From Alimento’s meal kit service that uses local produce, vegetables and meat, to Blackberry Bog Farm in Knappa that provides chicken for Fort George Brewery, to the Salmonberry Saloon in Wheeler that buys from more than 20 local farmers, the North Coast is bursting with fresh food.
But not everyone knows that they can have local food on their table.
That’s why the North Coast Food Web, a nonprofit, whose mission is to cultivate a healthy community and economy through agriculture, decided to create a 2019 calendar to raise awareness of community-focused farms and restaurants people can purchase local food from.
“There’s a passion with the connection to the land,” said Sue Cody, a photographer and supporter of the Food Web who spent three months this summer photographing and touring the farms and restaurants with Food Web board member Mary Blake.
Each month features a photo of a different farm or restaurant and includes information about it. The calendar is a fundraiser for the Food Web and highlights information about its community offerings.
The calendar costs $20 and is available now at the Salmonberry Saloon in Wheeler, Rainy Day Barber in Cannon Beach, the Shelburne Hotel in Ilwaco, Beach Books in Seaside, Pat’s Pantry and Lucy’s Books in Astoria, Astoria Co-op and through the Food Web’s website, northcoastfoodweb.org.
The calendar includes Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery, Lazy Creek Farm, 46 North Farm, Blackberry Bog Farm, Spring Up Farm, Moon River Farm, Nehalem River Ranch, Alimento, Bridgewater Bistro, Salmonberry Saloon, Fort George Brewery and the Shelburne Hotel.
A Food Guide with information about more than 40 local farms, what they produce and how to contact them is included in the calendar.
Blake’s hope is for people to know the name of their farmer and where their food at the region’s restaurants came from.
Blake learned through visiting the farms how many of the farmers came to it later in life.
“There wasn’t a single person that had been a farmer their whole life,” she said.
Cody, who works for The Daily Astorian, said she was amazed at the farmer’s energy and dedication. She also noticed the care the farmers took with their produce, animals and soil.
Jared Gardner at Nehalem River Ranch raises his livestock free range not only for the animals’ welfare but also for the final product. Gardner produces grass-fed beef and pasture pork. He works with a dozen restaurants in the area as well as 150 regular customers.
He said hogs that can walk around have more hemoglobin in their meat, thus providing more flavor. “It really comes back to soil health,” Gardner said, noting that better soil makes better plants for animals to eat.
Other local purveyors farm for their love of the land.
Kayleigh Hillert of Moon River Farm in Nehalem said she farms because she still has “wonder for the productivity of the land and the relationship that you can have with it.”
She and her partner Lily Strauss’s farm provides produce for the Salmonberry Saloon, Offshore Grill & Coffeehouse, Rising Star Café and Buttercup Ice Creams & Chowders. They also have a 42-family Community Support Agriculture program where people come to their farm each week to get food they invested in that was grown on the farm.
Business owners also see importance in the local food movement.
At the Salmonberry Saloon, owner Chantelle Hylton said the restaurant purchases food from 20 local farmers, ranchers and cheese makers.
She said that while a burger at the restaurant costs $16, if the customers knew that the greens came from Moon River Farm and the beef came from Nehalem River Ranch, they are supporting local farmers.
Bridgewater Bistro owners Ann and Tony Kischner see it as their moral obligation to support local farmers. The restaurant buys from six local farms and has its own garden.
After living in the area for more than 30 years, Ann says the number of farms has drastically increased over the last decade, allowing businesses to not have to purchase as much food from Portland.
“You have to appreciate it’s very hard work to take care of a farm,” Ann said.