final product – fresh, raw honey! (photo: R. Koning)

To enjoy local honey at home visit your community’s farmers market or food co-op and stock up for winter. The sweet treat is a delicious traditional aid for soothing a chilly-weather cold or flu, and a yummy ingredient in cooking and baking or homemade mead. And if you’re interested in starting your own hives at home, be sure to visit the Bee Girl website for resources, tips and community classes in Southern Oregon.

Enjoy Farm-Fresh Specials and Tours During Eat Local Week 2012

We’re chomping down on one of our favorite local celebrations of the year – Eat Local Week, organized by THRIVE (The Rogue Initiative for a Vital Economy). This year the festivities run September 7th-16th, and include great ways for recognizing the fresh and fantastic food that’s grown, raised or produced in our region. It’s also a chance for Southern Oregon businesses to highlight local ingredients in food, offer tastings, teach class demonstrations, host tours and more.

For the celebration, our specials board at Standing Stone is chalked extra full of local farm names and the fresh ingredients they’re bringing us during the peak harvest season in the Rogue Valley. We’re also featuring eggs and beef from our farmland on our menu and as specials every day. And of course, the beer on tap at Standing Stone is always locally brewed, served fresh from our brewing tanks to your pint glass.

This year we’re serving up a Standing Stone farm tour on the menu of Rogue Valley events for Eat Local Week. Friday, September 14th at 6pm we’re talking a guided walk around our pastures and everyone is welcome to join! We’ll be introducing all our farm animals, talking about our compost program, and enjoying the view from our hillside on Eagle Mill Rd. We recommend bringing your favorite farm boots as there’s lots of ground to cover and tall grass to stroll through.

To get there from Standing Stone, follow Oak St. to the very bottom (about a mile down the road) and take a right on to Eagle Mill Rd. Immediately after the overpass, our farm entrance is the next driveway on the left. We’ll have lots of room for bicycle parking inside our pastures and encourage everyone to use their two-wheeled transportation to enjoy the fresh air and great views.

Remember, there are lots of other fun ways to get involved with Eat Local Week, too. Here are some other suggestions for celebrating this tasty annual affair:

  • Pledge to eat local all week with the Eat Local Challenge. Record your participation and be entered to win a gift certificate for the Rogue Valley Local Foods Online Market.
  • Attend one (or more) of the many film showings with the Food for Thought Film Festival.
  • Visit your favorite weekly Growers and Crafters Market and meet the farmers and producers this week is all about! For the occasion, in addition bringing together wonderful local vendors showcasing their fresh and tasty foods, the market will host chef demonstrations and tomato tastings.
  • Sign up for the Rogue Flavor Farm Tour and Dinner, Sunday, September 16th. The daylong adventure includes tours of farms in Eagle Point and Sams Valley, followed by food and music at local winery, Cliff Creek Cellars.

We hope to see you on our Standing Stone Farm tour, and in the brewpub enjoying any of our locally inspired dishes. On Saturdays, delight in heaps of fresh goodies at the Growers and Crafters Market right outside our front doors on Oak St. from 8:30-1:30pm, and stop in for breakfast or lunch once you’ve worked up appetite from perusing the yummy fare.

By in Standing Stone Farm 2

SSBC Farm Project Herding Food From Meadow to Menu

Ten months after hatching our Standing Stone Farm Project, we’re thrilled to share that there’s lots of hustle and bustle on our flourishing farmland! Since its launch last October, we’ve been working every day to ensure we can send a range of sustainably produced food from the farm to the tables at our brewpub.  Now we’re seeing food we’ve collected or raised on our menu every day, including lots of special dishes featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients from just down the road on our pasture.

Since the launch of this farming endeavor we’re happy to announce we’ve expanded our herds and flocks of animals, harvested fruit from local plants and trees, and added new animal species into our rotational grazing system. With this practice, all our farm dwellers follow each other in a pattern around the pasture, improving the quality of the land and forming a symbiotic relationship. We also welcomed a tractor that we won in a video contest last winter to help us with ongoing projects like digging irrigation, turning compost and transporting chicken housing.

Here’s the latest on how we’re using the fruits of our labor in the restaurant and brewery, and what you can expect to see in the future as our Farm Project continues growing:

Cows: Our burgers and steaks are made with 100% Standing Stone beef, provided by our 24 Black Angus cattle. These cows are antibiotic and hormone free, and major players in our rotational grazing system, chopping down grass and fertilizing our fields. When the beef comes from our farm to our kitchen, every steak is hand-cut and burgers are ground on-site to be used in our menu and as mouth-watering specials.

