Editor’s note: Our series Enterprising Spirit documents how businesses and workers are managing the economy’s slow return to life after its sudden shutdown in March – and adapting to new challenges ahead.
Like many people during the pandemic, Chadwick Aufderhar, kitchen manager at Allie’s Vegan Pizzeria & Cafe, has been working on his sourdough starter.
For the past few weeks, Aufderhar has been baking about 20 dozen cinnamon rolls a week for Allie’s new Sunday market that features a limited menu and fresh produce from local farms.
Allie’s is hosting Dragonfly Urban Farm and Three Birds Garden on Sunday mornings in their parking lot from 9 a.m. to noon.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aufderhar said Allie’s, located at 1314 S. Grand Blvd., has been lucky to have the support of their customers, which led them to look for ways to give back.
The first week of June the restaurant held a fundraiser for the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center featuring Aufderhar’s breakfast burritos and cinnamon rolls. Employees volunteered their time and Allie’s donated the food.
“I didn’t expect it to been quite that busy with a line out the door for three hours,” Aufderhar said. “I thought I had prepped enough food, but I was making breakfast burritos out of everything I could pull out of the walk-in at the end of that.”
They ended up raising nearly $5,000, and Aufderhar said he got to thinking that a summer Sunday market might be a hit.
Aufderhar said he wanted to help out friends who were worried about how the pandemic would affect their small farms this summer.
“I just was trying to think of something that we could do so they could have a spot to sell produce,” he said.
So the Sunday market was born.
Thai Hood, who also works at Allie’s, and Tanya Lund own Three Bird Farms in Spokane Valley.
The farm, named after the couple’s three children, is a “veganic” urban farm that grew out of the couple’s family garden.
The small farm is a family affair with the couple’s young daughters often helping and learning in the garden.
“Our 1-year-old, he will try to crawl through the beds,” Lund said with a laugh. “Our two older girls just love being in the garden and helping.”
Hood went to school for greenhouse management and small farm production and maintains a dozen 40-foot garden beds in their backyard.
They offer tomatoes, zucchini, and peas among other vegetables and greens. The small farm is a great way to provide ethically and locally grown food for their community, Hood said.
Dragonfly Urban Farm is another backyard farm on the South Hill, owned by Maria Vandervert.
“As soon as Allie’s invited me I thought it was an excellent opportunity,” Vandervert said.
Being a vegan restaurant, she said many of Allie’s customers “appreciate more organic produce and something that is grown really well without pesticides or anything like that.”
Dragonfly is set on 64th Avenue on about a third of an acre, and is part of the South Spokane Farm Corridor, a collection of growers south of Interstate 90.
“We’re a true organic urban farm in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” Vandervert said.
Often neighbors will walk by and buy some kale, beets or one of the more than 10 different types of tomatoes the farm offers.
“It feels very community-based, I don’t even know how to describe it but Allie’s has just a really great customer, clientele,” Vandervert said. “We just like to partner with that sort of vibe.”
She is also partial to the homemade everything bagels that Allie’s offers on Sundays.
“They’re so good,” she said. “Soft on the inside and slightly chewy on the outside.”
Allie’s regulars Brooke Young and Lacy Russell were excited for another reason to grab a bite to eat.
Russell said she headed to the Sunday market as soon as she heard about it and a few weeks later was back with her friend, Young.
The mix of sweet and savory options was a perfect selection, Young said. Russell said she loves supporting ethical businesses like Allie’s.
“Who doesn’t want to come eat cinnamon rolls on a Sunday, especially when you don’t have to make them yourself?” Young said.
Source: Thanks https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2020/jul/19/enterprising-spirit-local-vegan-restaurant-starts-/