|Summer Jo's Organic|
|Summer Jo's Organic Farm, Restaurant and Bakery caveat emptor Grants Pass, Oregon |
|8th of Jul, 2011 by User306317 |
|Recently on a trip from Portland, my husband and I met some friends at an Organic farm, restaurant and bakery, called Summer Jo's. What a lovely property, filled with herb gardens and a farm. Coming from Portland where the farm to table movement is world class, we were excited to see a place in such a beautiful setting,, there in Grants Pass. The lunch we had was uniquely prepared by the chef. What we were confused about was the fact, as we walked through the farm and its surroundings, we noticed the aracana chickens, sparce in population. My husband noticed coming from his own family farm, that there wouldn't be enough egg production to satisfy the restaurants consumption. We questioned ourselves about what actually was being represented by the restuarant and till this day we still questioned it. We also noticed that the farm had just started to be planted and surely the produce crops the restaurant was using were not coming from the farm as stated on the menu. On my trip to the ladies room, I noticed behind the back kitchen door, produce boxes folded up and to my dismay not all of them were labeled organic. Our hats off to the chef for the wonderful flavors, but we are questioning the integrity of the owners of this place called Summer Jo's.|
|Summer Jo's is an Oregon Tilth certified organic farm NOT a certified organic restaurant. We have never claimed to be a certified organic restaurant; it would be price prohibitive and not supported by the economically challenged Josephine County. We grow as much as possible, given the vagaries of the season and what does well here. Obviously, not a lot comes off the farm in the wintertime. What we can't grow we try to source locally. We cannot afford to purchase everything organic but we do honor the dirty dozen list and because we care about our customers we always purchase those items from organic growers. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/|
We source our seafood from Port Orford Sustainable Seafood. We source grass fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and poultry. Your husband is correct. We do not have enough chickens or chicken acreage to supply the restaurant. We sell the eggs at the farmer's market to supplement farm income. The chickens also help fertilize our fields and contribute to our compost pile.
Nancy Groth, proprietor
|I am a local who has dined at Summer Jo's for years and gotten to know and trust their entire family, many of whom have worked there for as many years as I've been going there. As far as the original complainer above, I have to wonder what's really behind it, because the farm and gardens are wide open for the public to walk through any time. The whole place is actually. Plus, they even have a self-serve on-site farm stand with two refrigerators full of whatever is fresh on the farm at the time, including lots of extra eggs by the dozens. They also sell at several farmers markets in nearby towns around our valley, so they must have more than enough for the restaurant, or there wouldn't be anything to sell at the markets.|
I often bring out of town guests and walk them around the farm between courses. I can personally attest that you won't find another restaurant in our entire county that comes anywhere even close to the commitment to sustainability that Summer Jo's has. And lets' face it, we're a pretty poor rural county on the whole that just doesn't get the same year-round selection of flown-in organic produce from around the world that businesses in bigger cities do. All of us who strive to live an organic life are simply forced to buy some food from "conventional" sources from time to time. Our growing season just isn't long enough, and like most other places, our stores and restaurants are still reliant on some food from far away places.
I'm glad that I stumbled on this today and had a chance to share my experience, because, I whole-heartedly recommend Summer Jo's to anyone visiting Southern Oregon. The food is delicious, and it's as organic and sustainable as you're going to find anywhere around here.
Josephine County local
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