Community Supported Kitchens and Public Demand

“Peasant food has been the smartest, thriftiest, and most nourishing food available to us. Simple, seasonal, and regional foods are what we are meant to live on.”
Tressa Yellig
chef and proprietor of Community Supported Kitchen (CSK), Salt, Fire and Time

The local food culture in Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon has a thriving local food culture. It’s no wonder, with a 12-month grow season and some of the most fertile soil in the country. Local farmers benefit from the supply and demand created by the general public. Renegade chefs are flocking in droves to the Willamette Valley, to be part of a food revolution that offers quality ingredients to the local consumer. With a variety of purveyors to choose from, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Portland Farmers Market offerings abound, providing chefs with the raw materials to support a population of people who are demanding local, seasonal and organic food.
It is the existence of this local food culture and the support of the regional agricultural system that drew local chef and proprietor of Community Supported Kitchen (CSK), Salt, Fire and Time to the area. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Tressa Yellig about community supported kitchens, how she got her start and why people should be supporting the four CSK’s that are in existence.
CSK defined
Yellig explains, the technical definition of community supported kitchen is, “a community scale model for food preparation” and that this is the only common link between the four community supported kitchens that exist in the United States today. As sole proprietor of Salt, Fire and Time, with a handful of volunteers, Yellig has her hands full cooking nutrient-rich food for 30+ families, teaching classes, and hosting events, not to mention the recent addition of a low-key cafe that is volunteer-run. The cafe offers a small selection of simple, traditionally-prepared foods that nourish. Think of a plate with dense bread and homemade butter, flavorful sauerkraut with texture and an egg made your way and you have the idea.
Yellig’s influences, and how she got her start as a chef
Yellig credits her grandmother, who was a traditional German chef, as among her first culinary influences. Yellig claims that it was not a participatory process in the kitchen, as her grandmother maintained secrecy, and did not divulge trade-secrets, as family recipes were a prized possession. Yellig also credits her uncle, who was a farmer, as a significant influence.
Although Yellig acknowledges her family experience as playing a significant role in the development of her food philosophy, she also comments on the process of educating herself, acknowledging the Slow Foods movement and the Weston A. Price Foundation, as fundamental sources of information, and Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook.
In New York, Yellig complemented her self-education by working for herbalists and attending the Natural Gourmet Institute. Yellig explains that she had the desire to do work that was healing, and at one point, thought about becoming a naturopathic doctor before attending the Natural Gourmet Institute.
Although the Natural Gourmet Institute, in some ways, formalized her education as a chef, Yellig recognized that she really had already learned the fundamentals of cooking well before she attended this school, and credits her personal experiences, mentors and the learning that she did on her own, as being a substantial part of her education. The Natural Gourmet Institute provided her with some valuable contacts and the opportunity to intern at Three Stone Hearth and work with Natural Gourmet Institute alumni and mentor, Jessica Prentice.
In the trenches
From New York, Yellig headed west to do an internship with Three Stone Hearth, a community supported kitchen in Berkley, California, and the first of its kind. Positively influenced by the Full Moon feast series, established by Jessica Prentice, Yellig was able to learn by watching and participating in a large scale operation that provided feasts for 50 to 100 people at a time. The labor was volunteer-based, and the business model supported 5 worker-owners full time. Yellig explained that the start-up money for this business was established with private donation-based funding and the great success of this business was in the excellent reputation of the worker-owners, and the community-based resources the chefs were able to access. According to Yellig, this cooperative was not only able to pay back $100,000 of borrowed money but able to pay themselves a salary within 1 year’s time, which is incredible for any business in their first year.
From here, Yellig went on to do formal paid work as an Executive Chef in Mendocino, leaving her volunteer kitchen manager position with Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley. As Executive Chef for this restaurant, community-minded Yellig worked with local purveyors and farmers to create meals for the public. These connections in the community led her to become the manager of the local farmers market and to become better connected with the agricultural community.
All points head north
From California, Yellig witnessed the migration of great chefs as they ran to the promised land. As a smaller city, with an already thriving food scene, Portland became popular. Access to local food, was a public demand. In similar fashion, Yellig chose Portland to be the location of Salt, Fire and Time because of the already established community support, and existing scene that was largely supported by the public. Yellig also noted the lower cost of living and the lack of taxation as being incentives to move.
Existing Community Supported Kitchens

