French Market - A Farm to Table Restaurant in Central Oregon
“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.”
– Joel Salatin, farmer and author of Folks, This Ain’t Normal; You Can Farm
As restaurateurs, food and eating are very important to us. Enjoying a meal either in solitude or with companions is an experience, so it's essential to us to provide the right setting, food options, scents, visuals, and ambiance for our guests. The root of the word 'companion' directly speaks to the moments we spend sharing food with others. 'Con' means with, and 'pan' means bread. Thus, a companion is someone that you break bread with. To us, these experiences are largely made or broken based on the quality of food and ingredients on each plate.
One of the elements that is most important to us is how and where the food we serve comes from. We do our best to use local ingredients from Oregon farmers, dairies, creameries, and ranches using sustainable practices. During our time living and traveling in Europe, we found that a slow food mentality is much more prominent there than here in America. Farmers' markets, fresh gardens, small batches, and made-from-scratch ingredients are ingrained in society. This benefits everyone: the local food cultivators, the animals, the restaurants, and the patrons who eat the food.
For Judy, this was a way of life growing up. She lived in Southern California on citrus ranches, where eating fresh and locally grown produce was the norm. Living in a fast world, many cultures have largely strayed away from the days of fresh, slow food.
We spoke with a local beef rancher recently, and he explained the care, planning, and precision that it takes to raise a healthy, high quality, delicious steer. Aside from the importance of treating animals in a respectful and humane way, the flavor of the meat largely depends on what type of life the animal has. For example, an animal that has been stressed, cramped, afraid, fed low-quality food, and taken in a truck to the butcher has a much different flavor and texture than an animal that has been raised in a peaceful, happy environment with a high quality diet.
As much as possible, we’ve chosen a farm-to-table theme for French Market’s menu. Our menu changes with the seasons, based on what's available. We also have our own garden near our patio, so during summer many of our fresh herbs and vegetables come straight from our backyard! Our choices for ingredient sources not only provide some of the best food options for our restaurant, but they also support local economy and sustainable agriculture. Perhaps more importantly, it supports the individuals who go above and beyond to cultivate great tasting, local, humane operations close to home.