MEDFORD, Ore. – If you’ve ever overlooked an apple because it was bruised, or passed-over tomatoes that had gone soft, they’ll likely end up in the garbage or the compost, but a Rogue Valley woman is using those items on a much larger scale. Anne Eldridge started “Our Local Bounty” about 5 years ago. In the off-season, she caters events.
“I had goat milk from a farmer who had excess, so I started to make yogurt and I’ve put it in the potato leek soup and I just love it,” Anne explained. “So, that’s my latest invention for tonight.”
Of course, Anne doesn’t really believe in an “off-season”.
“Personally, I don’t believe we should be getting our food from half way around the world,” Anne said. “Growing is something we can do right here We can live very well with local food.”
She teams up with “Green Drinks” and Medford Co-Op to provide the food at monthly events.
“She also has the unique opportunity to take advantage of food that is available that is in the moment and transform it into delicious food for events,” said Green Drinks Co-Host Lynn Blanche.
The majority of Eldridge’s ingredients come from local farms and stores – things that wouldn’t sell, not that have spoiled.
“What I work with is stuff that would go into the compost and hopefully in the right situation would be feeding gardens, but the average is small to large farm 40% of all that the farmer grows gets composted,” Anne said. “We can take excess, slightly off colored slightly off shaped, makes no difference to a soup or a stew.”
The partnership makes sense; “Green Drinks” is a public group meeting in addressing all sorts of ways to live sustainability.
“Our focus is on triple bottom line sustainability: People, Planet, Prosperity,” Lynn explained.
Medford and Ashland are two of over 600 cities participating across 75 countries. Of course, “Green Drinks” requires drinks, which is where the Pallet Wine Company comes in. Founder Linda Donvan donates the space and the wine, supporting the group, because pallet values sustainability too.
“Our whole business model is very sustainable; basically we are a co-op, we have clients that share our resources, our equipment, our employees, our education,” Linda explained.
“If we can just utilize stuff that doesn’t look just right,” Anne said, “Our society now is used to everything being perfect and shiny and that’s not the way it always is when it comes out of the garden.”
These women are creating a sustainable table while sipping on wine made in Southern Oregon, from Southern Oregon grapes, and tasting food grown in Southern Oregon and saved from the compost. For more information, consult the links below.