More and more restaurants across the country are utilizing the talents and resources of their local homegrown gardens and farms in order to promote sustainability and the community. Many of these restaurants and organizations can be found using YellowPages.com, which is a great way to learn about all the newest organic, local farmer-friendly spots in not only Virginia but all across the country. You can also view their restaurant menus online. Let’s take a look at a few restaurants in the area that abide by this game plan, stocking their kitchens with produce from local gardens:
l’etoile—This French-themed restaurant started as a tea house in 1993 and has grown into popular culinary hub for local ingredients and artists. Owners Mark and Vickie Gresge cull ingredients from a variety of local farms and gardens and spin them into extravagant French dishes. Using no less than six local farms and gardens, including Henley’s Orchard, Planet Earth Diversified, and Harvest Thyme Herbs, l’etoile serves the freshest fruits, micro greens, poultry, and herbs.
Arcadia—Arcadia is not restaurant but rather a non-profit farming and food initiative whose goal is to push for more sustainably harvested food supplies in the Washington DC area by facilitating relationships between local farmers and the surrounding urban regions. Their core programs are The Educational Farm, which seeks to create an environmentally and agriculturally sustainable agriculture and livestock, specializing in heirloom foods. Other programs include: The Mobile Market, a sustainable foods delivery bus powered by biodiesel fuel and catering to local neighborhoods; The Farm to School Network, a program for creating healthier, locally grown meals for area schools; and The Food Hub, a supply and demand educational link between farmers, restaurants, nonprofits, and businesses.
Local Roots—Known as the premier locavore restaurant in Virginia, Local Roots touts itself as leading a food revolution by maintaining two gardens that harvest organic, local produce with no hormones or antibiotics. They also offer Animal Welfare Approved lamb from Border Springs Farm (www.borderspringsfarm.com) and pork from Leaping Waters Farm (www.leapingwatersfarm.com) Their menu includes grass-fed meats, Homestead Creamery Dairy, and Heirloom Seeds.
These two restaurants and the food initiative, Arcadia, represent laudable efforts by Virginia restaurateurs and food experts to use the power of local gardens in order to not only service area restaurants but to raise awareness about sustainable produce. In the future we should see this trend continue, as more cities seek to fuse the industrious, environment-friendly resources of their farming and gardening communities in order to feed and educate their populations.
*Guest Contributor: Anna Hicks