Portland, OR's Farm to Table Movement Proves Good for the Body and Soul
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Adkins
Greg Higgins, chef and owner of Higgins Restaurant and Bar, has been an active organic gardener for decades, and he runs his Portland restaurant pretty much the same way he runs his kitchen at home. Whatever is freshest and best in his garden is what ends up on plates at his restaurant. Higgins has been in business for 15 years, and his focus has always been to source directly and locally, using as many organic and sustainable products as possible. That’s easy to do in a city with such outstanding quality of local seafood and produce. Most Portland diners appreciate nature and respect the city’s eco-friendly lifestyle, so it’s no wonder the farm-to-table movement has been so well-received here.
Dollars and Sense
At Beast restaurant, the menu includes such appetizing items as chestnut soup with garden-grown onions, and salads made with organic baby greens and locally grown grapes. At Bluehour, owner Bruce Carey believes that any fine restaurant worth its lamb chops will design the menu offerings to reflect the best products available. Carey says there are several reasons to buy locally. For one, local organics tend to be better quality because it stays fresher longer, and restaurateurs and chefs can build relationships with the farmers and vendors. But buying locally also makes good business sense in that shipping costs can be avoided.
To Market You Go
And for cooking at home, residents can purchase fresh ingredients at more than 25 farmers markets in the metropolitan area, with perhaps the most visited being the Portland Farmers Market. It convenes three days a week in four different locations in the city. The market stocks the usual fruits and vegetables, but also has items such as Swiss chard, kale, cured garlic, parsnips and shiitake mushrooms. Also on site are meats such as beef, buffalo, lamb and pork, and seafood such as abalone, smoked salmon, rock cod and oysters.
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