Catlin Gabel School, Catlin Speak
This season, as leaves fall and chilly weather calls for warm soups and apple pies, restaurants all across Portland are serving new spices and flavors. Many restaurants are modifying their menus to incorporate seasonal ingredients and dishes. Where do these restaurants buy their seasonal produce? And what new dishes can be found around Portland for this season?
Diggin Roots Farm owners, Connor Voss Molalla and Sarah Brown, work hard to grow fresh produce for CSA’s each season. (Photo: Diggin Roots Farm)
Restaurants such as Natural Selections, Ned Ludd, Laurelhurst Market, and others are switching soups, meats and produce to suit the season. As summer vegetables move out of the spotlight, restaurants that claim to be “seasonal” around Portland are beginning to create new dishes with new food items.
Jeremy Kils, manager of Ned Ludd in Northeast Portland, says, “We’re now switching the meats from chicken to duck and other small game birds.” One of Ned Ludd’s fall appetizers is a roasted squash, with basil, tomato, pimiento, and chevre cream.
At Laurelhurst Market, the menu is starting to include many new fall ingredients such as squash and turnips. Their chef, Dave Kreifels, says “Some of our favorite fall ingredients on the menu now are chanterelle mushrooms, delicata squash, peppers, celery root [celeriac], torpedo onions [a red onion named for its torpedo-like shape], and black kale.”
Since Portland is fortunate enough to be in the Willamette Valley and near the Oregon coast, it is fairly easy for Portlanders to buy fresh produce. Portland was ranked second in Cooking Light magazine for best food, and with 38 different farmers’ markets around the Portland area, the majority of the produce supplying these restaurants is locally grown. Especially this season, Kreifels says, “Fishermen are catching great-looking fall Chinook and Coho salmon as well as lingcod off the coast.”
Many of these seasonal ingredients are also distributed from local farms nearby. Diggin’ Roots farm, only an hour south of Portland, supplies several restaurants with fresh produce. Their main source of distribution is through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Every season, they send a box of fresh and seasonal produce to their customers, which include individuals as well as restaurants. For example, the fall CSA replaced peas, some greens, and other summer produce with squash, potatoes, kale, chard, garlic, onions, and more. Each CSA sent out is unique to the season’s crops, and currently keeps restaurants stocked with fall produce. Check out local restaurants updated menus for a taste of fall in Portland!