Like many of the best chefs, Kortney Barnes took her first culinary courses at the school of mom.
"Some of my fondest childhood memories are in the kitchen cooking with my mother," recalls Barnes, owner of local soup-and-salad slinger Bean, Pea, and the Pumpkin. My mother rarely used a cookbook but instead allowed her skills, instincts and whatever was in the refrigerator to guide her."
Taking a page out of that book, Barnes shares that fondness for good food, prepared with love, with Bendites through her organic, gluten-free, and locally-sourced soups and salads.
"Cooking has always been a love and a hobby of mine," she explains. "There is nothing better than spending the day in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and then presenting the dish to family and friends to enjoy."
Barnes says the decision to start a soup company was a no-brainer. She was already concerned with preparing quick, healthy, and delicious meals for her three children—the company's namesakes—and knew that other families must be looking for ways to accomplish this with their busy schedules. And while she could have gone in any number of dietary directions, she chose soup.
"I focused my business on soup because I love soup," she explains. "Every day is a good day for soup, especially delicious soup that is made from scratch with fresh, seasonal and organic ingredients. Soup is also the perfect way to incorporate healthy ingredients—vegetables, grains and legumes—into your diet."
Bean, Pea, and the Pumpkin got its start just over a year ago, starting with a circle of friends and quickly expanding to include retail and dining locations such as Little Bite Café, Crow's Feet Commons, and Central Oregon Locavore, in addition, delivering directly to businesses and residences. Bean, Pea, and the Pumpkin also offers soup subscriptions and does tastings around town. At the Dec. 4 First Friday Art Walk, they will be serving samples of soup and salad at Footzone in downtown Bend.
"From my network of friends and family, word of our soups and salads spread quickly through Bend. But support also came from the wonderful network of local Bend businesses," Barnes says. "As a business in the Makers District, I feel lucky to be surrounded by other creative, like-minded small business owners who are willing to not only support other local businesses but share their expertise on how to succeed in Bend."
And the Bend native works Agricultural Connection to source local ingredients from producers including Rainshadow Organics (Sisters/Terrebonne), Cinco Estrellas (Junction City), Good Earth Farms (Bend), and Juniper Jungle (Bend).
When those fresh ingredients meet with Barnes' mind, the results are an ever-evolving list of creative concoctions. Currently in rotation are soups including butternut squash soup with coconut and ginger, pork and pumpkin stew, curried chicken soup and salads like vegetarian salad nicoise, kale salad with toasted almonds and curry dressing, and a crunchy winter salad with broccoli and cauliflower.
"The secret to our delicious soups and salads is in our seasonal produce," Barnes explains. "Our local farmers provide us with incredible organic produce and we let that dictate what soups and salads land on our weekly menu."
It's a nod to her mother's cooking style, which frequently drew from what was on hand or in the cupboards, as well as the region's agricultural bounty. But it's not just the produce that has Barnes proud to be a local.
"This year I have learned that even with the changes and growth, Bend continues to be a proud community of people and businesses who support local business and want to see them succeed," Barnes says, noting that she recently added her first employee—Cascade Culinary Institute graduate Jessica Smith. "I feel really lucky to be a part of this community and have a small business in Bend, Oregon."
To learn more about Bean, Pea, and the Pumpkin, visit beanpeaandthepumpkin.com.