Chickens: We have new chickens hatching all the time! We’re continually incubating and raising heritage breed chickens, including Delaware, New Hampshire Reds, and Buff Opringtons. In the near future, they’ll provide us with fresh, free-range poultry for our menu, straight from the farm. We also have eggs coming to the restaurant daily. We’re now open for breakfast every Saturday and Sunday year-round, cooking up Chilaquiles, French Toast, Breakfast Burritos and more with the dozens of eggs coming in with each delivery. You can also try our eggs in the Cobb Salad, Daily Special Quiche and rotating desserts, including Crème Brulee and Bread Pudding.

Sheep: Our pastures are home to 32 ewes, rams and lambs. These purebred St. Croix and Dorpers are the early beginnings of our herd and will someday provide the lamb for our menu. In the mean time, they’re integral players in our rotational grazing system, paving the way for healthy pastures for our chickens.

Bees: On the crest of the pasture we have four large boxes buzzing with busy colonies of honeybees. These colorful hives are home to bees that pollinate our fields and make delicious local honey. Look for specials made with our Standing Stone honey this fall, after we harvest for the first time.

Blackberries: It’s the time of year when blackberry bushes are teeming with ripe, sweet fruit. We’re sending groups of our staff to harvest berries throughout the week, and they’re returning with buckets-full for making shortcakes, cheesecakes, galettes and more! Watch for even more blackberry specials on the way.

(photo: R. Koning)

Come in and taste for yourself the fresh bounty we’re bringing in everyday. View our menu online with every-day dishes featuring meat and eggs from our pastures down the road. You can also follow us on Twitter to hear about daily specials, and be the first to know when we create new dishes with ingredients that made their way from our farm to your fork.

Pints for a Purpose Benefits Bee Girl – Kick Off 6/25

We’re thrilled to announce some buzz-worthy news: our next Pints for a Purpose recipient is Bee Girl. This non-profit’s mission is to preserve honeybee populations, beekeepers and food resources through outreach, education and mentorship.

Through Pints for a Purpose, Bee Girl will receive a portion of sales from every pint of specialty beer sold for three weeks, from June 25th through July 15th. This occasion, we’ve appropriately named the specialty beer Pints for a Purpose Ale. This brew will boast golden honey color, cracker-like aroma and a crisp, lightly hoppy finish. Its perfect for enjoying on a warm day outside with the plants our local bees help pollinate.

To sweeten the deal, we’re holding a kick-off party Monday, June 25th from 5-9pm. During that time, we’ll donate 50 cents per pint of specialty beer sold to Bee Girl, for up to 50 pints. If we sell more than 50 pints of the brew, we’ll donate $1.00 per beer to Bee Girl, doubling their donation for the evening. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a seasonal craft beer while supporting an important local cause!

This employee-chosen organization to receive donations from Standing Stone couldn’t have been picked at a better time, as this week is National Pollinator Week. Across the country, communities are recognizing and celebrating the valuable ecosystem services provided by pollinating bees, as well as birds, butterflies, bats and other insects. We’re delighted to join the festivities by benefiting a local cause that works to spread the word about the positive impact to our environment and our taste buds honeybees provide.

More about Bee Girl: This organization offers community classes, private consultations and classroom visits to educate grown-ups and kids alike about the history, biology and culture of bees. Founder Sarah Red-Laird offers a helpful list of five things anyone can do to help your local bee population.

1. Buy honey and other bee products like pollen and propolis locally. Not only will you be supporting your local economy, you can meet your beekeepers and ask them about the honey.

2. Plant a pollinator garden. Dandelions are one plant in particular bees love in the springtime. And stay away from pesticides, as many may not have bee warnings on the labels.

3. Eat more organic food. By eating foods that are grown without the use of pesticides (that will harms bees), you are directly voting for good food production practices.

4. Write to your lawmakers and support public policy that supports our honey bees, and their pollinator cousins. Sign the petition for the Highways BEE Act.

5. KEEP BEES! You can make a home in your backyard, garden, farm or rooftop, and Bee Girl has lots of resources to get you started.

This round of Pints for a Purpose comes at a great time as we welcome our own bees to our Standing Stone Farm. We have four boxes full of buzzing pollinators happily making honey for our restaurant and pollinating plants on the land, created under the guidance of Bee Girl, of course. Stay tuned for news of our first batch of spun honey coming to the restaurant soon, sure to appear in dishes on our Specials Board. Right now, in recognition of Pollinator Week, we’re featuring Milk and Honey Ale Ice Cream with Wild Bee Honey and Lavendar Glaze and garnished with Zunni Farms Pollen and Blackberries – a sweet, locally inspired treat!

