Published on May 13th, 2015 | by Lynn Fang
Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Northeast
Visiting farm-to-table restaurants on your next trip through the Northeast will help support a more resilient and sustainable local food system.
The farm-to-table movement is burgeoning across the country, intended to support organic farmers and grow a resilient, sustainable food system. Farm-to-table restaurants connect people to farms – they educate as well as satiate the appetite.
Oftentimes farm-to-table restaurants serve dishes from a seasonal menu, based on what is currently growing on local farms. They often highlight the natural flavor profile of the vegetables and serve homey, down-to-earth foods that warm the spirit.
Dining at farm-to-table restaurants supports organic farmers and the movement towards a more resilient and sustainable food system. Consider visiting some of these delicious farm-to-table restaurants the next time you find yourself in the Northeastern U.S.
1. Blue Hill, New York
In New York, Dan Barber is a chef that helped pioneer the farm-to-table movement in the Northeast. He is a chef and co-owner of Blue Hill restaurant in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills. Blue Hill in Manhattan serves local organic produce and grass-fed meats and dairy with respect to artisanal techniques. Dan’s dedication to supporting organic farmers is expressed in his Rotation Risotto, which makes use of diverse cover crops that are typically unworthy of market value.
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a four-season working farm and educational center just 30 miles north of New York City, where there is no set menu for the restaurant. Instead, guests at Blue Hill at Stone Barns are offered a multi-taste menu called Grazing, Rooting, Pecking, featuring the best offerings from the field and market.
2. Margarita Grill, New Hampshire
The Margarita Grill is a farm-to-table restaurant certified by the New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection – they purchase organic produce from local farms listed on their website, they follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guidelines for the Northeast, and they actively work to reduce their environmental footprint through conservation practices such as the use of biodegradable, compostable packaging products.
The food at Margarita Grill is a blend of many different Southwestern cuisines, including gringo, Native American, Pre-Hispanic, Hispanic, Cowboy, Chuckwagon, and Mexican. They’ve developed their own unique salsas and layer flavors using a variety of cooking techniques, including smoking, braising, and grilling.
While some people are afraid that getting involved with the farm-to-table movement will negatively impact their business, Margarita Grill owner Corrine Rober says switching over and getting certified saw a direct benefit of a 38% increase in business volume. Their efforts have transformed local, organic, hand-crafted, and sustainable ingredients from the Northeast into hearty, flavorful Southwest-inspired dishes that everyone can enjoy.
3. The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Vermont
The spirit of local and sustainable has taken strong roots in Vermont – with a cultural pride in craft brewery and farm-to-table restaurants, there’s plenty of delicious eats for a locavore in the Green Mountain State. The Farmhouse is a restaurant whose mission is to showcase Vermont grown, raised, and produced ingredients.
The pride of The Farmhouse is their grass-fed beef from LaPlatte River Angus Farm in Shelburne, VT, used to make their mouthwatering and award-winning burgers. They offer an extensive collection of local brews, wines, and spirits, and, depending on the season, two-thirds of their produce is grown, raised, and produced in Vermont.
4. Cook & Brown Public House, Rhode Island
Cook & Brown was named one of the top 20 best new restaurants by Esquire magazine in 2010. Their menu changes constantly, revolving around New England seasonality, and they dazzle diners through originality and creativity in a range of texture and flavor pairings. Precise European technique is utilized to craft dishes with a rustic, country-style essence, presented in a delicate and refined manner.
They source their ingredients from local growers including the Little City Growers Co-op, consisting of four small farms in the Providence metropolitan area. Fish are sourced from various Narragansett fishermen.
5. Allium Restaurant & Bar, Massachusetts
Named for the onion genus, Allium celebrates the seasons with an ever-changing mix of ingredients sourced from a wide range of farms and producers in the Northeast region. They work closely with local fishmongers and farmers, believing that the farm-to-table experience means procuring the best quality produce, meats, cheeses, and other local artisanal products to create a dining experience of superior quality and flavor for their guests.
In addition to local foods, Allium renovated their building with sustainability in mind – paints and floor sealers were all low VOC, 80% of building materials were recycled, and all press-board was zero-formaldehyde.