Submitted by the San Juan Makers Guild.
Fall is a great time for learning about local food and supporting island farms. As we move into Thanksgiving after the successful Farm Tour events, ‘where’ our food comes from becomes an increasingly relevant conversation. Recognizing Island Farm Heroes is a good way to help support our local food system — and ensure the future of our farms.
A new island food celebration started this year in conjunction with the Farm Tours and saw five restaurants participate in the Farm Heroes Award project highlighting menu options featuring locally grown produce. Orcas restaurants offering locally grown fare include Wild Island, Orcas Hotel, Inn at Ship Bay, and Doe Bay Cafe. On Lopez, Ursa Minor showcases their Lopez grown produce menu options. You are encouraged to support island restaurants who in turn buy from local farmers, all year long.
To honor island farmers, the San Juan Island Farm Tours and the San Juan Makers Guild have joined hands with local restaurants to present five farms with a Farm Heroes Award of Recognition and a restaurant gift certificate in appreciation of their heroic efforts made during the pandemic to keep fresh foods available in their communities.
Recipients of the Farm Heroes Award and gift certificates include:
• Amy and Eric of Lum Farm on Orcas in recognition of the wonderful food, wool products and education services they offer on the Land Bank’s Coffelt Preserve farm site, awarded by the Inn at Ship Bay.
• Kathy and Hailey of West Beach Farm on Orcas in recognition of their soil-smart café-to-farm compost project with Wild Island (and hosting the Farm Tour’s film nights and discussion panel).
• Molly and George of Orcas Farm in recognition for their years of collaboration with Doe Bay Café as produce-providers and farm-to-table ag instructors working with future farmers.
• Taylor and Kristen of Morning Star Farm on Orcas in recognition for their expanding farm production serving restaurants and grocers including Wild Island and the Orcas Hotel.
• Ken and Kathryn of Horse Drawn Farm on Lopez for recognition of their ongoing dedication to low carbon practices and produce provided to Ursa Minor.
All of this year’s Farm Heroes also promoted island community health by growing and selling produce for local food banks, One Canoe Veggie Rx, SNAP Ed, WIC, Senior Nutrition and Fresh Bucks non-profit food equity programs.
Let’s be sure to cheer the other amazing food heroes in our communities – our restaurants and cafes! In response to very challenging COVID impacts, our chefs deserve recognition as amazing Food Heroes for the hard work it is taking to keep their communities and island guests fed given the unpredictable fluctuations in supply and demand. Quickly responding to island residents’ needs by switching to orders-to-go, setting up protective service areas, and promoting outdoor dining, our restaurants are also beginning to feature limited indoor seating as advised by Washington’s State Health Department. This has been a really challenging time for food providers and for their customers. Disruptions in mainland food deliveries, a lack of worker housing, and ferry interruptions to tourist visits have caused some small businesses to close and others to downsize.
Fortunately, the caring network of San Juan County residents has rallied in support of local farms and local small businesses. Support your local farms, restaurants and cafes this fall and winter — it means a lot to the future of the islands’ food system. A special thanks to Wild Island, Inn at Ship Bay, Doe Bay Café, Orcas Hotel and Ursa Minor for providing delicious, nutritious local fare – and supporting local farms.