Bringing the Farm Closer to the Table


| 10/31/2017 3:49:00 PM


Tags: sustainable farms, farm to table dining, good eats, Maryland, Kurt Jacobson,

The farm-to-table movement is an exciting change in the way we get our food. If you are new to this concept, the idea is to cut out the middleman, so a less-traveled product is delivered in a sustainable fashion. The fewer miles food travels, the fresher it is when it arrives at the final destination. In the restaurant world, farm-to-table and sustainability are popular, and I think that’s a good thing. During my restaurant explorations, I’ve found a variety of ways owners and chefs are embracing farm-to-table and want to tell you about two of my favorite examples in Maryland.

Why does farm-to-table and sustainability matter? The benefit of a restaurant growing their own produce and livestock is, this cuts out long shipping times. The fewer miles food has to travel to the restaurant the less money spent on fuel. Closing the distance food travels benefits air quality and food quality when restaurants have their own farms close by. As for sustainability, when farms don’t overtax the land we get better produce and livestock from land that can continue to produce food without the addition of costly chemical fertilizers.

Over on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is The Inn At Perry Cabin by Belmond and their restaurant Stars. At Stars, Chef Ken MacDonald embraces sustainability and the farm-to-table approach. Although Chef Ken tries to source his food products within a 150-mile radius, he takes farm-to-table even further. Enter Phal Mantha, the farm manager for The Inn At Perry Cabin. Phal has some two acres of prime land just steps from Stars restaurant. Phal and Chef Ken work together to provide guests with the freshest produce available anywhere. Not only does Stars have two acres of ground for growing crops, but also a greenhouse to grow vegetables and herbs year-round.

herbs and flowers

Herb and flower garden

This is the first year of Stars and the Inn having their own home-grown produce. I’ve been following their progress since first learning about the new program in April. Back then there was just the plan, but on a recent visit, I saw the fruits of Phal’s labor. Growing in the plot were thriving baby lettuces, three varieties of kale, chard, kohlrabi, and several more types of gorgeous green goods. All this produce is ready to decorate plates, adorn entrees, and add to salads. Come July 2018 I can’t wait to see fields of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and whatever else Phal and Chef Ken have in mind for the restaurant.




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