Making a connection with the farmer and the food has always been important to me. Building long term relationships allowed us to run a successful restaurant for 12 years. It’s important to make time to talk to the farmer, they work hard, they love to share their passion with you, and you need to respect that! This approach was a big part of any job interview I did with prospective cooks. They were told that when a farmer came by to drop off food, don’t dismiss them or just throw the boxes of produce of to the side because your at to busy, show them respect! The natural progression of knowing the farmer was taking time to visit them at their farm, something we try to do as much as possible. It’s very inspiring to stand in the middle of a field with a farmer and discuss what’s coming along in the field, new things they are trying to grow, what they need help moving, and so on. These trips are very important for me, especially when it comes to farms that want to provide us with meat. The visits give us a chance to see first hand if the welfare of the animal is being taken care of. We have always, and will continue to, use as much pasture raised animals as we king find. Visiting the farm is the best way to ensure you are getting just that.
Urban Digs Farm
Julia from Urban Digs and myself in the pig pen. I was here to do a picture for a cook book, so Shannon bought me a new jacket so I could be clean and white. It didn’t stay white for long! In our new venture we hope to be working closely with Julia and the whole Urban Digs Farm family. Their commitment to ethically raised meat is uncompromising and they have a strong sense of community, supporting other like minded business as much as they can!
Brian and his “nut fed” pork
Brian’s pigs are definitely one of a kind. I never knew Brian till he showed up at the restaurant one day. He asked me to come the farm and see his pigs, see what they were fed, and to take some pork home to sample. That night after service I called and said I had a few minutes and he kind enough to let me come by that late at night. It was worth the trip! Brian cares deeply about what he does, doesn’t take short cuts, and is someone I have a great amount of respect for!
Brian also has some amazing Muscovy Ducks that we used for sausage, prosciutto, confit, and more!
A trip out to Laurica Farms is a definite must do! Cathy has built a reputation for the farm with her focus on animal welfare and sustainability. Any opportunity to visit the farm for an event or open house should not be missed. A quick tour of the farm will let you how far Cathy and her husband have come in such a short time at the farm. I feel very fortunate to have found Laurica Farms and look forward to working with then in this new venture!
K and M Farms
Just a great family to get to know and farmers who truly understand the importance of pasture raised turkey and chickens. When serving this at the restaurant we often heard “this is what chicken is supposed to taste like”! Their turkeys were always a hit when we did our turkey take home dinners as well, being moist and flavorful!
Sleeping Mountain Farms
Quite often we would get requests for organic turkeys. Sleeping Mountain were the people we’d call! One of the things I most enjoyed heading to this farm was having the chance to talk to Christine and her husband. We all take our turkeys for granted during the holidays, but doing it organically is even more of a challenge, and they definitely deserve a big Thank You!
Little Bit Country Farms
Finding good quality, pasture raised lamb was always a difficult task. Last year I had the chance to take a walk around this little family farm and work their lamb into our menu over the Christmas season. This place is truly a little family farm. If you have a chance to follow them on Instagram, you’ll see how much of a family adventure this is.
Dave Thiessen supplied us with pheasants over the years. I’ll never forget the day I met Dave. Shannon came into the kitchen and said there’s a guy up front with a bag of birds. Since that day Dave became a big supporter of our restaurant, was often one of the featured farmers at our gumboot dinners, and was a constant presence in the restaurant by having this picture on our dining room wall.
Jeremy’s Muscovy duck
Doesn’t this look like the life! I couldn’t believe the space and setting these ducks had to live in and enjoy! Like so many stories, this begin with a farmer driving by the restaurant and stopping in. When people would say, why are you out here? I’d tell them about farmers like Jeremy. This was only 2 minutes down the road. We had such amazing access to farms like this, and we will continue to work with small producers like Jeremy moving forward!
You’ll probably recognize this picture as the header on our website. I’ve dealt with Glorious Organics for over 16 years. They provide the most amazing greens, herbs, flowers, and specialty vegetables you can get your hands on. They have always been a great supporter of me, through good and bad times, and I will always be a loyal supporter of them!