Pattisier Paula and Chef Calvin Byrd at Raspberry's Bistro (photo Sioux City Journal)
A real beefsteak tomato has a unique ribbed pattern of juicy seed compartments on the inside. Growing weights of 1-2 lbs. or more, this behemoth of the tomato world is a meaty treasure. You can trust Calvin Byrd to know when it is ripe. You may soon see him slicing up big, thick, portions at his new “creation station” at Rasberry’s Bistro downtown Sioux City. But first he needs to find more farmers growing rainbow tomatoes and baby potatoes.
Raspberry’s Bistro and Fine Pastry has been offering the Siouxland area a unique first taste of French Fusion Cuisine since 2008 and are enjoying their first few months at their newest location 333 Jackson Street in the Badgerow Building. (Flavor’s simplified translation: French Fusion Cuisine = really delicious real, good food).
Everything edible in the restaurant is crafted in-house except the ketchup and the garbanzo beans. They strive to maintain a seasonal menu, continually adding features and new events. The latest is the creative working kitchen at the former bar where Byrd will be fashioning a flavorful daily feature.
This is where those beefsteak and baby spinach will shine. Colorful chard, fresh chives, and your latest eggplant or pepper cultivar will be transformed into tasty dishes before your eyes. Whatever suits the chef’s (or your) palate that day. OR, what he’d really
like to utilize is the produce that the local farmer can bring in that day.
I asked Chef Byrd why he wants more local food at Raspberry’s. “You mean besides the obvious flavor?” he asked. As it turns out, this is a guy who gets excited about supporting local farmers and businesses. The restaurant wants to serve food that has been grown with care and attention. And if we can grow it in Siouxland, why would he buy it from California or a different country altogether? “This [farmer] is a fellow member of our community who we should be supporting,” Byrd explains. The economics of supporting local products and creating jobs is a vision that he understands and supports.
So bring on the beefsteaks, farmers! Bring in the onions, garlic, shallots, fennel, peppers, greens, carrots, fruits, corn, herbs, leeks, squash, beef, lamb, pork cream, and buttermilk! No need for eggs–they already get theirs from Freedom Farms
. And he already uses local cooking oil from Pureside Organics. Contact Calvin Byrd for more information about the products you can provide (712) 252-2948, because he is eager to hear from you.
The house salad. Looks like local ingredient possibilities!
For more tasty tidbits from Raspberry’s visit their Facebook page
If you’re a farmer looking to sell to Raspberry’s or other restaurants and institutions read up on tips and regulations here
The best part of being a full-time student and owning your own organic food business is that “It doesn’t take long to implement what I learned in the classroom and apply it to my business,” says Richard Miller, a sophomore Marketing major at Briar Cliff University CEO of Pureside Organics
. You can often see Miller heading straight from class to the Small Business Lab in the Eldon and Regina Roth Center for Entrepreneurship on campus.
But the best part is also one of the most challenging. “My biggest challenge is translating what I learned in class into the real work situation I have with Pureside,” Miller continues, “There is a big difference between being book smart and street smart.” Miller is covering both types.
He had just joined the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Society for Human Resource Management his first year at college when Woodbury County Rural Economic Development Director Rob Marqusee
came to speak to the club about the rationale behind the need for local products and a sustainable regional food system. Richard said he began to understand how we ship away the ingredients grown in our region to be processed and manufactured far away from here while we spent millions of dollars to import products with some of those very same ingredients. How do we cut out some of the middle costs and stimulate local economies, he wondered.
Well, how does drawing up business plan to procure organic oil produced from American Natural Soy
in Cherokee, IA, bottle it in Des Moines, IA, and sell it in Sioux City, IA, sound? It sounded good to Richard Miller!
“Why oil?” I asked him. “I sat down and thought about a lot of different food business ideas after I met with Rob. And one food product that seems to be in the middle of everything is oil.”
Miller has expanded his perspective on local and organic foods since starting up Pureside Organics, including trying his hand at making pork scaloppini with risotto and zested lemon broccoli on KTIV’s “What’s Cookin’?”
And he seems pretty happy with changes that take place through learning. So take an adventurous tip from Miller and try some of the oil for yourself. You’ll have the chance to have a taste of a soybean-based organic oil as well as support a local organic food business.
You can find Pureside Organics cooking oil on the shelves of the Briar Cliff campus bookstore and in the organic food sections of Hy-Vee Food stores on Hamilton Boulevard and Lakeport Road in Sioux City. He’ll also be appearing at the Sioux City Farmers Market this summer.
Did you know that the ladies in Battle Creek like tacos on Tuesday nights? They sure do! They flock to The Bread Box Café owned by local Scott Palmer. Some like it spicy, and some prefer them cheesy. Palmer will provide it all, because he’s the ultimate variety man.
Greens, beets, turnips, spinach, lettuce, baby bok choy, zucchini, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, green beans, okra, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, radishes, and anything “weather cooperative” are a few of the things he’s raised. And with a diverse background working in restaurants, greenhouses, and on various farms, he knows a few things about variety. Having been a vendor at farmers’ markets in Cherokee, Ida Grove, Lake View, Shenandoah, Denison, Sioux City, and Omaha he’s got some market variety under his belt too.
So it is no surprise that when a tornado wiped out his first big vegetable garden before his farmers’ market debut twelve years ago he knew that all was not lost. “Well…” said the market manager, “Can you bake?” His first baking additions to his food repertoire were pumpkin and banana bread—the two he asked his wife to help teach him how to make that very same night.
Now Palmer self identifies as “primarily a baker.” His specialties? Onion cheese bread and strawberry shortcake bread are two recipes that he has developed. And because he supports variety and understands the many different needs of various diets, he’s worked on salt-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free breads.
“Variety is something different,” he says, “I hope I can appeal to various people at the market—I have something to catch your eye.” Whether that be a hanging basket, a large bucket of pickling cucumbers for home canning, or “the best strawberry rhubarb jam you will ever taste,” Palmer is likely to have a few new recipes around. He’s also interested in value-added products, especially with berries. Rhubarb, zucchini, pumpkins, apples, and other berries—what variety products can be made from the raw foods?
Just don’t be looking for gooseberries in Palmer’s foods too soon, as they are one of the few varieties that have escaped his exploratory recipes. Have you seen any around?
You can find Palmer selling produce, baked goods, and plants in Ida Grove this summer 11:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the City Park Shelter House, as well as at The Bread Box in Battle Creek open for breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Tuesday-Thursday, and Sunday buffet.
And if that doesn’t sound like enough spicy, cheesy, veggie, baked, and preserved variety for you Scott mentions, “Oh, and I make candy too.”