Saturday, July 11, 2009
How Local is our cuisine?
A lot of guests ask me, how local is your food? Many people still don't believe that great produce & meat can come from New England. Of course everyone knows that there is no better seafood on the planet than what we have here in the North Atlantic, but did you know chicken, beef, pork & lamb are plentiful and of very high quality?
Let me start by telling you that right now, July through October is the peak of the growing season here in New England. I would estimate that 95% of my fresh produce is coming from Massachusetts or Rhode Island. The other 5% is stretched between Pennsylvania(mushrooms) and New York.
Most of my produce is purchased from Wards Berry Farm in Sharon MA, or through an unbelievable program known as Market Mobile, a program developed by Farm Fresh Rhode Island to facilitate buying relationships between RI producers and business buyers and institutions.
Through Farm Fresh RI we also buy our pork(whole hogs or fabricated) beef(specialty cuts & ground) and milk & eggs.
Another Great program is Dole & Baily North East Family Farms, much the same concept as farm fresh RI, just on a much larger scale spanning the entire North East up into Maine & Vermont & New York, we are fortunate to be able to purchase our chickens (Misty Knoll or Organic Freebird) lamb products, pork, duck and rabbit.
I buy ALL my cheese from small New England Artisan Cheese Makers.Blythdale Farms VT, Boggymeadow Farm N.H., Narragansett Creamery R.I., Great Hill Blue Farm MA and Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. to name a few
All of this product is TRACKED back to the original farm it came from, making sure I know where EVERY piece of food I buy from these programs come from.
Lastly we have personal relationships with some small artisan producers including Round The Bend Farm(Hogs) Dartmouth MA, Evas Garden(the best herbs & greens on the planet) Dartmouth MA.
There are some products we bring in from further away, and I believe that sourcing out the very best product in the country and world and making sure that it is produced using sustainable methods. I think that there are many products that are just plain better than what I can find in the region or even the USA.
Piquillo peppers from New Jersey? come on! Or what about real fresh truffles? I know the truffles I buy are the best on the planet, if Oregon or Tennessee could produce a truffle like France or Italy, sign me up.
Look, I do my part because I want to support our local economy, I think 95% of my product that I buy locally is SUPERIOR to anywhere else in the country, but there are some things I make exceptions for. But I guarantee you that I do my homework, I know where my food comes from, how it is going to be packaged and shipped.
As leaders in the Haute Farm Cuisine movement I feel we go above and beyond people expectations when we tell them how local we really are with our food purchases.
Another blog to follow about our non food items and wine & beverage program.