Eight Row Food - Gronvold

Much of what makes the Pacific Northwest special is rooted in its food systems and the people who contribute to them. From seed to plate, entire lives are committed to ensuring our communities have access to healthy, sustainably produced food. Over the last couple of years, the role these producers play in contributing to a resilient society and environment has become increasingly evident. Fortunately, opportunities to support local farmer-chef relationships abound in the greater Seattle area.

Rosario Hernandez and her family are the owners and stewards of Tualco Valley Farm in Monroe, WA. The farm comprises 20 acres of fertile land nestled between the Snohomish and Skykomish Rivers. Rosario’s fall harvest includes a kaleidoscope of squash, peppers, and herbs. These crops are grown with special care for the land and the bodies they will nourish, including their own, which is the strongest testimonial a farmer can offer.  Further south, first-generation farmers Rachael Taylor-Tuller and Matthew Tuller have created Lost Peacock Creamery, a solar powered, grade A goat dairy in Olympia, WA. Yes they have a peacock, but even more striking is the respect they show their animals and crew. They not only create beautiful fresh and aged goat cheeses that have been praised as some of the best to be found in the PNW region, but they also raise pigs fed on whey and dairy who are given free access to their pasture and property forestry. Both farms represent the wider ethos held by our local food system communities– everyone deserves access to locally and sustainably produced food, and the land should not have to be sacrificed in order to create it.

Since its inception just five years ago, Farmstand Local Foods have worked together to create a sustainable, transparent system to help small and mid-sized farms develop meaningful infrastructure to ensure long-term sustainable practices and independence. By creating supply channels to markets that the smaller farms may not otherwise have access to, they are able to offer a multifaceted approach to creating stability and growth. They work closely with growers, markets, and restaurants to bring the very best food into the community while helping to ensure those creating it can afford to continue their vital work with dignity and security. Further, they connect the farmers they represent with local nonprofits and organizations to help support members of our community who may be facing food insecurity, helping to deepen the holistic wellness of all who live in our area, bettering the ability for our communities to grow and thrive in a meaningful way. Should you be interested in supporting their efforts, while having local and sustainably produced food delivered to your home, you can sign up to customize a box with their sister company Pacific Coast Harvest here.

Our region is famous for its beautiful food in part because of the artistry brought to our area by independent restaurants and the chefs who develop their menus around seasonal, local ingredients. David Nichols is the Executive Chef of Eight Row in Green Lake, and is a true representation of the culinary community’s relationship to our land. Having grown up on an orchard near Cashmere, he and his brother Ian hold deep reverence for the land and its local stewards. They feature ingredients not only from their family orchards, but from both Tualco Valley Farm and Lost Peacock Creamery as well. In the beginning of the pandemic, their creation of CSA boxes were able to support the farmers and producers who struggled in the collateral damage of required shutdowns. The pan-American offerings at Eight Row are just as much about Rosario, Rachael, Matthew and their families as they are about the ingredients used, because the people themselves are intrinsically connected to the food they create.

Nicco Muratore, the Executive Chef of Mamnoon on Capitol Hill, translates the very same respect for our local food and land. His creative Middle Eastern menu traces back to owners Wassef and Racha Haroun’s roots while using locally grown, foraged, and preserved ingredients. Nicco lets the farms themselves dictate which items from their crops make it to his menu, knowing that buying produce and herbs at the height of their seasons will give him the best representation of each ingredient. His dedication to foraging and fermenting closely ties him to our local terroir, which he then weaves into the creative Levantine and Persian dishes he creates each night. Rosario, her children, and grandchildren who own and steward Tualco Valley Farm provide a wide array of produce to create dishes on Mamnoon’s menu, particularly their dessert menu. Pastry Chef, Sam Gainsbourg, relies on their golden raspberries, “Duke” blueberries, and strawberries to create her dishes, citing them as some of the best the team has ever tasted.

With each link of our local food chain holding such deep dedication to respecting the land and the people who steward it, we are ensuring that our communities will thrive in the bounty of our region for generations to come.

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