“Farm to Table,” Yes!
Executive Chef Peter Stiles is meeting with local farmers and planning menu updates. Some say that “farm to table” is passé. That it’s another food fad, so “yesterday” that chefs who still talk about “eat local” are not keeping up with the latest news. We say “hogwash” and cheer when James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Hastings, stands up on CNN’s Eatocracy blog to say he fears for the day that farm-to-table stops being the foundation for everything we do.
In fact, farm-to-table is “yesterday” only in terms of a fundamental practice that got lost when modern frozen and processed food technology “threw the baby out with the bath water.” In the 19th century, the golden age when the great hotels and inns like Spruce Point built their reputations with discerning clientele, they depended on having their own farms in the countryside. The farms supplied them with fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, milk, cream and butter. They relied on local butchers and the day boat agents to bring the freshest meat and seafood to their kitchen doors. Then refrigerated trucks – ironically – spoiled it all.
Today, as Chef Hastings said, the people most passionate about great food and the need to sustain family farms not selfishly but for the health and welfare of their own communities are local farmers. And here at Spruce Point we are blessed with a culinary team that’s not only passionate about eat local but about the farmers, fishermen, butchers, cheesemakers and vintners who surround us. Chef Stiles and his team are as much a part of the equation that helps ensure that the quality of life in Boothbay for you, our guests, and our neighbors as they.
So as you peruse the new menu we’ve prepared for the season in 88, Bogie’s and Deck, noting the references to named local farms and particular types of vegetables or herbs, consider that “farm to table” is not just a trend, it’s the spark that lights an entire pageant of growers and chefs, gatherers and artisans, all selecting a market basket of colors and flavors for exactly the right combination that will transform the contents of your fork or spoon into delight. It’s not just farm to table; it’s farmer (lobsterman, forager, cheesemaker) to you.