This Innovative Portland Caterer Puts Fresh and Local First
THE LOCAL CONNECTION
“I don’t think we do anything very different from restaurants, but what sets us apart is that we’re caterers trying to use the same standard.” That’s how Artemis Foods Chef Pati Gallagher explains the ethos behind the 17-year-old catering company that sources locally, seasonally, and, whenever possible, organically.
Unlike restaurants, which tend to serve the same dishes, catering menus are constantly changing and customized, which makes it a challenge to buy from smaller, local purveyors in bulk. But Artemis is committed to doing it and has developed relationships with Oregon farms like Gathering Together and Blue Truck Produce, which send lists each week highlighting what’s in season. As far as proteins go, Gallagher buys whole birds and chicken breasts from Scratch Farms and albacore tuna from Sacred Sea. When an order is big enough, she turns to Brigham Fish, a Native American company with special rights to access the Columbia River. She especially likes using them if she’s doing a menu themed around the Pacific Northwest or the Oregon Trail.
Gallagher buys as much as she can from these folks, but if her order is too small, she turns to the area farmers markets. “I walk around to see who has the ingredient I need, who has the best of it, and at the best price. We’re lucky because there are so many markets. I can even go on a Thursday night.”
While customers sometimes request a beloved dish they’ve had from the company before, Gallagher stresses that they won’t make something if it’s not seasonal. “We have a butternut squash sandwich, but I couldn’t make it in the summer. I came up with a kale option instead.”
With summer winding down and fall approaching, she’s excited about the possibilities for the plate. “We do a grilled and roasted vegetable platter all year, and between summer and fall it’s gorgeous because everything is available. There’s all the squashes, cauliflower, kale, all the greens, even roasted tomatoes. It’s the only time of year when you can have both brussels sprouts and tomatoes.”
It’s also the time when she begins “putting things up,” aka preserving the summer bounty so it can be used in the colder months. “I pickle the zucchini, oven roast the tomatoes—so we can have them on sandwiches while other places will just use tasteless tomatoes.” Ditto with peppers; they get roasted, then put in the freezer until she’s ready to make a Romesco sauce when they’re not around anymore.
Gallagher is also pumped about all the potatoes available, and one of their most popular vegan dishes: a roasted potato cup with Romesco sauce and pimenton aioli—those touches of summer still present thanks to her seasonal-forward practices. When pressed to pick a fall favorite, she offers up their carrot roulade with a chard fromage blanc filling and a spiced carrot emulsion.
SUSTAINABLE FROM BACK OFFICE TO DINNER PLATE
Artemis is also unique in its rabid devotion to sustainable practices—both in the kitchen and the office. In addition to sourcing locally, which means less fossil fuels and pollution go into getting food to clients’ tables, Artemis uses only compostable and sustainable sugarcane paper products, and supplies real plates and cutlery at no charge for breakfast and lunch drop-off catering, as well as bulk water instead of individual water bottles. The Artemis kitchen and offices follow US Green Building standards, which include LED lighting, low-flow faucets, and double-insulated windows and walls. Plus, they use gas appliances, water heating, and the Green Source Renewable Power program for electric energy—which is 100 percent renewable and generated from wind, geothermal, and biomass power.
It’s an impressive dedication—and one that allows you to not only enjoy Artemis’s delicious and innovative food, but to feel good about eating it. It’s a rare, dual perk in the catering world.
Click here for more information about Artemis Foods.