Standing Stone Brewing Company

local food & farms

Building a Better Burger: Our Local Beef

Here at Standing Stone Brewing Co., we seek out local, sustainably produced ingredients as much as possible to provide healthful quality food, support our local economy and improve our ecological impact.

This summer, we took an additional step in this direction by switching our beef purchases to Valley View Beef, a farm located just four miles from our brewery and restaurant! We use Valley View in menu favorites such as the Standing Stone Cheeseburger and our specialty beef cuts of the day.  Depending on what the kitchen has prepared, we’ve featured items from Fillet Mignon to Vietnamese Pho, which is prepared with strips of rare beef in a housemade broth.

We’re especially excited to work with Valley View Beef because they use holistic, organic and sustainable farming practices that are better for the cattle, the environment and consumers. The cattle graze freely on open pasture using a management-intensive rotational system that helps rejuvenate the grass and soil, with the herd moved from one section to another sequentially. We also keep our chickens on the same farm in a mobile coop and fencing system that we move around with the cattle, enhancing the land even more.

The land and the cattle are chemical free – no fertilizers, antibiotics or hormones are used. This means that our guests get to enjoy full-flavored grass-fed beef that’s humanely raised and free of chemicals.

Grass-fed beef is also said to have health benefits such as higher Omega 3’s and key vitamins, and lower saturated fat and cholesterol versus conventional beef, as reported in the New York Times. On the environmental side, pastured beef systems have lower carbon emissions than feedlot-raised cattle and help sequester carbon, according to TIME Magazine.

Once the cows have been purchased the cattle must be transported to Roseberg, a few hours away, for slaughtering and initial processing since that’s where the closest USDA-approved facility is located. We’re exploring ways to localize this process, too, such as supporting a mobile slaughter unit that would be come to the farm.

After the trip to Roseburg, we bring the meat back to the restaurant in halves and quarters. Our trained kitchen staff performs all the butchering in house. It takes a full day of two or three chefs working arund the clock to properly cut the beef. The burgers are fresh-ground and the steaks are specially cut.

When our  customers see the specialty steak of the day on the specials board, they can be assured that the cut is freshly prepared and the meat came straight from a sustainable, humane farm next door.

Standing Stone Places 6th in Siskiyou Challenge Relay Race!

Last Saturday, as the sun rose at 6:45am, the Standing Stone crew gathered at the inaugural Siskiyou Challenge, a multi-sport relay benefitting Rogue Valley Farm to School.

Clad in running shorts with kayaks and bikes in tow, five of our athletic and energetic employees collected in a pre-race huddle with supporting coworkers cheering around them.

Fifty three teams participated in this five-leg relay race. The beneficiary, Rogue Valley Farm to School, is a great nonprofit that connects schools and farms through educational programs and farm-to-cafeteria partnerships. The scenic course covered 46 miles around Ashland and Talent across land and water, touring farms, orchards, lakes and parks.

The weather and course were beautiful, the volunteers were amazing and we had a blast sharing the day with the rest of the participants and community. Team Standing Stone huffed and puffed and came in 6th overall with a time of 4:05:59!

Here is run down of the course and our participants for each:

  • 11K run – Rob Koning
  • 3K kayak course – Mike DuBois
  • 25 mile road bike – Brandon Schilling
  • 9.5 mile mountain bike – David Conley
  • 5K run – Gina Velando

Racers crossed the finish line at ScienceWorks to enjoy good food, live music and the company of their teammates, fellow racers and supporters. Treats at the post-race festival included baked goods from Ashland Food Cooperative, coffee and pastries from  Rogue Valley Roasting Co and handmade ice cream in fresh waffle cones from Artik Creamery. Standing Stone was a lead sponsor and provided a free post-race meal and beer to all participants, of course using lots of local food.

We were thrilled to participate in the Siskiyou Challenge, both as a racing team and as a sponsor since we’re a long time supporter of RVF2S. We want to thank RVF2S for the great race and all the participants for a huge turnout. Siskiyou Challenge, we’ll see you next year and we hope to see an even bigger turnout at this great event!

Eat Local Week – Celebrating Regional Bounty!

We love autumn since it’s peak harvest season for local farms. This week is “Eat Local Week,” a time to celebrate and savor the bounty. Of course, since we’re a brewery, we like to think of it as Eat and Drink Local Week. We also think every week should be Eat Local Week!

If you’re in the Rogue Valley, check out the event lineup and sign up for the Eat Local Challenge. We’re offering menu specials (vote for us if you like them) and will be participating in THRIVE’s Rogue Flavor fundraising dinner on September 19. If you live elsewhere, look for similar campaigns or join us virtually and cook up something in your area next year.

Here at Standing Stone, sourcing from producers is a priority. Chef Eric Bell loves to check out the local Growers Markets to find the best of our region’s offerings. There are lots of benefits to filling your plate with homegrown goodness. For starters, fresh, local food tastes better, and it’s often more nutritious. Buying local preserves regional farmland, supports like minded small businesses and keeps our dollars circulating in our economy. We also reduce the environmental footprint needed to transport ingredients.

