Farm & Food Stories

Stories to inspire local food choices and connect you to the faces behind the field.


By Tara Redfield

Tara Redfield is a food lover, photographer, and host from Sisters. She shares her passion for food and gastronomic experiences on her blog, The Food Pervert

I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect time to come home to Central Oregon for a visit. All month long, the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA) has been promoting local farmers and ingredients with the Local Food Challenge campaign and Taste Local Thursdays Restaurant Series. Every Thursday, through the rest of September and October, a different restaurant will host a Taste Local night. They will create a few specials incorporating ingredients from Central Oregon farmers. The point is to get the community excited about how fresh and delicious local food tastes!  I was able to snag a seat at Jackson’s Corner East, in Bend for their turn at sourcing local ingredients for their evening menu. It was so fun to participate in this important awareness program and to taste some of Central Oregon’s tastiest ingredients!

Jackson’s Corner East not only had a great menu for Taste Local night, but also in general! The restaurant aims to source as many local ingredients as they can all year round, not just when it’s asked of them.  I loved the open space and “market” feel.  It reminded me of one of my favorite LA destinations, Joan’s on 3rd.  It’s casual enough that you order at the counter, but the food is crafted with heart and style.  Maybe we can call it fancy fast-casual dining?

My favorite dishes were the Local Heirloom Tomatoes with Stone Fruit, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Jocobsen’s Sea Salt and the House-made Meatballs in Marinara topped with Romano Cheese and Fresh Basil.  I also ordered the Havana Sandwich and the Local Radicchio Salad. Another one of the local specials, which sadly I was too full to try was a beautiful Pizza with Zucchini, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Garlic, Lemon, Thyme and Basil. I can imagine how delicious it must have been!

Participating farms included: Radical Roots Farm, Rainshadow Organics and Juniper Jungle Permaculture Farm.  Not only was it comforting to know that I was eating fresh and local ingredients, but it was also fun to see what the chef had come up with using these specific ingredients. Even though LA is where I live, Central Oregon will always be home to me.  There are so many farms here, including the one I grew up on and that’s why it’s so important that they get your support! I promise you will taste the difference!

For more inspiration from Tara visit

Recipe and drink pairings to experience a taste of Central Oregon

Shared by Julie Cockburn. Julie Cockburn is a food writer and photographer specializing in culinary travel and regional foods at When she’s not in the kitchen or out on a culinary adventure, you can find her hiking or trail running among the juniper and sage in Central Oregon’s High Desert.

Central Oregon greens with lavender and honey vinaigrette

Here in Central Oregon, we have several lavender producers making oils, skin care, and dried culinary lavender. Pair this aromatic herb with local honey to make a simple vinaigrette. Drizzle it over some fresh greens tossed with two classic Oregon foods, pears and hazelnuts, and you’ve got a tasty salad that captures the flavor of the High Desert.  Serve this salad up with a glass of La Crescent white wine from Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards, or a chardonnay from Maragas Winery.

Lavender and honey vinaigrette

Makes just over 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon local honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender, crushed lightly between your fingers to release the flavor
  • Pinch of salt

Fresh Green Salad

Serves 4
  • 8 cups greens (such as arugula, baby spinach, etc.)
  • 1 pear, cored and sliced into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 ounces aged cheddar, shaved into thin pieces with a vegetable peeler or crumbled

For the lavender and honey vinaigrette, combine everything in a small bowl or jar, and whisk or shake until well combined. Keep for up to a week in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.For the salad, place the greens in a large bowl or individual serving dishes. Arrange the pear slices decoratively over the greens. Sprinkle the hazelnuts and cheese over top, then drizzle sparingly with lavender and honey vinaigrette.

Story Archive

By Elyse Kopecky
Indulgent Nourishment, LLC
Eat Local In The High Desert

By Julie Cockburn
A Taste of Place
Tasting Central Oregon

By Ann Synder
White Diamond Ranch
Three Farmers, One Dinner