Published on May 26th, 2015 | by Lynn Fang
Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Southwest
We are traveling across the United States in a profile of farm-to-table restaurants. Our first stop was the Northeast, where this country was dreamed up, fought for, and first established. Next we are headed to the other end, the Southwest – currently home to many Native American reservations, red rock, and high desert. Despite its dry desert climate, much food can be grown in the Southwest.
Stop at some of these farm-to-table restaurants in the Southwest on your next drive through, and savor the terroir while you help to support a more resilient and sustainable food system.
1. Quiessence at the Farm, Arizona
Quiessence is located at The Farm in South Mountain. This lush, fertile property was once a pecan farm, and is a little oasis of gardens and shrubs and rolling green hills hidden in central Phoenix. All of the ingredients used at the restaurant are sourced from the on-site 10 acre working farm, or from the nearby Maya’s Farm. Quiessence is nestled in the back of the property, allowing guests to stroll through the rustic farm environment before being seated for dinner. As the menu at Quiessence is rooted in Italian culinary techniques, they are fortunate that Arizona grows Italian-style grapes for wine, such as Sangiovese and French-style Rhones.
2. Farmhouse Cafe and Bakery, New Mexico
The Farmhouse Cafe and Bakery sources their ingredients from an on-site farm as well as from over 20 local suppliers. They even offer CSA farm shares for their on-site produce. Chef and owner Micah Roseberry is a prominent community food advocate, farmer, and educator focused on strengthening community partnerships as a way to promote food security and strengthen the local food network. She brings over 30 years’ experience in biodynamic farming and 20 years’ experience in Waldorf education to her work, and has also supported the growth of school garden education programs.
Related: What is Biodynamic Wine?
3. Eden East, Texas
Eden East brings the table to the farm – Chef Sonya Coté serves a prix fixe menu on weekends and special occasions at Springdale Farm, a five acre urban farm in the heart of East Austin. Everything except protein is sourced on-site, with the menu prepared each week, depending on what’s growing well at the farm. The outdoor restaurant consists of communal wooden tables lighted by orbs and crystals, sitting beneath the mysterious and magical presence of stars and trees. Coté’s vision is to connect city folks to the source of their food, strengthening the power of urban farms to provide for their residents, and raising awareness for city-dwellers.
4. 4th St. Bistro, Nevada
4th St. Bistro is the first restaurant in Reno to commit to showcasing local, sustainable ingredients in their menu. They serve contemporary American food, inspired by cultures around the world. They never source from factory farms, as they believe in humane animal husbandry, and they serve fish from sustainably caught and wild populations that are not endangered. Chef Natalie Sellers and partner Carol Wilson held a shared vision of farm-to-table food – Wilson had grown up on a farm in Ohio, and eating local was simply the most natural way of eating; Sellers had worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Stars in San Francisco, both leaders in offering local, farm-to-table food to restaurant diners. They were determined to share that spirit of eating local and sustainable with the Reno community when they opened 4th St. Bistro in 2000.
5. Forage, California
Forage takes the farm-to-table concept to a new level by sourcing from urban backyard growers in Los Angeles. Chef Jason Kim invited local backyard farmers to bring him their fresh produce for him to incorporate into his menu. The health department stepped in and told him his ingredients needed to come from certified sources, and fortunately a private diner provided funding to certify several urban farmers to supply their produce. Forage seeks to provide healthy, local, sustainable food at affordable prices in a casual dining setting.