Be sure to stop in for this upcoming round of Pints for a Purpose to support Bee Girl! Southern Oregon’s honeybees will thank you.

Photo and Video Recap: Rogue Valley Farm Tour with Joel Salatin

We want to share some photos and a video from our memorable afternoon last month with author, lecturer and holistic farmer, Joel Salatin. Joel came to the Rogue Valley in March for a full weekend of tours and presentations on sustainable farming and eating, and the 2012 Rogue Valley Farm Faire.

The Jackson County Local Action Coalition (JCLAC) organized the multi-day affair, and we were thrilled to be a part of Saturday’s Rogue Valley Farm Tour 2012, with our friends at Valley View Beef.

After a fresh, local lunch in Valley View’s barn, we spent the afternoon with Joel and 60 other guests strolling the acres of our farmland on Eagle Mill Rd. in Ashland, OR. Our farm manager, Brandon Schilling, led the tour of our multi-species intensive grazing operation, where our cows, goats and chickens rotate across different sections of pasture. Joel joined in with guidance and input for sustainable agriculture strategies. We also visited our compost site on the farm, where we’re turning pre- and post-consumer food waste from our restaurant kitchen into nutrient rich soil.

The Mail Tribune/Daily Tidings joined us and took video of the Standing Stone portion of the tour, which you can view here for a recap and to learn more about our farm project.

We want to thank everyone who joined us for the full day of learning and touring, even with cold rain and wind leading us to thoughts of warm indoors.

If you’re interested in learning more about local food and farms and earth-friendly living, be sure to stop by Rogue Valley Earth Day at the ScienceWorks museum this Saturday, April 21st in Ashland, OR. There will be informational and educational talks, exhibits and entertainment for the whole family, 11-4pm. Stay tuned for more info coming soon!

Starting Up Our Rooftop and Farm Gardens + Tips for Yours

In Southern Oregon, spring keeps farmers and gardeners busy sowing seeds and transplanting starts. This year, we’ve joined the action. Our efforts launched last summer when we started a rooftop garden, and we began leasing farmland last fall to grow produce for our restaurant menu. We’re excited to get going on our farm and rooftop garden, with a full season ahead of us.

Melza Quinn, Standing Stone server and chicken caretaker (photo below), is also a gardener with a super green thumb. She’s been planting seeds for vegetables, herbs and flowers, including artichokes, basil, cauliflower, pink corn, kale, tarragon, tomatoes, hollyhocks, poppies, morning glories and sweet peas.

If you visit our restaurant and brewery, you’ll see some of our seedlings in the front window, getting their start in compostable cups. We’ve got many more inside under our skylights and grow lights.

When they’re ready for transplanting, we’ll take them to our rooftop garden and farm. We’ll leave a few inside the brewpub, too, to beautify the space while educating and captivating our guests.

On our farm, we’ll test them in different areas to find the best growing conditions. Over the winter, our farm team constructed some raised beds using a sheet mulching method. They laid down corrugated cardboard to squash out star thistle, then added a layer of mulch from spent grain and a layer of farm-fresh compost. This is a quick, easy, low-cost and successful way to start a garden in any area where you have grass or poor soil. Try it at home!

We chose heirloom varieties from Seed Savers Exchange, which specializes in heirloom varietals and gathers seed from a network of individuals who save seeds from home gardens and small farms. When buying seed, look for local growers and family farmers, too, like the Rogue Valley’s Siskiyou Seeds. If you have several friends who want to share a bulk seed order, the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative is a great option. They’re a co-op of small farmers in the western US who produce open-pollinated, organic varietals, including lots of heirlooms and select varietals adapted with traditional breeding. Their seed is available in bulk online.

We can’t wait until our efforts bear fruit – or veggies, herbs and flowers, to be exact! Growing food is a fascinating process that rewards us with fresh food, slashes food miles and eco-impact (especially if organic methods are used) and gives us exercise, fresh air and sunshine. What a delicious deal!

We hope you’ll join the fun and fulfillment by growing some of your own food. If you need guidance, contact your local Extension program or seed companies for information about when to plant specific crops in your area (from seed or transplanting starts), and optimal growing conditions for them. The Rodale Institute is a great source of information on organic gardening, too. If you need inspiration, stop by Standing Stone to say hello to our seedlings. Happy planting!

