Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome to The Farmer and The Chef

The Farmer, Dr. Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm LLC in Patrick Springs, VA, and The Chef, Joshua Smith of Local Roots in Roanoke, VA are teaming together to share experiences and advice on Farmer and Chef collaborations.

Local Roots is a leader in the local food scene in Southwest Virginia under the guidance of executive chef Joshua. Over the years, the Chef has had many wonderful experiences working with inspired farmers who are raising exceptional products. As in any business not all experiences are positive and the Chef also has had lots of experience with bad local food and farmers who just don’t understand the restaurant culture. The Chef will try to pull back the curtains on the mystery of the chef’s world and how to increase a farmer’s chance of making a good first impression.

Border Springs Farm raises sheep and heritage turkeys in the foothills of the Blue Ridge in southern Virginia. The Farmer is presently providing his gourmet quality lamb to some of the finest chefs in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast from Bryan Voltaggio of Volt in Frederick, Maryland, to Jose Andres and Mike Isabella at Zaytinya in Washington, DC, to Sean Brock of McCrady’s in Charleston, SC and Richard Blais of Flip Burger Boutique in Altanta and Birmingham. The life and schedule of a farmer has very little in common with the life and schedule of a chef. The Farmer will share his experiences on how to structure a fine-food business from inside the fences of a working farm.

The FarmerandChef will post regular blog entries but they encourage readers to submit their questions and experiences as well. Every farm is different and every restaurant has its own unique personality, thus, the more experiences we share the more complete the picture will be for those getting started or trying to expand their interactions with restaurants or farmers.

From time to time, the FarmerandChef will visit farms, CSA’s, Farmers’ Markets, restaurants, and other food related businesses. Our first trip together was to Benton’s Smoked Country Hams in Madisonville, NC where we met Mr. Allan Benton and had a tour of his self-proclaimed “hillbilly operation”. What a treat it was and we look forward to sharing with you our impressions.

So, please submit your questions, share your experiences or suggest a farm, restaurant, distillery or other institution devoted to local food that you would like to see the FarmerandChef visit.

We look forward to getting to know you.

Farmer Craig and Chef Joshua

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