The last week of April is a special time for the culinary department at The Boulevard Senior Living Wentzville, MO. In honor of Earth Month, we will be celebrating and embracing the Farm to Table concept. While the terminology is often overused, the idea is a basic one that stems from the days when the food you ate came from the farm you lived on or nearby. Practices may have changed but utilizing the produce and livestock from local farms and growers has many benefits. For example, did you know most produce loses nutrients within 24 hours of harvesting? Have you ever noticed how fresh meat is moister and more flavorful?
Farm to Table also helps strengthen the local economy by providing jobs and keeping money in the hands of businesses run by our neighbors and friends. It helps to build relationships between the farmer or rancher and the customer. Both sides benefit greatly from sourcing local items. If an item becomes scarce, or pricing becomes high, this valued relationship can be instrumental in helping us to continue to provide the exceptional food our residents have come to expect from us with minimal interruption.
The dish I’m making is butter-pecan, butter-poached pork tenderloin; crispy, garlic, chive, wild rice waffles; Malden roasted carrots with speckled pea microgreens and mushroom sauce; beet chicharrons; and honey drizzle. All served on a custom-made clay plate to symbolize the origin of everything on the farm. The locally sourced items I will be using include Mushroom Naturally https://www.mushroomsnaturallystl.com/ mushrooms, Hart Beet Farm http://www.hartbeetfarm.com/ – beets, Micro Meadows https://www.micro-meadows.com/ – speckled pea microgreens, St Louis Zoo https://www.stlzoo.org/ – honey, Geisert Farms http://www.toadspigs.com/ – pork tenderloin and skins, The Holistic Hog https://theholistichog.com/ – butter-pecan butter, and Imagination Pottery Clay https://www.imaginationpotterystudio.com/ – plate.
I look at food and think of how I can truly surprise people. I try to pair foods with others to complement each other, but also make people think “I would never have thought of that.” While most people think of lush green fields and rolling hills for farm to table, I like to think of the farm oddity. Why not try to find a farm in a big metal box in the middle of an industrial park or utilize a product from a zoo in the middle of St. Louis City. I also like to keep people guessing by stretching their imagination and curiosity with changing a specific meal item to something that confuses them, but also intrigues them just as much. Anyone who knows me knows my passion for pork, nose to tail.