North Coast’s first local food and agritourism destination
Share an autumn evening with local farmers and fishers, chefs and friends for the Grand Opening of the North Coast’s first local food and agritourism destination- North Fork 53. The grand opening event is scheduled for Oct. 10 form 4 to 9 p.m. at North Fork 53 at 77282 Hwy 53 in Nehalem. Hosted by North Fork 53 and Nehalem River Ranch in conjunction with Community Supported Fisheries and Foster’s Craft Cooking.
Sample Oregon beer and wine and indulge in oysters while watching an entire side of Nehalem Valley grass fed beef roasting on an open fire! Sit down to an amazing farm to table feast featuring North coast organic vegetables, seafood, beef and artisan foods. Enjoy live music, farm tours, a ribbon cutting for the year round farm store, farm stay open house and local art show. Proceeds from this event will directly support local farmers and be used to grow a North Coast grown distribution and marketing cooperative.
The North Coast of Oregon is a place blessed with abundance, surrounded by family farms and all the bounty the ocean has to offer. Thousands of visitors flock to the coast each year, taking in the beauty of the beaches, forests and pastures. In early 2014, several North Coast farmers and fisherman began informally meeting to discuss how to better get their products directly into the hands of their coast communities and to promote sustainable North Coast food to visitors. From these meetings arose the vision for a string of local food hubs; places where farmers, fishers, foragers and chefs could share the harvest as well educate and engage the public.
This fall the collective of local growers are celebrating the launch of their first farmer owned food hub in the Nehalem Valley called North Fork 53. With the help of a community fundraising campaign and lots of volunteer effort, North Fork 53 was created from a 1930s homestead property along the North Fork of the Nehalem River. It features a farmer owned and operated four bedroom bed and breakfast, a certified kitchen to produce value-added farm products, a year-round community farm store and educational/event center. Ginger Edwards, local vegetable farmer at R-evolution Gardens and founder of North Fork 53 spearheaded the effort. “The demand for our food and for folks who want to learn more about our farm has been growing every year,” said Edwards, now in her seventh year as a full time farmer. “We wanted to create a place that supports and trains young farmers, creates value added foods, hosts events and community celebrations, and brings in educators and chefs to teach people to cook with seasonal healthy ingredients.” Edwards explained that agritourism is the best way she has found to fund local farms, and to reach a wider audience for local food. “If people who are visiting the North Coast get to stay on a farm and eat the food, tour the fields and maybe even harvest some vegetables or gather eggs, it is the most direct educational experience they can have about what we do. They will feel more connected to this place and want to support local farms as they travel and eat,” she added.
Edwards is joined in her passion for building a local food visitors’ circuit by Nehalem grass fed beef and pastured pork and poultry producers Jared Gardner and Hilary Foote of Nehalem River Ranch, and Jeff Wong of Community Supported Fishery in Garibaldi.
Jared and Hilary received their start in farming through the generosity and mentorship of long-time dairy and beef operators who had a vision of helping the next generation get into food production. “We wanted to pass this along and now Nehalem River Ranch is also a catalyst for small food producers, helping grow a local vegetable operation and a local honey producer by integrating their operations onto our land in a way that compliments everyone,” said Gardner. Nehalem River Ranch was recently awarded top animal welfare and grass fed certifications, becoming certified Animal Welfare Approved for their pastured pork and becoming the first in Oregon to be Certified Grassfed by AWA for their beef cattle.
Community Supported Fisheries (‘CSF’) provides local, fresh-caught, boat-to-table seafood. CSF receives its supply of local seafood from small-boat fishermen, who run their own licensed and inspected processing facility on the docks of Garibaldi, Oregon. Maintaining control over the entire chain of supply from boat to table ensures only the highest quality product is delivered. Owner Jeff Wong is super passionate about high quality local seafood, and, as he said, “Living in a place of such natural beauty and food abundance is second only to the wonderful and collaborative food community we get to work with.”
For tickets to the Grand Opening Celebration for North Fork 53 on October 10th and to learn more about the farm stay, farm store, event center, please visit www.northfork53.com. Tickets are limited.