Tucked into quiet valleys along Mary’s River just south of Philomath is 50-acre Gathering Together Farm, owned and operated by husband and wife pair John Eveland and Sally Brewer with their three daughters. The farm has been cultivating fresh local certified organic produce since 1987, and delivers fruits and vegetables to dozens of Oregon restaurants. Their produce can be found at farmers markets in the Corvallis, Newport, and Portland areas. Gathering Together Farm also offers membership in a CSA (community supported agriculture), and provides members with varied and colorful fruits and vegetables – 40 crops and 100 varieties – for 22 weeks between June and November each year.
In 2003, an on-site Farm Stand was developed to sell farm-raised produce along with home-made soups, salads, and pastries – including organic potato doughnuts made fresh daily. While it still carries produce, honey, gourmet cheeses, fruit spreads, tuna, and other home-made and locally-grown goodies, the Farm Stand has since been expanded into a full-scale restaurant serving “Italian-influenced Northwest cuisine” prepared mainly from ingredients found at local area farms. Decorated in stunning natural wood and potted flowers, the restaurant operates seasonally between April and October.
Josh Swanson, a server, irrigator, and driver at Gathering Together Farm, operates his own farm nearby with his wife, where the pair raises goats and rare duck breeds and provides the restaurant with some of their local menu ingredients. Swanson revealed his obvious love of food in his colorful and mouth-watering descriptions of menu items – which change each week depending on what’s in season. Highly talented head chef JC Mersmann crafts a fine variety of Italian-inspired and aesthetically-pleasing dishes. Order freshly squeezed lemonade and a home-made pizza baked to crispy perfection – the wood-fired pizza oven in easy view of dining patrons was built by Oregon cob artist Kiko Denzer. The lightly toasted artisan bread, country pâté, and ricotta capellaci will melt in your mouth. Given the delectable food and extremely reasonable prices, it’s best to call the farm in advance for lunch or dinner reservations.
Gathering Together Farm also hosts wine dinners throughout the spring, summer, and fall, and each dinner is perfectly paired with wines from a particular local winery. But it’s not just the locally-derived fare and delicious Italian-inspired menu that makes this restaurant special – all left-over food is composted and then spread over the farm’s fields to sustainably and organically replete soil nutrients for future food crops. It’s a beautiful, healthy cycle.
By Genevieve Weber
– Gathering Together Farm
– Gathering Together Farm Blog