Saturday, March 15, 2008
Farm to Table - Hanover Style
The concept of farm to table is nothing new to anyone who reads regional or national food magazines. In its simplest form the concept describes a persons desire to shorten the time their food travels from the farm to their table. It's also a great way to connect with the farmer who is producing their food. This idea isn't a fad; it's the way. Farm to table has always been the way I've wanted to and have cooked; it just happens that now it has a sexy, hip title. The video above just shows how I've taken this idea one step further. We work very hard at the restaurant to establish great relationships with the people who provide us with amazing raw materials. A huge benefit of these relationships is that these farmers and producers are very open to trying some of my crazy ideas regarding how to produce a better raw product. A lot of chefs are content to buy a little produce at the local farmers market and then blather on to magazines and writers about how important it is to 'buy local'. Meanwhile, a huge truck has just unloaded asparagus in the middle of January. At this point I have to provide a disclaimer so that I can remain consistent. Our restaurant is located in south central Pennsylvania, so obviously there isn't a whole lot of stuff that we are able to buy locally right now(although I just got my hands on an amazing apple and peach blossom honey from Toigo Orchards in Shippensburg....more on that later....also, I am ALWAYS looking for amazing farmers and artisans...even if you just grow the best asparagus, e-mail me....you can be our asparagus guru) I understand that there have to be allowances made for location. All I'm asking is that some of these folks just be a little more open about what they are really buying and have their menus reflect the season in their area. Hey, if they don't want to, that's fine also...just don't pretend that you do. Have the magazine or writer call me. I'll fill'em in. OK.....stepping off the soapbox. On to how we take farm to table one step closer to perfection. As mentioned in the video, Beau and I started the concept behind this project in October with the goal of creating a more flavorful pig. It's really working. However, this isn't the only instance in which we work VERY closely with our farmers. During the VERY cold month of January, Scott and I sat down with Kathy Glahn(a.k.a. The Tomato Lady) and poured over seed catalogs picking what vegetables we would use this year. Yes, you read this right. Our summer menus actually got their start this past January when we asked Kathy to grow specialty produce for us. How freakin' cool is that?!? I'm sorry, I get a little excited just thinking how special these relationships are and as a result how great the raw products are that we get in the back door. Simply amazing.