Who’s Cooking

Jim Birkemeier

The commercial food dehydrator that Jim bought and donated to Taproot A Lopez Kitchen can hold up to 80 pounds of fresh fruit! These dried fruits are wonderful ingredients for many others’ products, including desserts and snack mixes. Plums, berries, peaches, apples, pears…. the list goes on and on.  You too could get abundant dried fruit from Lopez Island in our shared-use commercial kitchen!

We now have a corer/wedger that can process apples and pears at a phenomenal rate.

Jean Perry, Vortex Juice Bar

With decades of growing, harvesting, preserving, preparing, serving, and selling food under our belt, Vortex Juice Bar and Cafe has taken on the production of small batch products which directly reflect our island food culture and can be sold at local groceries. We are making hummus, soups, dressings, and sauces that make use of the beautiful produce grown on Lopez Island and also incorporate other Lopez made products. We hope to feed people in an uncommonly nourishing way that both reinforces their connection to the island and supports the livelihoods of our island producers.

Vortex embraces the idea that local foods are an honest investment in our island culture and economy. Promoting locally grown foods also represents an investment in the small farms and farmers that produce food with a minimal use of fossil fuels, and with respect for, and conservation of our irreplaceable topsoil and water. We celebrate the idea of eating seasonally and of making good use of what grows well here. We want to offer foods that are beautiful, clean, vital, and delicious.

Taproot, as a shared commercial kitchen, allows us to produce our goods efficiently in a larger, better equipped space than the Vortex kitchen, and enjoy the mutual support and collaboration of other food producers.

Lopez Locavores

Our non-profit organization has been promoting local eating since 2008, and actively engages in support of the Lopez School garden program.

Since 2017, we have also taken part in the Lopez Island Family Resource Center’s Gleaning Program, which collects excess fruit from many island orchards and both distributes the fruit fresh and processes it for later distribution to Lopez School, Lopez Fresh (the LIFRC’s food distribution point), the Senior Center, Meals on Wheels, and other community efforts to keep islanders well fed using gleaned local fruits.

Taproot community kitchen has provided a space for abundant fruit processing in a clean spacious commercial setting. Through grants from the Orcas Food Coop’s FARM Fund and the Lopez Thrift Shop, and also some very generous individual donations, Taproot has acquired large scale fruit processing equipment, including a corer/wedger, a dehydrator, an immersion blender, and a steam jacketed kettle. In 2018, we processed 830 pounds of fruit, and many hundreds more were kept in Taproot’s refrigerated storage awaiting distribution.

Taproot is a welcome resource in implementing the Locavore goal of keeping island people thriving with locally produced foods.

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