Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vendor Profile: Kitchen Dances


You don't have to be a vegan or even a vegetarian to enjoy one of Montavilla Farmers Markets new food vendors. New to the market but certainly not new to the Portland vegan food movement, Piper Dixon is serving up food that you can eat with a clean conscience. Not just because it's animal product-free, but because you can rest assured knowing that you have done your taste buds a favor. On opening day, I ordered the breakfast burrito smothered in mushroom gravy (and a beautiful crimson strawberry for garnish). It was enormous. And scrumptious. I'm going back for more next week. You should too.

To quote from a recent Portland MIX magazine review of the best farmers market food had this to say about Kitchen Dances: "Vegan and gluten free are the new buzzwords among market vendors, and this one goes one better by arriving on a bike. Neighborhood resident and urban farmer Piper Dixon plans to offer unique and delicious wraps with both flour and — get this — sturdy greens such as collards for the wrappers. These are then stuffed with vegetables grown in his garden and drizzled with savory-sweet sauces. Considering he was a former partner in neighborhood hot spot Proper Eats, he’ll no doubt have an instant following. "
Count me in as one of the instant following. If you are looking for a good excuse to explore more meat-free meals, check out Piper's extensive list of cookbook recommendations below.

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1. Kitchen Dances specializes in vegan and raw foods, using fresh , seasonal ingredients. We support local farms and supplement with produce that we grow ourselves. It is extremely important for us to serve a quality, healthy product which represents the values of Northwest Vegan cuisine; compassionate, creative food infused and inspired with Northwest ideals and ingredients. I want our food to nourish the community and introduce some to the possibilities with vegan cuisine.

2. The biggest challenge is to grow a support base for a business so that it can sustain itself and provide a living wage for all involved. With that said, I believe in the values and quality of our food and am confident that Kitchen Dances can and will be a success concerning the parameters listed previously. There is a market for the type of cuisine that we represent and based on my connections from previous ventures and the supporters of the Montavilla Farmers Market, this will be a great year for Kitchen Dances to firmly establish itself and grow throughout the year.

3. In general, continuing to strengthen all aspects of the local food system. This includes, educating people to the importance, values and benefits of supporting local family farms and producers, providing healthy food to the children of our community and the meaningful relationships around growing our own food and eating together. As a community, we should be concerned with providing as much food (and other goods) for ourselves before we look outside our home base. Our main question, should be how do and will we feed ourselves? We should be looking to build up our local food base and economy in direct contrast to the globalized food system that has developed over the past few decades.

4. The Montavilla Farmers Market is my community market. I live in the neighborhood and based on my ideals, it only makes sense to be a part of and to support this market. Based on my experiences with other farmers markets, I believe that the smaller, community based markets provide the most opportunity for meaningful relationships with its members.

5. I have been inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz's books (Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengence, Etc.), Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard's (How it all Vegan, The Garden of Vegan) and Sarah's (La Dolce Vegan), Ron Picarski's (Eco-Cuisine), Jeremy Safron's The Raw Truth, Myra Kornfeld and George Minot's (The Voluptuous Vegan), and The Candle Cafe's Cookbook among others. I do believe that is important for cooks to develop a level of comfort with food that they can create meals based on what is at hand, knowing that it can and will be enjoyed.

6. Books: Wendell Berry (Bringing it to the Table, The Art of the Commonplace, The Unsettling of America, etc.), Michal Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food), Tom Robbins (The Food Revolution, Diet for a New America), Heather Flores (Food Not Lawns), The Fatal Harvest Reader edited by Andrew Kimbrell, Paul Roberts (The End of Food), Peter Singer (The Ethics of What We Eat), Erik Markus (Meat Market), Carlo Petrini (Slow Food Nation, Slow Food Revolution), Daniel Imhoff (Food Fight), to list just a few!

Magazine: Gastronomica

Movies: Earthlings, Food Inc., The Future of Food

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