For a food cart whose concept is based upon the ‘slow food’ movement, things for Tortoise + Hare have been happening very quickly. Bri Richards and her husband escaped the state who-shall-not-be-named and made their pilgrimage to Portland with a plan to open a food cart. They arrived Christmas Eve 2015 and Tortoise + Hare opened in March of 2016. That is quick.
The philosophy of the slow food movement is to create a menu based around the use of organic, local, foods that have been grown with sustainable methods. The ingredients are acquired from local sources. The dishes at Tortoise + Hare depend upon what is seasonal and what has been harvested that week. While the primary dish remains, the ingredients reflect the season and the weekly harvest.
Bri brings twenty years of experience in the kitchen to Tortoise + Hare. While living and working full-time in the state-who-shall-not-be-named, Bri also worked catering gigs evenings and weekends from a rented kitchen. Bri is a graduate of Reed College and her plan was always to one day return to the City of Roses for a better quality of life.
Tortoise + Hare makes a special effort to source their menu from local producers. Bee Local honey, Jacobsen Sea Salt, Dancing Roots Farms, Old Soul Farm, and Tails and Trotters are among the local producers who supply Bri with the basis of her dishes.
One menu item quickly became the favorite of patrons of Tortoise + Hare. Originally meant to be a seasonal offering during the colder months, Bree’s Tuscan Stew is now the main attraction and will be on the menu year-round. The stew is made with Tails and Trotters hazelnut-finished pork sausage, cannellini beans, a fresh braising mix from Gathering Together Farm, seasonal vegetables, and topped with Ancient Heritage Hannah cheese.
No meal would be complete without bread. At Tortoise + Hare, the bread is baked in the cart. Bri bakes the bread fresh throughout the day. It does require that a bit of MacGyvering as Bri must stand in front of the small oven to spray water in the oven as the bread bakes. This allows Bri to use a ‘steam-injected’ baking technique in a small space. The bread is served with European butter that is dressed with Jacobsen’s sea salt.
Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Bri Richards of Tortoise + Hare about slow food and how quickly her plan for a better quality of life came together.