A Rather Tasty Business Collaboration
Nature’s Oasis & Fork Farms are Growing in Shaker!
Fernway resident, Anne Rogerson, is the Director of Partnership Development for Fork Farms, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but before January 2022, you may know her from her organic, made-in-the-USA children’s clothing line, Adooka Organics, or even as a research associate with The Ohio State University. With a commitment to environmental sustainability and passion for fresh food for all, making the move to Fork Farms was an easy one. Anne has spent the last three months embracing her new role from her home base here in Shaker Heights.
Anne Rogerson and Chef Farron Turner
In an effort to locally promote the Fork Farms’ Flex Farm, a vertical produce growing system, Anne reached out to Nature’s Oasis owner, Elliott Endsley, who shares a similar vision – bringing fresh, delicious food to the masses. They struck a deal, launching the only Flex Farm demonstration in northeast Ohio in the market area of Nature’s Oasis. Anne worked with Elliott and Executive Chef Farron Lee Turner to select what to grow – they chose to plant five kinds of lettuce and a variety of herbs. Last week was their first harvest, reducing Nature Oasis’ typical lettuce order by half. The Flex Farm can provide 25 pounds of greens per month! So, if you have been to Nature’s Oasis recently and ordered a fresh prepared menu item with lettuce on it, you’ve eaten the product of the Flex Farm! As Chef Farron and Anne talked about the harvesting process, Farron said, “you really can’t get more local than this!”
The Flex Farm is tucked into the wine department by the Farnsleigh side windows - you may even get lucky and see Anne tending to the Farm. There are lots of new things happening at Nature’s Oasis to take note of, including their fresh pressed and bottled juices. Master Juicer, Justin Virola, is creating incredible (and beautiful) juice combinations. As Chef Farron says, “Justin is highly in tune with the flavor palates of fruits and vegetables that blend well.” Chef Farron is somewhat new to Nature’s Oasis, having just joined the team in February 2021. Trained at the EDWINS Culinary Institute, then serving as a chef de partie at Fire Food and Drink, Chef Farron has made some adjustments to a few menu items and created new ones like the Artichoke Ragu. He believes that everyone should be able to enjoy the classics - and foods they love - even if they have adapted new eating regimes, such as a vegan diet, so there’s a vegan Cleveland Cheesesteak on the menu. While the café is pumping out delicious meals from 7:00am-7:00pm, be sure to peruse the market area. There are two shelf end caps that change monthly to showcase new products, such as Smoke & Sugar Candles (made in Cleveland Heights) or themes – there was even an all-things unicorn-inspired display recently!
Stop by Nature’s Oasis to check out the Fork Farms Flex Farm, taste the hyperlocally grown lettuce when you order a meal, do some shopping and reach out to Anne if you want to learn more about the Flex Farm. She is looking “to network with people who want to nourish and feed people in an engaging and educational way that is pesticide-free and non-GMO.” The Flex Farm will be sprouting up at area school districts, non-profits and businesses in the coming months - email Anne to learn more. Business owners, if you serve food or promote healthy living, the Flex Farm could be an option for you.