By Mitzi Jo Gordon
As a teenager, Aimee Dailey-Fallat began washing dishes for a restaurant in her Pennsylvania home town. From these humble beginnings, a lifelong passion for the food industry …
By Mitzi Jo Gordon
As a teenager, Aimee Dailey-Fallat began washing dishes for a restaurant in her Pennsylvania home town. From these humble beginnings, a lifelong passion for the food industry took root. Nearly 30 years later, Dailey-Fallat is chef and owner of Planted, her own plant-based catering company in Port Townsend.
“My heart has always been in the kitchen,” Dailey-Fallat said. “Food has always been and always will be the channel to deep connections for me.”
Opened in June 2022, Planted serves up nourishing plant-based meal boxes with a rotating weekly menu. Ingredients are locally sourced from growers in the Olympic Peninsula, and occasionally from the Food Co-op, then crafted into menu items such as tofu noodles or roasted root-vegetable soup.
Dailey-Fallat, who also formerly worked as a server and bartender at Finistere, opened Planted to offer healthy, locally sourced, plant-based meals for the community. Menus post to Planted’s website each Tuesday, and customers can order online through Sunday night. Every Monday from 4 to 7 p.m., they can pick up ready-to-eat meal boxes from Lila’s Kitchen, a shared culinary space and commercial kitchen at 877 E. Park Ave.
Planted meal boxes cost $70, and each is meant to feed one adult for two days. Boxes include two dinners, a soup and salad, and the option of either two breakfasts or two snacks. Many of the ingredients are organically grown.
“Depending on the season, most of it comes from local farms,” Dailey-Fallat said. “In summer time, every fruit and vegetable in there is from a farm in the area.”
She is continually learning about seasonal ingredients while sourcing from farms such as Red Dog, SpringRain Farm, and Space Twins Provisions, among others. “I’m really interested in how they make their magic,” Dailey-Fallat said.
Planted also participates in the Port Townsend Farmers Market on Saturdays, April through December, offering grab-and-go options such as tofu noodle bowls, soups and salads, focaccia, and cookies.
At the start of her Planted journey, Dailey-Fallat said many customers expressed interest in vegan dishes, but were reticent to cut out meat. Support grew as the weeks passed, and now repeat customers say they have come to rely on their Planted boxes.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating meat,” Dailey-Fallat explained. “I’m just suggesting that to eat a bit more plant-based than usual can go a long way.”
Elizabeth Lyon, a massage therapist in Port Townsend, is one of Planted’s regulars. While not fully vegan in her eating habits, Lyon said she is choosing to introduce more healthy foods into her diet. One thing she responds to is Dailey-Fallat’s personal touch. Once, when Lyon couldn’t make it in time for pick up at Lila’s, Dailey-Fallat delivered meal kits directly to Lyon’s doorstep. Planted will also replace certain ingredients for customers, in deference to their allergies.
“She’s super responsive to everyone,” Lyon said. “And she really knows how to spice and make these great sauces, so that everything tastes fabulous. Her servings are large enough that sometimes I’ll break them into thirds.”
Dailey-Fallat came to Port Townsend from Seattle in 2017, with her wife and infant daughter, drawn to the small-town community. After her son was born in 2020, the family eliminated dairy from their diet to adjust to his food sensitivities. Dailey-Fallat said they all seemed to feel “less inflamed” after experimenting with vegan food. In time, the family shifted toward a plant-based diet, while also continuing to eat eggs.
“We all felt so good after eating this well-rounded vegan meal,” Dailey-Fallat said. During the pandemic’s first wave, she further honed vegan cooking skills while meal-sharing with friends. Soon, Dailey-Fallat wanted to make high-quality vegan food more widely accessible, and the concept of Planted began to blossom.
While working a farmers market booth last year, she strengthened relationships with more growers, learning about their seasons and specialities.
“It’s a privilege to live here in this valley, where we have amazing farmers that are working so hard,” she said. “They care about the way they’re farming, and the people they are growing things for. It’s really full-circle here.”
She takes a relaxed and responsive approach to building Planted’s weekly food box menus, talking with farmers to put their current harvests to the best possible use, and seeking input from customers. Planted menus change often, rotating items as seasonal ingredients become available. Winter brings lots of bean and lentil options, while summertime is bursting with basil, tomatoes, pears, and sprouts. Breakfast may include flavors such as carrot cake overnight oats, with golden raisins, vanilla, and apples. Meyer lemon risotto with spinach and portobellos was recently on the dinner menu.
Every Monday, Dailey-Fallat cooks from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lila’s Kitchen, preparing food boxes and grab-and-go packages for the coming week. Her business is at a growth point, and she said she expects to be bringing on help for the next farmers market season. “It’s fast and furious, and there’s a lot going on,” she said.
Planted also offers catering menus for private events of 20 to 175 people, with the option of grilled Cape Cleare salmon added to the usual plant-based offerings. “Not everybody wants to have a vegan wedding and I totally understand that,” Dailey-Fallat said.
Lyon looks forward to the weekly meal pick-ups at Lila’s, where she connects with other regular Planted customers.
“It’s a nice little gathering spot of people who feel very nourished by what she’s doing,” Lyon said.
Learn more about Planted and view weekly menus at www.plantedporttownsend.com.