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Chef & Farmer: The Farm-to-Table Relationship Revealed

Farm-to-table cuisine is one of my passions. Lots of restaurants talk about freshness – but what does that really mean?

We take that idea of freshness to the next level. Sometimes we say that guests in our café may have travelled farther than the food has from the farm!

We bring in vegetables from small, private, local or regional farms. Most of our fish is caught from nearby waters. Many types of meat are brought in from humane, local pastures. A lot of dairy products are sourced from within the region in which we operate. Even the olive oil we use comes from a delightful olive farm at neighbor state of Georgia.

It’s really smart to know where your food comes from. One of the reasons that I am a proponent of Farm-to-Table cuisine is that it is a healthier way to eat. Foods that sit in a warehouse or a truck for long periods of time lose their nutrients. The longer it takes to get to the table, the less wonderful the food is for your body. When food is delivered quickly to your plate, the taste is certainly better – but the positive impact that great foods have on our bodies is only enhanced by a short farm-to-table life cycle.

Looking at vegetable specifically, here is an insider sneak peek at how Farm-to-Table works. I don’t just go to the farm and say, “what do you all have?” I actually start in the planning process – before the seeds are ever planted. I talk with the farmers about my ideas for the next menu. I listen to the farmer. I learn about what the growing trends are for vegetables. I hear what the land is saying to the farmer about the most nutrient-rich and delicious foods that can be yielded. This dialog is elemental to my success. Once we determine together the selection of vegetables to be planted and understand the growing and harvesting season, I go back to my kitchen and plan. Based on the optimal picking times, I can figure out when my next menu can launch.

For example: radishes. I have integrated a lot of radishes into my current menu. This idea began many months ago when I met with Barefoot Farmer farm. We decided that Paul would plant watermelon radishes on his farm. This relationship was the foundation of a menu item called beet cured salmon with farm radishes and cultured butter. In a way, these radishes were specifically grown for the guests in our restaurant. To me, that is a charming piece of information that our diners can appreciate. It makes for a truly personalized and special experience that you can’t just get anywhere.

When it’s harvest time, I start to bring all of the ingredients together. I bring the perfect flavors to life, paying tribute to the natural tastes of the vegetables, meats, fish and other foods. Freshness takes on a whole new meaning, as our guests enjoy the pure simplicity of farm-to-table cuisine.

Visit our restaurant and ask about where the food comes from. Our staff is familiar with-and excited about-the sourcing of our foods and can give you lots of insights. At other restaurants, too, ask about the food. Eat knowingly and look for the farm-to-table establishments. You and your body will be happier. After a while, foods that are picked at the height of freshness and swiftly delivered to your table will be all you want.

Coming soon, we will be offering very special dining experiences. You can book for small parties of 6-8 in the dining room at our Park Avenue store. These small parties will have a prixe-fixe multi-course menu hand picked from our local providers and specially prepared by me. Stay tuned for more details on these special dining experiences.

I sincerely appreciate you reading my blogs – and would love to host you at our flagship Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen café in Winter Park, Florida. For those of you who read my last blog about how I BREWSTICKS in the kitchen – I hope you have had the opportunity to try some of my recipes!

Yours in Coffee & Cuisine,

Chef Camilo

Cuisine Farm to Table

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