5 Riverside Restaurants Supporting Local Food and Farmers
July 5, 2016 | seedstock
Demand for local food in Riverside is growing as a result of awareness building initiatives like GrowRIVERSIDE helping to foster a robust local food system, support for weekly farmers’ markets that allow community members to connect with and purchase local produce from farmers. The fruits, and vegetables, of the growing local food movement in Riverside have also made their way onto restaurant menus across the county. So, if you live in the region, or plan on visiting, read on to discover 5 Riverside restaurants that are dedicated to supporting and serving food raised by local farmers.
Blackburn’s Farm-to-Table – Corona
Chef Bill Blackburn, the chef at Blackburn’s Farm-to-Table, wants to give everyone that comes into his restaurant the real-deal, farm-to-table experience. Everything Blackburn puts on the restaurant’s menu is in-season and comes from local growers in Riverside County and the broader Southern California region.
The chef’s use of organic ingredients attracts eaters from miles away to stop in and enjoy the dishes he serves from breakfast to dinner. For breakfast, Blackburn builds his meals around farm fresh, organic eggs, pancakes, and tantalizing sides; most lunch dishes come with organic greens and grass-fed meat; and dinner features organic greens, fresh fish, and more.
Chef Blackburn strives to engage the Corona community by providing diners with an authentic farm, fresh experience that connects them to their food and the farmers that grew it.
Health’s Kitchen – Riverside
For some, the word “local” can be ambiguous. But Health’s Kitchen restaurant in Riverside, California, has strict rules regarding where it obtains its produce. Ideally, it must come from farms located in the City of Riverside, and when this isn’t possible, only Riverside County farms will suffice.
“Fresh produce is the main event on the menu,” says Health’s Kitchen co-owner Robin Meadows. “There are a few restaurants that obtain some of their food locally, but we get 100 percent of our produce from local farmers.”
Ninety percent of Health’s Kitchen’s produce is from the City of Riverside, with the remaining 10 percent coming from Riverside County. The restaurant’s menu is a diverse array of entrees, soups, salads, sandwiches and even breakfast.
The menu also offers several meat offerings, including chicken, steak and salmon. Currently, the restaurant does not procure meat locally to the extent Meadows would like, although it all comes from southern California. Due to regulations, Health’s Kitchen is not able to butcher onsite, but she emphasizes that all of the meat is free-range and never frozen, and contains no hormones.
E.A.T Marketplace – Temecula
Founded in 2011 by Chef Leah di Bernardo, Temecula, CA-based E.A.T Marketplace is a farm-to-table style eatery, specialty food marketplace, sustainable education/event space, and home delivery service for both local organic produce and meals.
To improve the food system and community health, di Bernardo opened E.A.T to show people how to source and utilize sustainable, clean ingredients. E.A.T sources the bulk of its produce and goods from small local farms, ranches, and artisans. While good food is not cheap, di Bernardo believes that supporting local growers and food makers will ultimately make sustainable food available to everyone.
E.A.T Marketplace serves food that’s free of GMOs, antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. The restaurant also serves a hearty supply of meat, too: its grass-fed beef is from Eel River, Northern California; pork is from Cook Pigs in Julian, California; its 100 percent GMO-free poultry is from Smart Chicken; and the establishment’s sandwich meats come from Diestal Ranch & Nimans.
Bushfire Kitchen – Temecula
Bushfire Kitchen, a family-owned restaurant, focuses on sourcing locally grown food and supporting local producers whenever possible. Bushfire’s provides simple fare prepared with top shelf ingredients at an affordable price for local residents.
Bushfire’s dishes include meals made with free-range, and hormone and antibiotic-free chickens that are vegetarian fed and air chilled, 100 percent angus, certified organic, grass-fed meat, and produce that’s sourced from local producers. In addition to serving fresh meals that contain organic ingredients when available, the eatery also features catering services.
Some of the local Temecula producers that Bushfire sources from include Kay Schroeder Organic Vegetables, Linda Mullins, and Crow Pass Farm.
The Salted Pig – Riverside
Riverside restaurateur Ronaldo Fierro believes in locally-produced food—it tastes good, it’s good for the economy, and it’s important for the health and vitality of Riverside, California, and its residents. Owner of The Salted Pig, a downtown Riverside gastropub, and W. Wolfskill, a Riverside craft cocktail bar, Fierro has always strived to source ingredients as locally as possible.
“Since the beginning, our goal was to use local produce,” he says. Fierro defines local as within a 30-mile radius of downtown Riverside. However, Fierro admits he was not aware of how challenging it could be to purchase local ingredients.
“We would get two or three cases of something, and it would be gone,” he says. The local produce utilized by Fierro’s establishment was merely supplemental, and often came from backyard citrus growers.
But since becoming involved with GrowRIVERSIDE, Fierro has grown more optimistic about being able to procure more locally-grown food. He appreciates how the initiative’s efforts to build a robust local food system have brought people together from all links on the food production chain.
Just like Fierro’s businesses can’t afford to be isolated, neither can growers. He says that local food production in Riverside and the surrounding area provides opportunities galore not just for him and his operations, but for Riverside as a whole. Purchasing produce from local farmers keeps money in the area, and increases the stream of funds for associated businesses.