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Amidst Restaurant Industry Collapse, Coquine Supports Farmers with a New CSA Model

In addition to elaborate takeout menus, you can now order the same coveted produce, dairy, and coffee used by the restaurant.

By Karen Brooks March 18, 2020

A CSA bag from Coquine

Image: Coquine

Right now, as many restaurants have temporarily shuttered, the smells of cumin-scented carrot soup perfume Coquine’s celebrated farm-fresh kitchen, and bakers whip up the restaurant's famed brown butter chocolate chip cookies. Owners Katy Millard and Ksandek Podbielski have decided to fight the good fight, keeping limited hours for some staff, while launching a creative takeout plan that mirrors the restaurant’s usual breakfast-lunch-dinner rhythms at 6839 SE Belmont St. 

The game plan includes a mini breakfast nosh program (critically acclaimed cocoa nib granola to white chocolate scones); lunch, cooked to order for takeout; and curbside-pickup Coquine dinners with three entrees, roast chicken to lasagna verde, salads, cookies, and tiramisu. Ordering directions are available online. (Take note: breakfast goods need to be ordered by 10 p.m. the day before; lunch can be on the fly, via phone; and dinner pickup requires a reservation through Tock.)

Importantly, Millard and Podbielski are helping lead the call to provide income revenue for farmers and purveyors. Last night, they initiated a new “farm direct pickup box,” available on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can build-your-own box, drawing from fresh produce (from local-star farmers Black Locust and Wobbly Cart Farm), glass-bottled milk from a Helvetia dairy, Coava coffee beans, fresh chicken eggs, outstanding cheeses carried by the chef favorite Cowbell company, and even flower bouquets by the house florist, Hilary Horvath, because, as Podbielski puts it, “we still have to smile.”

The farmers can't file for unemployment just because they can't sell stuff,” he says. “The key for us was how can we keep buying stuff from our farmers and purveyors? What if we offered a way for people to get the produce we use? Or the coffee? Or the cheeses?” 

When it comes to vegetables, like most CSA boxes, you won’t be able to pick and choose. “We'll try to put together a nice variety that is interesting but also practical, not just the fun stuff," explains Podfielski. “Right now there's purple sprouting broccoli, beets, and raab. But don't expect salsify and burdock! Some things are best left to the kitchen.” Flexibility is the goal: try it once, do it on occasion, or sign up as a regular subscriber. 

The couple posted their plan at 6 p.m. on March 17. Within an hour, 40 diners were on board. (“A surprising number of people signed up for the incredible maple syrup, made by Dan at Black Locust.”) This could be the dawn of the new CSA, or perhaps the new world omakase.

Visit the website for breakfast orders, call 503-384-2481 for lunch, and order via Tock for dinner.

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