local food sourcing
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 most important word for the Riverside Food Co-op (RFC) is “local.” Its definition can be broad, but for Nick Melquiades, RFC core team operations manager, “local” has a very specific meaning.
“For us, local is micro-local,” Melquiades says. “Ninety-five percent of our produce comes from within 25 miles of downtown Riverside.”
The RFC formed in 2011 in response to the recession in Riverside, has eventual plans to open a store. Not having a physical retail location to sell local produce, however, has not prevented it from playing an outsize role in local food system development in the City of 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.”
(Press Release) – RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Riverside is stepping up its culinary game through the development of two new downtown dining destinations — Chow Alley@Courthouse Piazza and the Mess Hall on Market — that will dramatically increase the number of eating options in a downtown area that already has seen a food revolution in the past few years.
“Chow Alley and the Mess Hall will take our budding foodie culture in Riverside to a whole new level,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “Downtown Riverside already is a dining and entertainment destination in western Riverside County, and these projects will put us on the map across Southern California.”
Chow Alley@Courthouse Piazza calls for extending the successful Main Street pedestrian mall by closing Main between 10th and 11th streets and creating a piazza for outdoor dining, farmers’ markets, and entertainment in front of the historic Riverside County Courthouse. A dozen eateries operating out of modern cargo containers would fill a renovated outdoor space between the Courthouse and Market Street.
The Riverside Food Co-op is not only increasing access to locally-produced foods in Riverside, California, but the organization is also bringing other entities together toward this cause.
Riverside was hit hard by the Great Recession, and according to Nick Melquiades, a member of the Co-op’s CORE (Community of Outstanding and Resourceful Entrepreneurs) Team, the Riverside Food Co-op was borne from those difficult times.
“The Co-op formed in response to the recession in Riverside, including real estate foreclosures and a bad economic climate,” Melquiades says. “We needed something more independent.”