Ashland Food Co-op: Good Food and Community

Good food and good community are two things that should go together. Such was the case at the Ashland Food Co-op in Oregon. It was really quite astounding. The outside lawn served as a sort of town square -- a gathering place for all members of the community. And on July 3rd, it was full of people of all ages -- eating, playing music, and enjoying the unseasonably wonderful 70° weather. Even the town mayor stopped by for a bite. We arrived in Ashland the day before to the open arms of Annie Hoy and Gretchen Addison who welcomed us heartily, and planned their July 3rd celebration around our visit -- a cookout right outside their store--which proved a perfect spot for us considering the throngs of people already congregated.

Holly and Troy were on hand from Emerald Hills Farm to help out on the grill. We were, after all, grilling their beef. They've been raising grass-fed beef for 6 years, and although we didn't have a chance to visit their farm, the top sirloin we were sampling was unbelievable. Along with the beef, we were also grilling lamb shoulder steaks from Magnolia Farms.

Since they weren't able to make it out to the cookout, Mel and Elissa of Magnolia Farms welcomed us the next day to their beautiful home 2 hours outside of Ashland in Roseburg, OR. Elissa was only able to stay an hour or so, as she had to deliver some of her meat to the co-op that afternoon. Her lambs are happy and lovely -- Living out their lives on the rolling pastures and being herded by one of the many shepherds: the family's loyal dogs. It was the perfect way to round out a wonderful visit to Southern Oregon. To say that we were blown away would be an understatement.

The July 3rd Menu: