Savor Local Flavor Year Round
Anyone who knows us knows that we’re passionate about using local ingredients as much as possible. We love offering the freshest foods and beverages to our customers, supporting hardworking farmers and food artisans, and reducing our environmental “foodprint.”
Local foods are most often associated with the warm, sunny days of late spring through fall, when fruits and vegetables flourish and show up in farmers markets, grocers and Community Supported Agriculture boxes. However, there are lots of ways to revel in regional eating through the year.
Our restaurant purchases Valley View Beef from a farm just a few miles away, and we have our own flock of egg-laying chickens. (Check out a recent article for more information and great photos.) We’re lucky here in the Rogue Valley, where we have several winter Community Supported Agriculture programs offering meat, dairy, produce, bread and more. Look for programs in your area at Local Harvest and ask others for recommendations.
Do a little research to find all-season favorites from local purveyors, such as bread, baked goods, meat, dairy and eggs. Nuts, legumes and grains may also be available, since producers can dry and store these well after harvest. Read product labels, consult your grocer and chat with friends and neighbors to find homegrown goods.
Get savvy about produce growing seasons (these differ by location) and over-winter storage to stay a step ahead. Start planning now to grow some of your own next year – thinking about spring helps make the colder days go faster! Kale, collards, chard, beets carrots, parsnips and Brussels sprouts can grow well into early winter, and emerge in the first days of spring. Winter squash, potatoes, onions, garlic, apples, pears and other crops can be stored for use several months after harvest. Learn about basic storage techniques and stock up at home, or look for locally-grown items where you shop.
Don’t forget preserved foods, including canned (jarred), dehydrated and frozen items, as well as jams, oils and sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. If you have culinary inclinations, learn how to can, freeze and dry favorite foods. For starters, try drying herbs and canning tomatoes, sauce and salsa. We ferment and can our own kim chee at the restaurant.
If you come across regional foods that your local store doesn’t carry, ask them to stock them. This helps build markets for small-scale producers and share their wares more widely.
When you start to dig in, the possibilities are endless. Enjoy, and feel free to leave a comment sharing your ideas for finding, preserving and savoring local goodness!