St. Louis’ position in the Midwest and its proximity to the bounties of surrounding farmlands provides ample opportunity for us to enjoy fresh, local, seasonal crops.
With as many as 16 suppliers, chef/proprietor Nicholas Miller has embraced local farmers as sources for his constantly evolving menu. But months before the goods arrive in his kitchen, Miller has already met with growers to determine what will be served at Harvest in the coming months. “Every year, I sit down with St. Isidore Farm in late January and go over what we did the previous seasons,” he says. “If there was a problem with something that was grown, he asks me what I would like to have instead. And because they plant in intervals, most farmers know pretty darn close to when crops will be ready, so I can plan my menu accordingly. Sometimes a source will offer us something unusual, and we’ll take it and create a dish around it.”
An appetizer currently available at Harvest includes goat cheese and egg yolk raviolo with smoked chicken liver mousse, garlic chive butter, beet verjus and a sprout salad. The goat cheese is from Baetje Farms, the chicken liver is sourced by Farrar Out Farm, the beets are grown by St. Isidore Farm, the sprouts are from Claverach Farms, and the eggs, butter and garlic chives are provided by
G & T Enterprises.
A quaint, intimate restaurant located on Washington University’s Danforth Campus, Ibby’s is a hidden gem that sets a high standard when it comes to the amount of local products used within its menu. “Our goal is to source 80 percent locally when the restaurant is open,” notes Jill Duncan of Bon Apétite Management Company, which manages all of the Danforth Campus’ dining services. “Ibby’s, which is open to the public, closes for the summer when the students aren’t on campus.” Duncan says the student population appreciates the local cuisine offered. “Because we source locally for all our dining, it’s almost a kind of ‘normal’ for the students,” she explains. “But that’s our goal and purpose—to commit to that all over campus. Our problem is that we provide so many meals that we actually can’t find local vendors to supply with us with enough food!”
A current offering at Ibby’s by chef David Rushing is a Fruitland smoked double pork chop with Double Star Farms sweet potatoes and asparagus with sweet corn and caramelized apple jus.
At Winslow’s Home, customers have many options regarding locally grown products. Chef Cary McDowell’s kitchen offers a rotating menu that features ingredients grown by local sources, as well as by Winslow’s Farm in Augusta. The establishment also stocks a nice selection of grab-and-go items and local ingredients for dinners at home. Like the seasons, the menu and merchandise are always changing. “We’re getting ready to mix it up for spring,” says owner Ann Lipton. “The beauty of having four true seasons is that just when you begin to get tired of the same thing, a new crop comes in, like peas, asparagus and lettuces—the early spring crops. Our dinner and weekend brunch items change all the time—our lunch menu will stay for a couple of months, but we also rotate seasonal items in and out.”
Chef McDowell’s fried chicken dinner consists of pastured chicken, raised by Colby Jones at Farrar Out Farm, with the flour from Grass Farms & Foods, free-range eggs from Rutherford Farm and buttermilk from Kilgus Farmstead. The cornbread was made with corn meal from an Amish supplier in Pike County. LN