Community centered Osorio Kitchen open for business, offering locally sourced meals
After opening in May, local community supported Osorio Kitchen is growing steadily as the business partners with local farms and other vendors in an effort to bring Nevada County closer to its food.
The business’ name comes from “oso” and “río”, the Spanish words for “bear” and “river,” respectively, “as an ode to one of our local watersheds supplying a vital lifeline for our community,” according to co-owner Megan Buser.
Buser described Osorio Kitchen, at 665 S. Auburn St., Grass Valley, as similar to a CSA, or community supported agriculture, subscription — but taken a step further. She and co-owner Noah Palmer seek out ingredients from local farmers and ranchers, and go on to craft a menu of soup, salad, and entrees which changes each week. Customers can then purchase a weekly “share,” to be ordered by 5 p.m. Wednesdays and picked up curbside between 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays.
The menu for each week is updated each Monday and can be found at http://www.osoriokitchen.com/menu.
A share includes four servings of soup, six to eight servings of salad, two to four servings of a meat or vegetarian entree with a side, and a side sauce, ferment, or condiment. This weekly share costs $80, with the option to have it packed in reusable containers for an additional $5, for which Osorio offers credit to customers who bring the containers back. A 10% discount is offered to first-time customers, to be accessed by entering the code “FIRSTSHARE” while checking out online.
“We want to change up what people know and are familiar with, elevated to fit both what the farmers are offering and our vision,” said Buser, adding that working with local farmers has been a great experience.
She said an advantage of this business model is that, knowing ahead of time how much of their ingredients to order, their fridge is empty by the end of Friday evenings, minimizing waste in their operation.
With an initial customer base of only the owners’ personal connections in the area, Osorio has grown primarily through word of mouth and collaboration with longer established local businesses, according to Buser. They have partnered with Nevada City’s Buho Bakery to offer bread and scones, as well as teamed up with Sweet Roots Farm in Grass Valley to sell bouquets.
“We want it to be like a one-stop marketplace, and we’re growing our own marketplace as well,” said Buser.
Osorio has received positive feedback so far, and Buser said last week that they had just seen their busiest week yet. Some customers have opted to buy longer-term subscriptions after enjoying a weekly share. Osorio offers monthly and three-month subscriptions which go for a reduced price per week.
Buser said Palmer brings to the table a great deal of culinary experience, while she puts her experience managing a catering company to use in executing the front-of-house and logistical aspects of the business. But, she said, both she and Palmer have a versatile skillset and neither is afraid to jump into the other’s primary role when needed.
Palmer said that, when creating each week’s menu, it all comes down to what local farms have available and what he is able to find at farmer’s markets.
“Ultimately, I just let the market guide me through what’s good, what’s happening,” said Palmer. “My background is fairly versatile, and I just get inspired by the markets.”
The farms Osorio has partnered with so far have included Back to Basics, AM Ranch, Mountain Bounty, First Rain Farms, Riverhill, and Stone’s Throw — all of which are located in Nevada County — as well as Hill View Farms in Placer County and FogDog Farms in El Dorado County.
“Our mission is to help our friends and people around here succeed in what they’re doing. It can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that is exciting,” said Palmer. “We want to get people closer to their food, and open people’s eyes to new techniques, cooking, and flavors all while keeping the money in Nevada County.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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