In honor of Eat Local Week, here’s a spotlight on some of the local producers who make our menu so delicious. Stop by and enjoy the fruits of their labor!

Tobias & Abigail Hatfield, Full Circle Bison (photo: FCB)

Produce: We source from a diverse group of small-scale organic and sustainable growers in our Rogue Valley region. These include Fry Family Farm, HappyDirt Veggie Patch, Barking Moon Farm, multiple members of the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative and Village Farm. We love to feature farms in our specials, so check our specials board to meet your farmer.

Alpha Beta Hops provides some of our hops, grown organically right here in Ashland. Check out recent TV coverage (KTVL) and an article (Mail Tribune) on the farm.

Full Circle Bison Ranch provides the delicious, healthful, grass-fed bison we use. Located a stone’s throw away in Williams, Ore., they’re Certified Organic (no hormones, antibiotics or additives) and raise their animals on expansive pasture.

Photo: Valley View Beef

Noble Coffee Roasting is located just a few blocks away. They source exceptionally high-quality organic coffee directly from farmers through fair trade practices and work with producers on community development projects.

Rogue Creamery is an award-winning artisan cheese maker down the road in Central Point, Ore. They use local, sustainable sources and have earned the Food Alliance’s Certified Sustainable label.

Valley View Beef is nestled 4 miles away in Ashland, OR. The cattle graze freely on chemical-free pasture year round and don’t receive any hormones, antibiotics or synthetic chemicals. Our very own chickens are on the same farm, sharing the pasture in a rotational grazing system.

Meet Our New SSBC Chickens

Lately around Standing Stone we’re talking a lot about eggs.

Actually, we’ve been talking a lot about chickens, our very own flock.

In late June, Standing Stone purchased 44 chickens from Heritage Meadow Farms in the Applegate Valley. We’ve had a cooperative relationship for years, trading spent grain as feed for chickens in return for eggs for our menu. When we heard that Heritage Meadows was selling their flock, we jumped on the opportunity to keep this cycle going closer to home.

We purchased the chickens, built a coop and leased land for their new home, less than 4 miles from our restaurant. In less than one week, Standing Stone completed all this and set up an in-house egg-producing operation!  We now raise a large enough flock to supply all of our eggs on the menu, offering you healthy, local and truly delicious eggs.

Dave Westerberg, owner of Valley View Farms, was also excited about this opportunity and offered his land as home for the chickens. Valley View is the supplier for all of the beef used at Standing Stone.  Allowing the chickens to co-exist with the cattle was a no-brainer. The two species thrive in a symbiotic relationship, with the chickens and cattle grazing in a rotation across several pastures on the property.

The chickens eat exclusively Standing Stone compost, as well as grass and insects from the land. Their spacious coop features lot of nesting boxes and is a mobile unit that we move around the land to help the pasture rejuvenate and provide fresh grazing space. Our employees deliver fresh feed daily, including the spent grain from our brewing tanks, vegetable scraps, and bread crusts. And, they’re antibiotic and hormone free – we wouldn’t have them any other way.

KTVL featured a story on the coop and how the eggs are used in the restaurant.  Click here to view the video and get up close and personal with flock. You can also check out an article from the Daily Tidings and a video from KTVL for a sneak peek at our next venture in localizing our food – leasing land to raise more chickens and livestock.

p.s. Come check out our window display in the front of the restaurant! Employee, Melza Quinn, spent a day at the farm taking pictures of the cows and chickens so everyone walking by can enjoy their happy faces!

Siskiyou Challenge Multi-Sport Relay Sept. 25th – Join the Fun!

At Standing Stone, we’re big fans of delicious, sustainable, local foods and the farmers that provide them. We also love to enjoy our beautiful surroundings, through hiking, biking, running, swimming, rafting and other recreation.

So, when we heard about the Siskiyou Challenge, a multi-sport relay race held on September 25th here in Ashland, OR, we jumped in to support it and want to encourage others to get involved.

The race benefits Rogue Valley Farm to School, one of our favorite nonprofits. They connect schools and local farms to teach kids about sustainable farming and healthy eating, and get school lunch programs to use locally produced foods.

The route is scenic and challenging with 5 legs: 11K run, 3K kayak, 25-mile road bike, 9-mile mountain bike and 5K run. It begins and ends at ScienceWorks and passes through farms, orchards, mountains, parks and central Ashland, with the kayak leg at Emigrant Lake. Individual or teams up to five people can participate. There’s also a fun run/walk for those who prefer a more bite-sized course.

Beautiful Emigrant Lake

After the race, we’ll be serving a free meal to all racers, of course featuring local foods. Other sponsors are providing great prizes for a random drawing and awards for overall winners. Adding to the festivities, there will be a pre-race barbeque on September 24th in Lithia Park.

Join us in the fun and sign up to race or volunteer. You can get more information on the event website or contact the race director, Deborah Gordon, via email or phone: 541-944-4118.

Hats off to Deborah, co-organizer Tracy Harding of Rogue Valley Farm to School and the rest of the great sponsors! See you there!