To sustain CSK’s as a movement, the public will have to be involved. Yellig invites the consumer to participate in the “life cycle of the business” by supporting 1 of the 4 CSK’s in existence, and to engage in a community movement. If you want to get to know know Salt, Fire and Time stop by the kitchen and make yourself known.
Check out a CSK near you:
Salt, Fire and Time (Portland, OR)
Sweet Deliverance(New York, NY)
Three Stone Hearth (Berkeley, CA)
Some reasons why you should support your local CSK
The food purchased through a CSK is often the best use for your “eating out” food dollars.
The food purchased through a CSK is nutrient-rich, meaning, you are getting your vitamins and minerals, without using a supplement.
The food purchased through a CSK is traditional, and good for what ails you. Just ask your Grandmother, who had the right idea by placing sauerkraut beside the sausage on your plate.
The food purchased through a CSK is local, seasonal, and organic, thus it supports regional agriculture, the systems of the body as well as your local community.
The food purchased through a CSK supports your own good health and that of your family.
The food purchased through a CSK saves you time, which benefits the working public.
The food purchased through a CSK saves you money. As businesses, CSK’s benefit from wholesale discounts; a soup that would cost $34 dollars to make at home, only costs you $16 from a CSK. Your food dollars go into long term food costs, with better quality ingredients that would cost you 2x’s as much in the store.
And last but not least, the food purchased through a CSK allows you the opportunity to support revolutionary changes that are occurring in regard to food culture. As a consumer, you are demanding a higher quality product, thus making other food providers stand up and take notice, and supply the same quality ingredients. The principles of supply and demand are simple: as a consumer, if you demand high quality health-supporting food, you will get it, and at a cheaper price, because of the competitive market we live in.
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Nutrition and Cooking Classes

EAT TO LIVE NUTRITION

Healing the body with nutritional therapy and a culinary re-education

Traci Goodrich, NTP                                                                                                                                                                             

As a nutritional therapist and cook who emphasizes the use of nutrient-dense foods and traditional food preparation methods, my goal is to help people find time to prepare meals and to educate people about foods that support and maintain their vitality. Knowledge is power and with the right information, people can heal their own bodies with the vitamin and mineral-rich foods they consume. With a little planning, preparing meals that nourish the body can be easy. Part of this education emphasizes using quality ingredients, and helping people locate foods that contribute to maintaining health. I believe that an investment in the quality of foods you consume is an investment in your future, and is a form of preventative health care.

Check out upcoming nutrition and traditional foods cooking classes in November with Traci at community supported kitchen Salt, Fire and Time in Portland, Oregon.

THE NECESSARY EVILS

Sugar, salt and fat have a bad reputation, and for good reason! Refined and processed version of each are responsible for many of the degenerative diseases that exist today. Consumers are often scared and confused by too many choices. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn about versions of sugar, salt and fat that actually support health and why.

Students will learn ways to improve digestion and how proper digestion supports healthy immune function.

Students will learn how to source food on a local level.

Students will learn about the vitamins and minerals in the foods that eat and how to get the most bang for their buck by choosing foods that are the most nutrient-dense

LOCATION: Salt, Fire & Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

DATE: Monday, November 2, 2009

TIME:5:30 to 8:30

AMOUNT:$60.00

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

SUGAR ADDICTION: TROUBLE-SHOOTING AN EPIDEMIC

If you were to list addictive substances in order, sugar would be at the top of the list, and part of this reason is access–we are surrounded by it! I know that in Portland, Oregon, you cannot throw a stone without landing on an artisan cupcake. Sugar is also in many prepare foods that you might not consider to be sweet. This class will focus on strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar people consume in order to avoid larger health concerns such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn strategies to greatly reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

Students will learn about the glycemic index and the glycemic load of food and how carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels.

Students will learn how to “recalibrate” their blood sugar levels.

Students will learn how to avoid being part of the epidemic that is diabetes.

Location:Salt, Fire and Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

Date:Monday, November 16, 2009

Time:5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class. 

SUPPORTING THE NUTRITION NEEDS OF THE VEGETARIAN

Many vegetarians often have difficulty digesting food. This seems counter-intuitive considering vegetarians have a mostly plant-based diet, which is considered easier to digest. Yet, all too often, many vegetarians rely too heavily upon foods that are difficult to digest and that many people are actually sensitive to, such as soy, wheat and cheese. This class will focus on the special nutrition needs of the vegetarian diet. Part nutrition class, part cooking class, students will walk away with useful information, skills and resources they can immediately apply in their own lives, including the following:

Students will learn how to jump-start their body’s ability to produce stomach acid and digestive enzymes.

Students will learn about specific nutrients that many vegetarians are deficient in and how to better absorb the vitamins and minerals they consume.

Students will learn how to reduce their dependence on soy, wheat, and cheese and which versions are considered better alternatives for wellness.

Students will learn about some of the low-fat myths that might be undermining their body’s nutritional needs.

Location:Salt, Fire and Time, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Unit A

Date:Monday, November 23, 2009

Time:5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Please contact Traci Goodrich for more information and to register for classes.

503.233.7064 or tracigoodrich@gmail.com

The amount of the class includes nutrition education and food that is organic and sourced locally, for the preparation of the community meal. Class size will be limited to ensure individual attention. Some work-study positions are available that reduces the amount of the class.