Central Oregon author Sara Rishforth has written two books of fiction, as well as the 2018 nonfiction, "Bend Food – Stories of Local Farms and Kitchens."
Local food podcaster/stylist Donna Britt catches up with Rishforth in this Q&A.
- Author Sara Rishforth is happy to report good news on the local food front.
Source Weekly: Please give us a synopsis of your book "Bend Food – Stories of Local Farms and Kitchens."
Sara Rishforth: It's about the local farm-to-table boom; how it's growing and expanding between farmers and restaurants. The book shows how the local movement goes beyond a few farmers markets. For example, how local restaurants may do something such as inviting a local rancher in to talk about their practices, the cattle they raise, etc.
SW: Do you have any updates on any of the farms/kitchens featured in the book that you'd like to share?
SR: As I was typing up notes for this interview, I was looking through the chapters and thinking about all these people who have expanded or diversified or who mentioned a goal in our interview (for the book) who have now reached their goal.
Take, for example, Dump City Dumplings. One of first interviews I did was with Dump City owner Dan Butters, who said they'd love to have a storefront someday. They also had another goal of figuring out how to sell dumplings frozen for customers to take home. Now, two years later, Dump City has a storefront and they recently launched a line of frozen products.
Golden Eagle Organics mentioned (in the book) that they wanted to have a booth at a farmers market. Since then, they've had booths at both the downtown Bend and the Northwest Crossing farmers markets. They also started growing vegetables and fruits, expanding beyond goat and lamb products.
SW: Let's talk about our local "food economy" in this unique time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SR: I think this time has shifted perspectives. The Northwest Crossing farmers market devised a one-way system to control foot traffic through the market. They wanted you to come to the market but they also wanted you to realize it can no longer be a social hour. People had their list and one person shopped instead of two or more.
In thinking about food trucks, it seems there has been opportunity during this time. Sunny Yoga, who was featured in "Bend Food" now has a food truck. People are flocking to their truck and other trucks because they feel safer sitting outside. Customers are noticing things like staff wiping down tables constantly and thinking, "OK, I can enjoy my food and don't have to be so concerned."
SW: It seems like many of us have pandemic stories of what we've done with more time at home and more time on our hands; how about you?
SR: My husband and I did have a lot of time on our hands in the spring and summer, so 12 raspberry starts from Fields Farm (also featured in "Bend Food") was our first purchase when we decided to start a garden. We also had cucumbers, radishes, flowers and potatoes, among other things. Thirty-one potato plants—which, looking back, was probably too much! But it was fun to share potatoes with family and friends. It took two weeks for us to harvest all those potatoes!
SW: Do you have other food writing projects in the works?
SR: I haven't been writing much other than writing letters with a friend in Anacortes (Washington). I got tired of my own cooking, and so did my friend, so every letter that we send we share two to three recipes. We write out the recipes in the letters, making a few notes about each one. But we'll see what winter brings. Writing a book might be a good project during that time.
- Emil Teague
- "Bend Food" explores the local farm-to-table boom.
SW: Final thoughts?
SR: I think it's important to be flexible and respectful during these times and to try and support local farmers and restaurants as you can, by perhaps going to Locavore right when they open or getting take-out to enjoy at home, if you prefer not to eat out.
"Bend Food – Stories of Local Farms and Kitchens" available at:
Roundabout Books, Dudley's Bookshop & Cafe, The Bend Store, Central Oregon Locavore, The High Desert Museum