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Jacksonville Sesquicentennial celebrates both Old and New!

by Anna Eats Ashland, reposted from Passport to Ashland’s blog entry.

Editor’s Note: We are eagerly looking forward to Jacksonville’s 150th Anniversary week celebration and hope you will join us. Bobbi Ferguson of LodeStar is a new neighbor and friend of Art Matters! and SOAR and we hope you will enjoy sampling the lovely fare she offers. Please, read on…

31. Aug, 2010

150 years ago, the town of Jacksonville – originally known as “Table Rock City” – sprang up seemingly overnight, courtesy of substantial gold deposits discovered in Jackson Creek. Back then, though, the nearest farms were at least a hundred rough-travelling miles away, making food a more valuable asset than the shiny stuff. The price of a pound of flour was around $1 (roughly equivilent to thirty bucks in today’s cash), and a pound of salt was traded straight across for a pound for gold dust; at the same time the local banks were charging miners a storage fee to stash their nuggets rather than paying them interest. While the economy has now traded in gold for tourism as a mainstay, food is still a hot commodity in this former mining town.

The Anna Eats Ashland website, dedicated as it is to the Food Scene in Ashland, will occasionally travel outside our city limits for Food-related happenings that promise to be ‘Worth a Drive’. With that said, there are any number of reasons to mark your calendars for Jacksonville’s 150th Birthday celebration, which is on from September 17th through the 24th this summer.

In addition to dozens of other Sesquicentennial-related activities – notably fun runs, art exhibitions, melodramas, musicals, historic tours, archeology workshops, quilt shows, and of course the Britt Festival (Kenny Loggins, Harry Connick Jr. – hel-lo ), Jacksonville’s September celebrations include an impressive array of Foodie events:

* A harvest wine festival
* Farmers markets
* BBQ, Beer, and Wine Tastings
* Cheese Making & Ancient Grains Workshops
* A community picnic
* An old-fashioned ice cream social
* Spirits of the Mediterranean: a wine and music celebration
* A Quady North Winery lecture
* Rogue Ale’s Full Moon Madness labeling kick off

From our perspective, nothing embraces the spirit of both old and new quite like the LodeStar – Jacksonville’s newest eatery, located on the corner of California and 3rd Streets where the classic J’Ville Tavern held court for decades. LodeStar’s owner – Bobbi Ferguson, a hiking, photography, gardening and food & wine enthusiast – beams as she tells us what prompted her to open the restaurant of her dreams in Jacksonville. “I love this town”, she told us, “and I wanted to create the kind of place I’d like to hang out myself … a comfortable place for locals to relax over a drink and good food with their friends, without thrashing their budget”.

LodeStar’s menu is indeed mercifully affordable, especially by Jacksonville standards. It’s also locally sourced and of stellar quality, thanks to their chef Tony Estratiadis, who trolls the farmers markets for of-the-moment produce and insists on everything-from-scratch preparation. A generous selection of shareable Tapas are on offer, including a Rogue Creamery cheese plate, Roasted Vegetable Napoleon, California Roll, and Goat Cheese Flatbread – all in the $5-$9 range; sandwiches and wraps can be had between $5-$7; and a half dozen killer salads – like Orange Fennel, a classic Caprese, or Garlic Shrimp – are available starting at a mere $4, which gets you the ‘house salad’of organic greens that includes almonds, goat cheese and blackberries!

As impressed as we were with the food menu, our hearts were stolen by the Wine List – just thirty or so labels, all of them Oregon wines with only a handful from outside the Rogue Valley. Not only does Ferguson serve exclusively local, but every single bottle she offers is available by the glass, or as the component of a flight. The very idea of building our own flights from such a lovely selection based solely on our own whims tickles us beyond all proportion 😉

LodeStar carries local brews as well, of course – including a refreshing Ninkasi Total Domination IPA from Eugene that completely made our afternoon ( – and, as if to add a jewel to their already attractive crown, also insist on serving Ashland’s own Organic Nation Spirits, from which you may request your favourite cocktails be made (we always request O.N. as our top-shelf brand).

For your entertainment LodeStar offers live music, an upstairs public-use room, and – for those seeking quiet respite – a lending library, from which you may borrow a book and snuggle into one of the sofas at the front of the house. During Jacksonville’s 150th celebration, LodeStar has planned events that include an Agate Ridge and Tapas pairing on the 18th, as well as an Organic Nation / amuse bouche pairing on the 24th.

Call Bobbi at LodeStar for a full line-up of planned activities in her establishment, and check out the City of Jacksonville link below for more information on the town’s 150 year Jubilee.

For more on the Jacksonville Sesquicentennial:

105 W. California Street
541-702-2400 (should be up in a couple of weeks)

Anna Eats Ashland is THE go-to guide to all things Foodie in Ashland, Oregon.!/pages/Ashland-Oregon/Anna-Eats-Ashland/169746035097?ref=ts

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