Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Livin' in the Blurbs: Farm Restaurant, Butchery Classes and Doing Good for Local Kids

That 100-mile diet that was all the rage a few years ago? So passé! At one farm in Oregon's mid-valley you can dine on food that comes from 100 feet away.

In 2003, farmers John Eveland and Sally Brewer of Gathering Together Farm opened what they thought was just going to be a farm stand selling their organically grown produce along with pastries, soups and salads. But demand was so great that they eventually opened for lunch, dinners and Saturday breakfast, hiring Chef J.C. Mersmann and bringing in locally grown meat and products from other neighbors.

They've just opened the restaurant for the spring season, with lunches Tuesday through Friday and dinners Thursday through Saturday. And keep your eyes peeled for their summer wine dinners, which are said to be some of the finest, not to mention freshest, dining available in the state.

Details: Restaurant at Gathering Together Farm. Lunch Tues.-Fri., 11 am-2 pm; Dinner Thurs.-Sat., 5:30-9 pm; Breakfast Sat., 9 am-2 pm. 25159 Grange Hall Rd., Philomath. 541-929-4270.

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There's no better way to understand more about the meat you eat than to take a butchery class, and we're lucky to have several places where you can learn how animals are raised, how to break down a whole carcass and then how to make use of every single part to feed your family. Listed below are three places that have regular butchery classes, teaching everything from how to fillet a fish, to breaking down a chicken or rabbit, to butchering a lamb, goat or pig. Check out their classes online, or take a gander at the calendar on the left. From personal experience, I guarantee it'll be an eye-opening and meaningful, not to mention delicious, way to get closer to your food source.
  • Old Salt Marketplace just released its spring and summer schedule of classes. 5027 NE 42nd Ave. 971-255-0167.
  • Portland Meat Collective has a full lineup of classes for all kinds of butchery. At Elder Hall, 3929 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. 503-347-5540.
  • Portland's Culinary Workshop features butchery classes with a turducken class at the holidays. 807 N Russell St. 503-512-0447.
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Every parent knows how hard it is to keep teenagers interested and engaged during their high school years. It's even harder when kids come from challenging backgrounds. The Portland Kitchen is a free, comprehensive culinary program for urban kids from disadvantaged families, empowering them to graduate high school with job skills and improved eating habits. A friend of the program has pledged to match donations between now and May 15, dollar for dollar up to a total of $25,000, an amount critical for it to move into its third year of serving area youth. If you can, please consider helping them reach their goal.

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