The Watershed Café: A River Restaurant’s Sustainable Story
By Summer Kelly, The Watershed Café
“Earth Day is a meaningful holiday for me,” says Rita Rasmuson, owner of The Watershed Café, her eyes alight with enthusiasm as she bustles about creating the day’s made-from-scratch triple berry buckle and her famous quiches. “It is one of the most understated, yet most important days of the year, especially for those of us along the St. Croix River.”
Earth Day was founded by a denizen of the St. Croix River watershed, environmentalist and U.S. senator Gaylord Nelson, from nearby Clear Lake, Wisconsin. Senator Nelson was also instrumental in the 1968 National Wild and Scenic River System legislation, established to preserve and safeguard the diverse habitat and ecology of rivers of special national importance. The St. Croix River was included among only eight when the system was first established.
The St. Croix River Valley is home to a vibrant community of conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, state parks, extensive hiking and water trail systems, and people supporting the local movement. The Watershed Café was built on the vision of a locally and sustainably sourced restaurant along the St. Croix River, one that honors the surrounding natural resources.
“My hope is that we work together to protect the rivers, the land, and the community,” Rita states passionately. “This is where our food comes from. To eat fresh food and eat locally, we need to use sustainable business practices, educate ourselves and one another, and cultivate partnerships that support environmental stewardship.”
Rita upholds those standards with a mindful, whole foods mentality. The Watershed Café works closely with four farms within 10 miles of the restaurant to source much of its fresh produce, dairy products, meats, and cheeses. Other products are sourced from within a 100-mile radius whenever possible. Striving to support small, family-owned-and-operated businesses with shared values is key. Through the restaurant’s suppliers, Rita seeks products that meet her ecological ideals. Even the restaurant’s to-go packaging is environmentally friendly.
“Everyone is welcome at The Watershed Café,” Rita exclaims. “We bring sustainable, organic/natural, local, and whole foods to the table for all to enjoy. We invite you to share in the delicious comfort food and good company at our Watershed Café!” The Watershed Café is located at 99 North Cascade Street in Osceola, Wisconsin. For more details, please visit www.thewatershedcafe.com.
Summer Kelly is a local gardener and plant-enthusiast with a passion for marketing and environmental sustainability. Crossing paths with Rita and Steve of The Watershed Café is the best thing that has happened to Summer in her free-lance marketing career.