Sunday, June 25, 2017

Washington, D.C. Edition: Founding Farmers

Founding Farmers

After a quick roadtrip to Washington, D.C., to check out the cherry blossoms (womp, womp they weren't great this year), resulted in - of course - one tasty meal.

Founding FarmersFounding Farmers is well-known for initiating the farm-to-table movement, so I made reservations to go check it out. 
Founding Farmers

Located just three blocks west of the White House, the award-winning Founding Farmers flagship restaurant has been a destination for locals and tourists alike since its opening in 2008. In this urban farmhouse, guests gather and enjoy their meals in a variety of specially designed spaces. From our handcrafted community farm dining tables and the mezzanine’s silo-shaped booths to our more intimate seating arrangements, the LEED Gold Certified design is a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® and exemplifies our full devotion to aesthetic beauty and sustainability.
Founding Farmers

A “love for local, seasonal food” fuels this “farm-to-table” chainlet where “big portions” of “something-for-everyone” American dishes - Zagat

This spot was doing farm-to-table before it was even cool; enjoy your tasty, sustainable, family-farmed eats in a LEED-certified setting that's as green as the food. - Thrillist

Founding FarmersThose reviews are good enough for me. After a bit of a wait for our reservation, we were led upstairs and seated - in pretty close quarters - with a nice view though. The interior was cozy with a few farm-inspired touches.
The food prepared in our Founding Farmers kitchens is made in-house every day. All of our locations are part of the Certified Green Restaurant® association, and work diligently every day to continue the success of being a green restaurant – from using the most sustainable hot cups on the market to operating with the most energy efficient equipment. 
Our dedication to serving high-quality, real food, with an emphasis and focus on cooking from scratch is what sets us apart. We bake our own bread (approximately 170,000 loaves per year), we grind our own beef, we press our own juices, we even churn our own butter. Our purveyors are carefully chosen and measured against our high standards. 
Our menus are inspired by our country’s rich culinary tradition, including our versions of all-American classics, as well as innovative creations based on a wide range of American cuisine. 
Simply put, it’s real food & drink. All served with pride (FOOD).
Founding FarmersThe menu features comfort food kicked up a notch. This menu seriously had my name written all over it. I could've easily ordered any number of things - it all sounded amazing!

Founding FarmersFor an appetizer, we got fried green tomatoes. These were very good, and I especially enjoyed the ramp goat cheese side. Fried until golden brown and crispy, they were well-seasoned and perfect.

Founding FarmersFor my entree, I went with the chicken & waffles. It's served with a rigatoni-noodle macaroni & cheese and another side - I went with sweet potato. This was great! The chicken was well-seasoned - not super crispy. The waffles were fluffy. The macaroni was nice and hearty.
The values of the American family farmer are at the heart of all we do at Founding Farmers. Like the more than 47,000 family farmers who own our restaurant, we strive to work hard and operate with a genuine concern for our land and our community. We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy high-quality food that is delicious, and grown with care. 
Our story began in 2005 when the members of North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) began talking about the future. They were looking for a way to bring their products directly to consumers. They wanted to take people back to the source, to the foods that are grown, raised, and harvested on American family farms. They wanted to affirm that family farming was, and remains, essential to our nation’s well-being. 
Our restaurant is owned by the more than 47,000 family farmers of NDFU and is supplied by hundreds of family farms everywhere. That doesn’t mean we know every farm, and that doesn’t mean we never have to buy product from the traditional (corporate) supply chain, but it does mean we’re working hard to direct our purchasing dollars where it aligns with our values. The “as much as possible” prefix is important; we want to provide transparency, and acknowledging that it isn’t feasible to promise we know the source of every morsel is important. We’re serving the best food we can, made from scratch in our kitchens every day. We continually strive to unbundle the industrial supply chain by cooking, mixing, and baking from scratch. We are constantly looking for suppliers that align with our principles. Our innovative, American dishes are made primarily with pure ingredients honoring the farmers and their hard-earned bounty. 
Our name “Founding Farmers” is a nod to our Founding Fathers, many of whom were devoted farmers long before they became trailblazers for our country. While those leaders built and contributed to the American agricultural tradition, we recognize that our mission is also about growing a new venture with farmers at the root: one that strengthens their livelihood, gives back to the community, and makes quality food accessible to all.
Overall, this is a pretty neat place. I wouldn't mind trying a few other dishes, too. Plus, it gets at the heart of small town America. What could be better.

Grade: A 
Founding Farmers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, June 24, 2017

ALL Produce

ALL PRODUCEOne brand new vendor at the Westover farmers market only is ALL Produce, which is based out of Gorman, Maryland.

ALL PRODUCEThey bring all kinds of nice veggies, including radishes, kohlrabi, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, kale, cucumbers and salad mix. 

