Peter Kircher jokes that serving food with ingredients from local farms is almost boring these days. But that wasn’t the case in 2002 when Kircher, who owns Golden Valley Brewery & Restaurant with his wife, Celia, bought a ranch and farm to supply his eatery with the freshest meals in town.
On a European vacation in the 70s, he realized that excellent dining experiences are created by the freshest ingredients.
“I just couldn’t believe how much better the food was there,” he said. “I learned it was because they go to the market everyday, and everything being sold at the market was grown within five miles of the city. That’s where the quality came from.”
With the influx of passionate chefs in the Yamhill Valley, that level of quality can be found at most eateries. In fact, the trend of seasonal menus — marked by chalk board menus and partner farms listed on the walls — has even put Kircher and his crew on notice. The restaurant used to change its menu every year, now it does so twice a year.
“People are more sensitive to seasonality, and they like change,” he said. “The problem we have is that we have customers that have been coming to us 23, 24 years and they want the same thing they’re used to. It’s a delicate balancing act of keeping our great regular customers happy and attracting new, young customers.”
Kircher said he loves the emergence of Yamhill Valley as a food destination. He’s been amazed as the number of great local restaurants increased from a few to a few dozen.
“There’s a lot of restaurants, and there’s a lot of people making real food and they’re good at it.”