Kiva Grocery News

Home » Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance

Category Archives: Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance

An Unlikely Duo

     It’s a tale as old as time.  An unlikely duo teaming up to save the day and teach us all a valuable lesson.  Our hero’s: Tom Hunton and Charlie Tilt, owners of Hunton’s Farm and Hummingbird Wholesale respectively.  One a grower of grain, one a distributor.  Both located here in the scenic Willamette Valley.  So what is it that brings these two businessmen together?  

To answer this we must start at the beginning and ask another question.  How do those hard little kernels of grain turn up on your plate in the form of cereal and bread?  It is through the magic of milling!  And now, thanks to these two enterprising daredevils, for the first time in over 80 years, the Willamette Valley boasts its very own stone flour mill.
Years ago, these types of grist mills were common along many of the waterways of the Willamette Valley.  As grain farmers turned to grass seed production, and a preference for white bread developed among their consumers, many of these mills were forced to close.  Where there is no grain being grown, there is no need for a flour mill.  And so it went for a long time.  
As the economy began to change and the price of grass seed changed with it, the Hunton’s realized the need to re-strategize.  Enter Charlie and Julie Tilt and their business Hummingbird Wholesale.  If the Hunton’s were going to grow grains (and beans, as it turns out), it would only make good economic sense to mill them locally as well.  Hauling a commodity hundreds of miles to be milled and processed and then shipping it back is not only increasing the carbon footprint of a product, but also unnecessarily increasing the cost.

 
And so, with their forces combined, (and some help from eDev and the City of Eugene), they built a mill.  As with any construction project, things got complicated, but they persevered.  Working with an eye towards the future they created a mission statement and a set of goals to support continued viability, provide resources to farmers in the valley, implement innovative practices, and foster an environment of optimism and collaboration.  
As individuals, when we choose to support these products and businesses, we can have far-reaching effects on our local and subsequently global economies, standards of health and living, and what society holds as important.  We can all be heroes!       

Fun with Fermentation 2012

What comes to mind when you think of fermented foods?  Perhaps it is that dusty old jar of sauerkraut you keep pushing around the pantry shelf.  After attending the Fun with Fermentation Festival last Saturday, I can tell you that the fermented foods of today are fresh, abundant and exciting.  With over a dozen local food and beverage producers in attendance, there was certainly some sauerkraut to be seen, (and tasted), and a whole lot more.

Held at the historic WOW Hall, the festival is hosted by Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance (WVSFA) and is a benefit for Food for Lane Countyand WVSFA.  What a great way to have fun and do good!

           After donating our cans of food and getting our hands stamped for admission, our first tasty tidbit was some of Cousin Jacks Steak and Ale Pasty.

  We got to chat with owner, Kim, who reminded us that the ale in their delicious pasty, courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing, is one of the oldest known fermented beverages!

Our next stop was at the Pickled Planet table where we tried one of their seasonal specialty blends, Blueberry Love Bomb.

 Fermented blueberries?  Yes.  This will take your next salad to new heights.

Moving on, we sipped some Love Potion #9 from Herbal Junction Elixirs, an intoxicating fermented herbal beverage with saw palmetto.

Love bombs, love potions, love is in the air… ah yes, Valentines Day is not far off!

One of the best things about events like this one, is discovering new things.  This happened when we came across the 8…9…Tempeh booth, formerly Magi Fungi.  This gluten free and soy free tempeh was amazing!  With garbanzo, black bean and quinoa varieties, it was versatile and delicious.  Unfortunately they don’t have retail packaging yet, but they do take direct orders.

           There were so many more good things, including Holy Cow tempeh sandwiches, Cafe Mam coffee, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Premrose Edibles Chocolates – (one of our favorites here at the Kiva), and Grateful Harvest Farms who make my personal favorite, Garlic Kraut.  The cabbage is crunchy, not soggy, and the garlic flavor is robust!  We also spent some time with the ladies of Mountain Rose Herbs and their loose tea leaves.

 Ever wondered what the difference between black tea, green tea, oolong tea, or any of the other varieties is?  It’s about the fermentation!

On our way out to pick up some Take Root Magazines, (winter issue now available at the Kiva), we ran into Molly of Mckenzie Mist Water.  While the water isn’t fermented, it is a necessity, and it’s also the best stuff out there.

 She was excited to tell us about her artesian well that provides so many of us with pure, unadulterated drinking water.

We made our way downstairs to find fermented beverages of the adult variety in abundance.  Ninkasi had brought their record player for the enjoyment of all.  Oakshire was there with four beers on tap and also Hop Valley.  We got a sneak peek at Falling Sky Brewery, opening soon!  We didn’t partake, except with our eyes, since we were working of course.  It was great to see all the craft brewers of our fine city together in one place!

           We came to the end of our fermented field trip, happy to have seen friendly faces and tasted so many vibrant flavors that come from so near us!