rogue creamery

Rogue Creamery Cheese Case. Image. The Local Dish

It’s time for Seasons Eatings! Have you planned your “buy local” strategy for the upcoming holidays? Southern Oregon revelers can choose from an abundance of artisanal food products perfect for holiday cooking and gift giving. A recent visit to these Southern Oregon food shops proved that “local” is in! Each of them carries locally-made products suitable for the creative cook.

Rogue Creamery
Best known for its award-winning Blue Cheese, this shop is fully-stocked with products from local food artisans, brewmasters, such as Walkabout Brewing, winemakers, and cheesemakers. For a knowledgeable tour, ask for Cheese Shop Manager Tom Van Voorhees. Insider’s tip: Got Brutal Blue?

Expecting holiday visitors? Please their tastebuds with the following menus – or create a custom gift basket!

  • Appetizers:
    Deep-fried Rogue Creamery Curds in Butte Creek Curd Coating (okay, you guys… which one of you dreamed that up?)….with a drizzle of Shibui Balsamic Glaze.
    Dried Mushrooms All Year sautéed in Rogue Creamery butter, splashed with white wine, served over Applegate Valley Artisan Breads crostini.

Many of the products found at the Creamery are also sold at the following local “hot spots”, so head out to Jacksonville for some fun holiday cheer. You just might hear some sidewalk caroling, too!

Gary West Meats 
Co-owner Paul Murdoch partners with Oregon and California ranchers to bring the highest quality product to his hand-crafted artisan  smoked meats, including beef jerky, turkeys, elk and bison sausage, and more. On the culinary team are Jason Schwimmer, head chef; Jill Marcoulier, chief fudge maker; and co-owner and wife, Whitney Murdoch, who oversees production of the sublime Hailey’s Honey, named after their oldest daughter. Choose from items like Butte Creek Mill flours and their new unsulfured Molasses (perfect for making gingerbread), Karry’s Marionberry Chipotle Sauce, housemade Sweet Hot Mustard and 3 Alarm BBQ Sauce, and a bottle of Quady 2009 Ox Bow Viognier…and you’ve got the makings that any food lover would be thrilled to incorporate in their holiday fixin’s….including The Local Dish team!

If you’re interested in seeing the smoking operations, check out their Jerky Factory & Tasting Room at 690 North 5th St. in Jacksonville, where you can see batches of fresh beef jerky pulled fresh from the smokehouse.

Jacksonville Mercantile
Just ask Chef and Co-owner Constance Jesser what to do with Chocolate Puff Pastry and you will find yourself enthralled in an impromptu cooking lesson. That’s the way it is with just about every artisanal food product that she and husband/co-owner David Jesser bring to their shop, the Jacksonville Mercantile, located in a 1816 historic building.

They take an international approach in selecting products to stock onsite and in their new online marketplace, as well as focusing on products not commonly found elsewhere in the region. But plenty of Oregon-made products from such purveyors as Devi Tea, Oregon Growers and Shippers, Rogue Creamery, and a select list of Southern Oregon wines can be found in this foodie’s paradise, including condiments, sweets, pastas and other foods from around the world.

Check out the recently published Dishing up Oregon cookbook for a Blue Cheese Cheesecake recipe by Chef Constance.  I’m dreaming of Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue Cheese as my choice for the key “blue” ingredient!