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Jefferson Farm Kitchen on-the-go potpies, quiches are wholesome, delicious

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Take-and-bake chicken potpie is available with a regular or gluten-free crust from Jefferson Farm Kitchen in Jacksonville. Photo by Sarah Lemon.
Penne with roasted pepper dressing was a recent pasta salad selection from Jefferson Farm Kitchen in Jacksonville. Photo by Sarah Lemon.
Bacon fills a quiche with gluten-free crust from Jefferson Farm Kitchen in Jacksonville. Photo by Sarah Lemon.
Seasonal vegetables complement chicken in a classic potpie from Jefferson Farm Kitchen in Jacksonville. Photo by Sarah Lemon.
House-fermented kombucha is a specialty of Jefferson Farm Kitchen in Jacksonville. Photo by Sarah Lemon.
Availability of seasonal vegetables determines “pasta salad by the pound” at Jefferson Farm Kitchen in Jacksonville. Photo by Sarah Lemon.

Chef Kristen Lyon can’t keep pace with demand for her take-and-bake potpies.

They’re just one item in a seasonally changing lineup prepared in Lyon’s Jefferson Farm Kitchen for heating and eating at home. Potpies and quiches have become so popular since Lyon started offering them for grab-and-go, rather than by advance order, that the chef says she now has reason to reevaluate her business model.

Working as a personal chef and caterer for about five years before opening a Jacksonville storefront in 2013, Lyon has grown a following locally with customers who favor from-scratch cooking with organic, locally grown and produced ingredients — but don’t have the time or resources to do it themselves.

Lyon devised weekly meal packages that include soups, salads, entrees, side dishes and dessert — ordered by phone or online several days in advance of pickup. The chef has a wide repertoire of recipes for special diets, including vegan and gluten-free, although one of her most popular products is bone broth. Customers also love Lyon’s house-fermented beverages and condiments.

I’d tried Lyon’s cuisine a number of times over the years but never tasted one of her famed potpies. My family’s overnight stay at a rural guest house, where I didn’t want to make a mess cooking, presented itself as the perfect occasion. And because I needed to pick up the potpie a day in advance, a takeout lunch from the Farm Kitchen seemed appropriate.

The shop at 135 S. Oregon St. occupies a commercial kitchen and attached suite inside Jacksonville’s historical Warren Masonic Lodge. While Lyon has catered events on site, there’s no seating for Farm Kitchen customers during business hours. My partner and I appreciated the easy walk to a sun-warmed bench across the street to enjoy our lunch.

The day’s quiche was larded with bacon and baked in a gluten-free crust. Ordinarily, I would have chosen the regular wheat-flour version or a vegetable-filled option, but the Farm Kitchen didn’t have an alternative by the slice. Still, bacon appealed plenty to both me and my partner.

Vegetables do, however, define much of the Farm Kitchen’s selection. Lyon has expanded that ethic through her professional and personal partnerships with Applegate’s Barking Moon Farm and owner Josh Cohen, whom she accompanies to Saturday farmers markets. At the end of the week, Lyon gleans any unsold Barking Moon produce for use in the coming week’s menu.

The result is Farm Kitchen’s seasonal salads and entrees of the week, as well as pasta salads “by the pound” available for takeout.

Both of the day’s pasta salads — penne in a roasted pepper vinaigrette and casarecce with arugula — piqued our interest. Lyon may have perfected gluten-free dishes, but she also knows how to capitalize on classic carbohydrates. Her organic wheat flour pie crust — and gluten-free counterpart — both are available frozen for $5 apiece.

I really wanted Lyon’s mushroom potpie, incorporating both wild and cultivated fungi, encased in her conventional butter-rich pastry crust. But the filling would have been a much harder sell to my 6- and 8-year-old sons than a traditional chicken potpie, albeit with a gluten-free crust, which was the only recipe available.

Also stocked in the Farm Kitchen’s refrigerator and freezer cases were vegan shepherd’s pies filled with curry-spiced yams, cauliflower, peas and other veggies, covered in garlic mashed potatoes. Adobo seasoned the other vegan specialty: sprouted pinto bean and yam tamale pie. Regardless of ingredients, pies are priced at $16 for a small and $28 for a large. Quiches come in a single size for $22.

