When Fermenter and Farm Spirit chef and owner Aaron Adams saw a chance to expand his “family of restaurants” he not only gave diners more options for delicious, local, farm-fresh brunch, lunch, and dinner, he greatly expanded plant-based options, too.
Prior to the official expansion in 2020, co-owners Adams and chef Scott Winegard began a 14-foot chef counter restaurant on southeast Morrison Street in Portland. When they moved a larger next-door location on 14th and Belmont, the previous space became a recipe development and fermentation “laboratory.” That turned into Fermenter, a four-seat lunch hub offering a seasonal menu of plant-based meals with every component, including beverages like kombucha and ginger beer, made in-house.
Farm Spirit full-day vegan eatings
Fermenter will continue to be a vegan option with four seats, take-out, or bike delivery, while diners at the adjacent eatery can enjoy a leisurely three-course seasonal tasting menu.
Meanwhile, the two partners brought Folklore chef Sean Sigmon into the family for a weekly Sunday “pop-up” brunch prepared by Sigmon. After doing Folklore pop-ups for the past year and a half, Sigmon now has a permanent home.
Last but not least, Winogard will also lead a newly added lunch service Wednesday through Friday. Creative dishes that herald local seasonal ingredients, such as a recent Hay Smoked Black Bean Tempeh, Herbiest Quinoa, Braised Kale and Annihalated Beets, will remain the mainstay of the monthly changing lunch menu.
As Portland’s best vegan dining spot, they were twice recognized in 2019 for sustainability with the Good Food 100 Restaurants List and Zero Foodprint List.
Local sourcing mantra
“Folklore’s approach and philosophy are completely compatible with the Farm Spirit ethos,” says Sigmon.
“We let an agrarian mindset inform how we cook, and believe that health and wellness are deeply connected to what you eat and the environment you live in.”
We are thrilled to become part of the Farm Spirit family and hope to reconnect to the community who was missing brunch in the former Roost space.”
Adding the $29 three-course lunch means that people who want a delicious daytime tasting menu experience can get it. “We wanted to try to add a really chic, nice lunch in Portland with a tasting menu, something where people could, either do business, or enjoy some self-care or celebrate a birthday,” Adams says. “You get the Farm Spirit experience but in a little bit more abbreviated and in a more affordable way.”
Additionally, diners can enjoy a house-made alcohol-free beverage pairing for $30.
Social responsibility drives local sourcing
Adams himself has been vegan for 15-plus years and is committed to animal welfare. He eschews meat out of concern about the environmental effects of animal agriculture. “Ideologically, it just doesn’t make sense for me to have a restaurant that serves meat,” he explains.
That doesn’t mean diners will be bored. Guests can enjoy a meal of between eight and 12 courses, with snacks and “surprises,” paired with five or six wines. The menus are ever-evolving based on what’s perfectly ripe and abundant at the time, and what the kitchens have preserved from previous bounties.
At Fermenter, everything has some level of fermentation or culture involved. So you might find tomatoes in some form, even in mid-winter. Folklore has a Southern, comfort food influence from chef Sigmon’s North Carolina roots.
All produce on the menu with minimal exception, across all three locations, is sourced from within 105 miles of the restaurant and prepared in-house.
“Local is a big deal and it’s an important responsibility to us,” Adams says. “For us it means we buy from farms directly, from people whose names we know and that we care about and are part of the Farm Spirit family. We use local oils, local grains, produce, everything.”
The menus are prepared from weekly deliveries from Blue Truck Farms, Vibrant Valley Farms, Groundwork Organics, and visits to the local farmer’s market. Grains come from Lonesome Whistle Farm, quinoa from Willamette Valley Quinoa, hazelnut oil from Freddy Guy and olive oil from Oregon Olive Mill.
Folklore brunch is served at their Belmont location on Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. by walk-in only.
Drinks: Natural wine pairing for $50. House-made alcohol-free beverage pairing for $30.
Farm Spirit hours: Wednesday-Saturday, with seating starting at 5 p.m. Chef’s counter seating at 7 p.m.
Reservations: TOCK serves as the restaurant’s online reservation system and allows patrons to pre-pay for their meal when making a reservation. Dinner service includes 6 or more courses, plus snacks and surprises for $89. The Chef’s Counter Cascadian Tasting Menu experience is $109 and features several additional courses for the more adventurous diner. This is a gratuity-free restaurant.
Get there: 1403 SE Belmont St. in Portland, OR
Top image photo credit: Farm Spirit
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