( photo credits: Top left – Rachel Koning, others – George Rubaloff

Sustainable Agriculture Champion Joel Salatin Visits the Rogue Valley (and Our Farm!) March 15-16

As farmers and advocates for sustainable agriculture, we’re excited to help welcome Joel Salatin to the Rogue Valley on March 15-16, and encourage you to take part.

Joel Salatin operates Polyface Farm in Virginia, where he raises livestock using a free-range, rotational grazing system – a model we use on our own farm. He’s an outspoken champion for agriculture that truly sustains the environment, the economy and society. A well-respected, informed and engaging presenter, Salatin is featured in the film Food Inc. and the book Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan), and has authored several books.

The Jackson County Local Action Committee (JCLAC) is hosting Salatin for a smorgasbord of events focused on how we can create food systems that are better for all, including a tour of our farm.

“So You Want to do an Abattoir!” Dinner with Joel Salatin ** Sold out **

  • March 15, 5 pm, Deja’ Vu Bistro & Wine Bar at the McCully House Gardens, 240 E. California St, Jacksonville
  • Food has a story to tell and so does Joel Salatin. Enjoy a lively evening featuring delicious cuisine, locally produced steaks, and Joel’s wisdom and inspiration. Proceeds support the establishment of a local local slaughterhouse.

Rogue Valley Farm Tour (Valley View Beef and Standing Stone Farm) ** Sold Out **

  • Friday, March 16, 8 am-4 pm, 816 East Valley View Road (starting location)
  • Salatin will captivate, educate and challenge with his holistic vision of animal husbandry, including mob-grazing techniques, multi-speciation and biodiversity. The day includes morning coffee & pastries, Salatin’s “Ballet in the Pasture” power point, educational tours of Valley View Beef and Standing Stone Farm, and lunch from Standing Stone. Hosted by Dave Westerberg/Valley View Beef and Standing Stone Brewing Company.

Food & Farm Faire

  • March 16, 4:30-6:30pm, Medford Armory, 1701 South Pacific Highway
  • Sample the local bounty of Rogue Valley farms, ranches, restaurants, caterers and food artisans, and meet the producers behind your next meal. Tickets available online.

 Joel Salatin Presentation: “Folks, This Ain’t Normal”

  • March 16, 7-9 pm, Medford Armory, 1701 South Pacific Highway
  • In a challenging and entertaining fashion, Salatin will discuss how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love. He’ll share his thoughts on what normal is, along with practical ideas for making small changes in our lives that have big impacts. Tickets available online.

For more details, see the event website. We hope you’ll come out to learn about the possibilities for truly sustainable agriculture in the Rogue Valley, and the steps we can all take to support and expand a better local food supply. For an inspiring sneak preview, check out this video of Joel Salatin (and a clip of our farm, too). See you there!

PS: Don’t forget – the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market opens this Tuesday in Ashland and this Thursday Medford with lots of early season goodies. Come and get delicious, healthful food that supports a sustainable local food system and family farmers.

By in Standing Stone Farm 3

Gearing Up to Dig In with Our New Tractor from New Holland

The Boomer 30 Tractor from New Holland

This month, we’re rolling out a big welcome to the newest addition to our Standing Stone farm family – a Boomer 30 tractor from New Holland. We won a 5-year lease on this beautiful new piece of equipment through an online contest put on by the agriculture and construction gear supplier. Our very own Melza Quinn submitted a video on Standing Stone’s behalf illustrating how we would use the tractor on our farm, and we won!

With our new tractor en route, we’re busy making plans for new and continuing projects on our 265 acre plot of land , including building fences, turning compost, moving chicken housing and building trails. So far, all of the ventures on our new farmland on Eagle Mill Rd. have been accomplished through remarkable human-power from Standing Stone employees. This tractor will enable us to save human time and energy, and permit us to carry out even more visions and plans for our farm, including starting garden beds and irrigating the land.

The winning video highlighted several of our sustainability practices, including energy conservation, livestock farming, and composting, as well as lots of fun footage from the farm, brewery and restaurant. We couldn’t be more proud of the efforts shown by Melza and our crew in creating and submitting this video!

And, of course, we’d like to send a big thank you to New Holland for awarding us this great piece of machinery! We can’t wait to put it to good use.

Keep an eye out for more farming news coming soon – we’ll have animal babies on the way in no time, along with our first rounds of rich compost soil. Plus, who knows what kinds of great projects we’ll find we can achieve with our new tractor in tow.