Have you visited them yet? What'd you get?

Grantsville, MD Edition: High Country Creamery & Market

High Country Creamery + MarketHave you seen High Country Creamery at the Morgantown Farmers Market?

High Country Creamery + MarketIf not, for one, go see them - they have delicious cheese. But, also, you can check out their brick-and-mortar location in Grantsville.

High Country Creamery + Market

In 1958 a young 16-year-old voiced the desire to provide an opportunity for jobs that would allow individuals, like his uncles, who were ordinary hard working farmers, to have a retirement and live well.  He has done this successfully as an entrepreneur of another business and now in his retirement, plans to do it again.  Only this time it's cheese. (At 16 years old he also voiced his belief that cheese should be made locally using milk from nearby farms and that he would like to have a cheese plant someday) 
Now he has the added incentive to be able to do it with family, who have the same vision, and a longtime friend who is also retired from his own business.  It's a way of giving back to the community where his dream originated. 
Simply put: to give the common men and women a worthwhile job opportunity where they can excel.  We believe it is more important to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish, so that knowing how to fish he will always have food."
High Country Creamery + Market

The creamery is amazing - you walk into a shop with tons of local goodies, you can watch them make cheese, and there is a small cafe: Farmers Table Eatery. Here, I got a delicious ice cream cone sourced with local milk.

High Country Creamery + MarketThe butter pecan ice cream was just super smooth, creamy and delicious.

High Country Creamery + MarketLet's also talk about their cheese for a second. Because I get this stuff ALL the time.

High Country Creamery + MarketThey have a cheesehouse spread, which comes in plain, dill, pepperjack and chive.

High Country Creamery + MarketThey have fresh mozzarella, aged cheddar, feta, "The Rev" - a coffee cheddar, and cheese curds in plain, crabby, dill and pepper jack.

High Country Creamery + MarketWho doesn't love a good cheese curds? It's the perfect snacking cheese.

High Country Creamery + MarketYou can get most of this at the Morgantown market, but if you want a little day trip, it's fun to go visit the shop.

High Country Creamery + Market
There is shopping, you can get a bite to eat, and you can see how it gets made. The space is really beautiful, and it's supporting the local folks.

High Country Creamery + Market
So, go on. Try 'em out. Their new location is awesome.

High Country Creamery + Market

Grade: A

Friday, June 23, 2017

Patty's Pastries

Patty's pastries
Each year when the Morgantown Farmers Market starts back up, I try to let folks know of new vendors that are participating.

Patty's pastries
Now, I am fortunate to actually occupy a position on their board and I work with their marketing. (So, if you don't already follow the Morgantown Farmers Market on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, doooo it.) And, I'm more familiar than ever with the vendors.

Patty's pastriesPatty's Pastries has been at the market for a couple years now, but I hadn't made a dedicated blog post to her yet.

Patty's pastriesBecause of my sweet tooth, Patty's is always a must-stop for me. Whether that's a glazed donut to go with my morning coffee, a packet of peanut butter fudge or these incredible pepperoni pizza rolls. If you love pepperoni rolls, try this one with ground pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and sauce. SO GOOD.

Patty's pastriesPatty's has a ton of delicious items to go along with all the fresh produce you get at the market, so be sure to pay her a visit.

Grantsville, MD Edition: The Cornucopia Café

Cornucopia CafeIt's rare that I make the trek to Maryland for a meal - despite it being pretty close. But, I was meeting with friends nearby, so they suggested The Cornucopia Cafe.

Cornucopia CafeThis sweet restaurant has a barn-chic vibe. Lovely wooden floors, giant wooden beans, a stone fireplace, yet delicate white lights and a corrugated steel bar. It's a really lovely space.

Cornucopia Cafe

The Cornucopia Café serves a fresh menu centered around local food, featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. We’ve gathered our favorite recipes into a scrumptious selection of quiche, panini, fresh pasta, soup, salad and stir-fry, and included a bar with beer, wine and homemade sodas. Visit the to-go counter for specialty coffee and food to take along on your morning commute, or for a satisfying mid-day pick-me-up.
Our outdoor seating will provide ample space for your next book club gathering, getting together with friends for a glass of wine or a lunch meeting with colleagues.

Cornucopia Cafe
The menu has a nice mix of sandwiches, salads, and big plates. There was something called a "Pimento Cheese Wickey," which of course immediately caught my attention. It's a thick spread of their original house specialty pimento cheese between two slices of toasted white bread. I also got a side of the broccoli salad. The sandwich was really tasty! It was SO cheesy and a hint of spicy, but absolutely delish. I love the broccoli salad for some texture, a bit of sweetness and a bit of acidity. Seriously, one good lunch.

Cornucopia CafeGrade: A
Cornucopia Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato