The Quapaw Nation’s Casino Farms Its Own Food


Setterfield, who has worked at Downstream since it opened in 2008, says the greenhouses have provided cost savings, but the biggest benefit is the freshness. “It’s great for things that might not travel well—micro-greens and herbs. Herbs, especially, are 10 times better the day you pick them,” he says.

Some produce is also sold at the Quapaw farmers’ market, held on the first and third Friday of the month. An additional 10 to 15 vendors from the surrounding community sell their produce, eggs, honey, and meat at the market. The farmers’ market also accepts SNAP, which makes it easier for Quapaw members—and non-tribal residents—to access fresh, affordable, locally grown produce.

“There’s no grocery store in Quapaw,” says Crum. “You can drive six miles away to Miami, [Oklahoma], which has a Walmart, but if you’re sharing a car with your spouse or you have no vehicle, six miles can be a huge barrier.”

“We want the focus to be on growing edible foods. Growing foods for your family, for your tribes—medicinal foods and medicinal plants. That’s our goal,” says the tribe’s grants coordinator. (Photo courtesy Downstream Casino Resort)

The farmers’ market also runs a food preservation program, funded by a $50,000 grant from the Native American Agricultural Fund, where for $25, shoppers can rent out equipment like a pressure canning kit, a fermenter, a vacuum sealer, or a dehydrator. In conjunction, the Quapaw tribe runs food preservation workshops on everything from how to can pickles and sweet corn to how to make dehydrated zucchini chips. “It’s just another way we’re encouraging that people make their produce last throughout the year,” says Crum.


Beverage Service

Like most casinos, Downstream offers guests and staff unlimited free coffee—an expensive perk. “We were spending half a million dollars on coffee per year!” says Crum. Berrey, always interested in cutting out the middleman, saw another opportunity. Instead of ordering the coffee from non-native producers, why not roast it on site?

In 2016, Josemiguel Gomez helped found the coffee roasting program, called O-Gah-Pah. Gomez is not a member of the Quapaw tribe; he’s from Puerto Rico, where he owned three coffee shops of his own. “We fulfill all the needs of the casino, plus all the Quapaw schools, the EMT, the fire station and the gas stations,” says Gomez. The roasting facility also provides all the coffee for Saracen, the tribe’s new casino in Arkansas. Select coffee shops in Oregon, Kansas City and Florida source O-Gah-Pah beans, too. “We are very proud of our product,” Gomez says. “It’s very well represented.”

The Quapaw brewery came out of Setterfield’s chance encounter with a “beautiful tank” at a gaming show in Las Vegas. At the time, he was in the process of expanding Legends, the casino’s sports bar. Today, Legends has four tanks, which brewer Mike Williams rotates five beers through: a Honey Brown Balmer, a Flat Rock Red, a pilsner, a kolsch, and an IPA. The honey brown, the most popular, is unusual in that the flavor changes throughout the year, because the bees the resort keeps are attracted to different blossoming flowers in each season.

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