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Sustainable Table: Local Latkes

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JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – Wednesday night is the 5th night of Hannukah. At MacLevin’s Whole Food’s Eaterie in Jacksonville, you could order up latkes, an incredible ruben, or brisket. The recipe is simple: just a few things added to shredded potatoes.

“It has egg and onion and flour and baking powder and salt and pepper,” explained Jeff MacLevin, the co-owner of MacLevin’s Whole Food’s Eaterie, “And they are crisp fried.”

This is where the recipe of tradition and heritage, and spelling, gets a little more complex.

“It’s spelled many different ways; it’s spelled H-A-N-N-U-K-A-H or C-H-A-N-U-K-A-H or C-H-A-N-N-U-K-A-H or H-A-N-U-K-A-H,” said Jeff.

No matter how you spell it, it means the same thing: the story which starts in 167 BC when the Assyrians destroyed Jerusalem’s second synagogue, desecrating the sacred oil, only enough for a single lamp; a single day lamp remained.

“The one lamp lasted for eight nights,” Jeff explained. That’s why there are 8 nights of Hannukah.

“You have a ninth candle which lights the others, so each night you add a candle first night is one, second night is two, three and so until you have all eight,” Jeff said. It’s called the miracle of oil.

“We fry something in oil,” said Jeff. Originally, before the crusades introduced the potato, it was the battered balls of cheese; now, it’s latkes.

“Traditionally with sour cream and apple sauce,” Jeff explained.

At MacLevins, it’s local latkes. The potatoes, 18 pounds a week, are from the Klamath Basin; the onions are from Oregon.

“Latke is a very nice taste, people get them with their eggs, people order plates of them as appetizers or their whole meal,” said Jeff.

While somethings come from far away, this family-run restaurant gets its ground beef from Williams. During the summer, almost all the produce comes from CSA’s or community supported agriculture programs, thus benefiting the local economy. MacLevins has played a big role in promoting a GMO Free Jackson County.

“I think it’s hard to come by foods that are healthy and not genetically modified,” Jeff remarked. “We concentrate here on our food. We concentrate on the quality and the sustainability of it.”

MacLevins has been so busy this year with the restaurant and variety of other projects, that for the first time in more than a decade, they won’t be holding their Hannukah party. The Applegater Newspaper did a Hannukah story with MacLevin’s Whole Food’s Eaterie and Jeff says if you want the recipie you can stop in and check the article out.

MacLevin’s Whole Food’s Eaterie: http://www.maclevinsonline.com/