Sierra Harvest couldn’t do what it does without our generous business sponsors, and Three Forks Baking & Brewing Co. has supported us since the moment they opened. If you’ve been to one of our Soup Nights, chances are you’ve tasted some of the delicious soup, beer, or bread that Three Forks donated. For the Food & Farm Conference, they donated breakfast for the farm tour, and hosted a lunch. Shana Maziarz, co-owner of Three Forks, spoke on a panel at the Farm Conference that explored the issue of wholesale produce from the perspectives of both farmers and restauranteurs.
Shana sees her business as a complement to the work that Sierra Harvest is doing for our community: “I see what Sierra Harvest is doing and what we are doing as all part of the big picture – revolutionizing our food system in Nevada County. We need to figure out how to feed ourselves better, ecologically and financially. A huge part of why I wanted to start this restaurant is to positively affect our local food system. Sierra Harvest is doing the same thing, from a different direction.”
Three Forks is committed to sourcing and serving local food, giving
local farmers a consistent market for their wares, especially the produce that is not as marketable to a general audience: “Chicories (endive, frisee, radicchio etc.) never sell at the farmer’s market, but we can do something with them here. We provide a market for the more specialty crops.” It takes more work to source food this way, changing the menu every single week. In the peak of the growing season, Three Forks might be purchasing from up to 25 different farmers. And it’s not just vegetables that are more work – Three Forks purchases whole pigs and lambs and butchers them in house, using all the parts. Those unlovable parts have a special place in Shana’s heart: “If we are going to eat sustainably, we have to eat all those parts that we would otherwise throw away – and they are really good for you!” To Shana (and her many appreciative customers), it’s worth the extra work: “We just love feeding people good food and good beer. And, we want local food to be accessible to people. We have counter service to keep the prices reasonable. This food should be available to everybody.”
Three Forks is about more than just the food – the intention was always to create that “third place” – a place for community to happen. The communal tables are communal for a reason. And it’s working. Shana relayed a story about a friend who recently lost his wife, and was feeling isolated, living up on the Ridge. “He started coming in just to connect with people. He told me this place had saved his life – just a place to have a beer or a cup of coffee and connect with somebody.”
Soon that beer will be available in more places throughout Nevada County – they are expanding the brewery, adding two (locally built) 15-barrel fermenters that will allow Three Forks to do bottling for local distribution. Sierra Harvest encourages you to visit Three Forks and taste some of their locally sourced, organic pizza, pastries, beer, and more. (You won’t be sorry!) They are also hosting a very special pop-up dinner with Aaron Taber, a chef in New York City who will be preparing an elegant, multi-course dinner on May 24th. Tickets are available at Three Forks or on their website at: threeforksnc.com.