Individual quiche slices cost $4.50, and Lyon warms them slightly upon request. Pasta salad servings are priced at $7. My partner and I eagerly added a pint of house-fermented peach kombucha for $6, which includes a dollar deposit for the reusable jar.

We relished the first sips of sweet-tart kombucha on the mild day. The quiche layered toothsome bacon with tender egg and only would have been more delicious a bit warmer. Lyon achieves a commendable texture in her gluten-free crust, which does crumble more than flake like a deftly rolled wheat-flour crust.

The pasta textures were pleasing, the noodles nicely proportioned with tomatoes, peppers, onions and greens. A very light dressing tossed with the twisted pasta shape maintained the arugula’s integrity. I preferred the creamier sauce on the penne and its variety of pear and cherry tomatoes.

Because we purchased a potpie from the Farm Kitchen’s freezer, we had no care for its stopover in the car while we lunched. Likewise, its frozen-solid state made for convenient packing on our hourlong drive and hike over the Illinois River to our accommodations. I let the pie warm inside the oven while it preheated to 375 F and, in hindsight, should have allowed for the maximum recommended baking time of 75 minutes, instead of stopping short of an hour.

More chicken would have enticed my kids, but they still gobbled up the pie’s peas, carrots and green beans. Choosing regular crust would afford more substance, owing to its top layer, which the gluten-free version lacks. The wholesome dish echoed our proximity to an organic farm resplendent in Southern Oregon’s seasonal bounty.

Jefferson Farm Kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, until 6 p.m. Thursday. See jeffersonfarmkitchen.com or call 541-531-6740.

Tempo Tidbits

Fans of both pizza and Buffalo-style chicken can score big at Mountain Mike’s in Medford and Grants Pass.

Calling its newest pie “pizza with a kick,” the California-based chain has introduced Angry Buffalo Chicken Pizza for fall’s football season. The recipe combines creamy garlic white sauce, grilled chicken tossed in Frank’s Xtra Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce, sliced onions, diced fresh celery and scallions. Finished with an extra drizzle of wing sauce, the limited-edition pizza is available through Dec. 31 in a variety of sizes, including the 20-inch “Mountain.”

The promotion also comes with the chance for three customers to each win $75,000. Winners will be randomly selected among members of the company’s Mountain Rewards mobile app — if the San Francisco 49ers score exactly 49 points during a 2021 regular season game. Mountain Mike’s is the official pizza of the 49ers.

With 240 family-style pizzerias across the West, Mountain Mike’s has Southern Oregon locations at Medford’s 2640 E. Barnett Road and 1531 N.E. F St., recently opened in Grants Pass. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

See the menu and order for takeout or delivery at mountainmikespizza.com. Or call 541-779-4599 in Medford or 541-507-1947 in Grants Pass.

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A second drive-thru chicken eatery has come to roost in Medford.

The Chicken Shanty opened earlier this month at 4631 Crater Lake Highway, complementing the company’s original East Jackson Street location and spring expansion to Highway 62 in Eagle Point.

Hand-breaded boneless, skinless chicken is the restaurant’s core product, served with fries, cradled inside a bun or folded into a wrap. House-made sauces also define The Chicken Shanty’s persona. There are nine regular recipes, including barbecue, Buffalo, honey-mustard, cool ranch and “voodoo” hot, as well as several special seasonal flavors.

Online ordering and delivery is available through DoorDash and Grubhub. See thechickenshanty.com

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The following restaurants in September received perfect scores of 100 on their semiannual inspections by Jackson County Environmental Public Health:

Dutch Bros. VA, White City; Elmer’s Restaurant, Medford; Half & Half Cafe, Medford; Human Bean, South Pacific Highway, Medford; Human Bean, White City; Jacksonville Inn, Jacksonville; Jefferson Farm Kitchen, Jacksonville; Local 31 Pub, Ashland; McDonald’s, Central Point; McDonald’s No. 5996, White City; Melange Eatery, Medford.

The county’s searchable database of restaurant and food service inspections is at healthspace.com/Clients/Oregon/jackson/Web.nsf/home.xsp.

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Have a Tempo tidbit to share? Email news about the local dining, food and beverage scene to: thewholedish@gmail.com

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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley’s dining scene for nearly two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s dining column. Her palate has helped to judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. The former editor of A la Carte, the Mail Tribune’s weekly food section, she writes a biweekly column, The Whole Dish, and blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen at mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole.dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or see facebook.com/thewholedish.