Standing Stone Brewing Company is undeniably one of the best places to grab a great burger and house-brewed beer in Southern Oregon, but there’s more to their tasty tale than meets the eye.
Serving up a daily medley of fresh, local goodness is not the result of a quick decision to jump on the popular “farm to plate” bandwagon; it’s the culmination of nearly a quarter-century of thoughtful planning by SSBC’s owners, who by all accounts were pioneers in sustainability before it became a movement. “Stewardship is our foundational principle, and we constantly look for ways to reduce our impact on the planet, inside and outside the restaurant,” shared Standing Stone Brewing Company’s manager, Scott Adams- “so farm to fork was a natural progression for us.”
What started as a vision has become the cornerstone of a well-designed system of sustainability and efficiency practices. SSBC’s One Mile Farm, located just one mile from the restaurant, came to life in 2011 when SSBC owners approached the City of Ashland with a proposal to lease 260+ acres of fallow ground and return it to productive grass pastureland where beef and lamb could be raised. In terms of food stewardship principles such as “food miles” and “chain of custody” (knowing where your food comes from and how that impacts the planet), this farm can’t get much closer to your fork.
Currently, One Mile Farm raises about 25 head of cattle per year, and double that in lamb. “It’s a delicate balancing act,” shares Kari Jorgensen, OMF manager, “I try to anticipate the needs of the restaurant and make sure I have enough production to meet it.” With stewardship always in focus, SSBC creates strong partnerships with other local farmers when needed. RA Farms, located in Eagle Point, was a natural fit for their humanely raised pork. Many of the veggies you’ll find in the chef’s creations are raised on local organic farms and the house-brewed ales and lagers are made using 90% organic and/or local ingredients.
“We were so far ahead of so many green practice curves, now we are back-tracking and reassessing basic operations,” explains Scott, “We have an older building, so we are always looking for ways to become more energy efficient.” Scott continued- “We have been able to conserve on the natural gas we use from Avista by incorporating a hot water heat recapturing system and new gas range exhaust fans. We have also updated our energy management systems (EMS) and plant operations; and work to educate our employees and how they treat the resources within the building.”