Special Delivery | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Special Delivery

The Soup Cycle serves sustainability

Annelie Kahn
Seven years ago, Soup Cycle was a bite-sized idea with a big dream. What started in 2008 as an informal network of friends sharing soup via bicycle in Portland has expanded to bring fresh, local food to people in Corvallis, Eugene, and—in the last month—Bend.

That's right. In your time of need, be it the grips of a creeping cold or garden variety hunger, Soup Cycle delivers freshly-made soups crafted with local ingredients, to the home or office, all by bicycle.

"When we do a home delivery we leave the soup in a cooler at their home just like the milkman," explains Bend Soup Cycle's Jim (Jimbo) Marshall, a local for over a decade. "Just imagine coming home and finding your dinner all ready to heat and serve with no trip to the store and not having to go out."

Since its humble beginnings in Portland, these postmen of hot deliciousness have delivered soup straight to more than 157,000 bellies. And through those soups, they are making eating fresh, local food delicious and convenient.

"Ninety-eight percent of everything we get is from Oregon [and] 99 percent of our ingredients are organic except for a few of the spices," Marsahll says. "We use rice flours to try and steer away from the gluten."

The head chef (located in Portland) owns a 28-acre farm in the Willamette Valley, so a lot of the produce comes from his farm. At a recent tasting, this freshness was immediately apparent. Marshall brought a Pacific salmon chowder; a concoction called Purple Passion—a beet soup with pears, white wine, and lemon juice; and a creamy tomato basil.

The chowder was rich and creamy without being overly heavy, like "comfort food in a bowl," as one Source staffer described it. The beet soup was a sight to behold, in bright pink. The earthiness of the beet was balanced by a hint of sweetness from the pear, flavorful without being overly sweet. And the tomato basil tasted so fresh, staff compared it to a salad.

"I like the fact that the basil is super present," one staffer noted. "It tastes like a Caprese salad."

Soup Cycle tries to have a little something for everyone, offering a vegan, vegetarian, meat, and chef's choice soup each week. Each Monday, Marshall posts the menu available for the following week. But no matter what's on the menu, some things remains the same: The soup is delicious, the prices are reasonable, and the convenience is a blessing.

To gain awareness Soup Cycle has been doing soup tastings around the community. Each tasting features three different soups to provide examples of what participants can expect in their home deliveries. Contact this bicycle- friendly business to set up a tasting at your business.

Soup Cycle Bend delivery area

Portland Avenue/Wall Street/Revere Ave, east to Ninth Avenue, and south to Mt Washington Drive and Reed Market Road

For a current menu, ordering details and to sign up visit soupcycle.com.

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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