Restaurant Guide: Localvores Unite
The farm-to-table movement is sweeping the state. Why? Supporting local farms builds communities—and fresh food just plain tastes better. Here are some restaurants at the fore of the movement.
Research assistance by Rebecca Kasman
(page 4 of 11)
23 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach
Like several of Rehoboth’s fine dining establishments, Eden and its chef, Mark Daggett, call upon Milton’s Bob Russell Farms for superb custom-grown produce. Russell Farms cherry tomatoes go into sautéed shrimp bruschetta, and leafy arugula fills out a roasted baby beet salad. In another top-seller, bone-in chicken breast from Lancaster tops homemade pappardelle, blistered cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, broccolini and beurre blanc. “With this style of cooking you’re getting the best product possible,” Daggett says while gushing over his latest shipment of local spaghetti squash. “You can tell that it’s not sitting in the back of a truck for a week.”
28 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach
There is a video floating around YouTube of Espuma chef-owner Jay Caputo boarding a fishing vessel at the Indian River inlet, then heading 50 miles out to reel in a monster bluefin tuna—which he takes back to Espuma and promptly breaks down into tuna tartare “cannelloni” with thinly sliced pineapple. “Any time you know who handled the stuff, who raised the stuff, you’re more in touch with your food,” Caputo says. During rockfish season, Espuma runs an herb-crusted rockfish with local kabocha squash ravioli with pickled peppers grown by Greenbranch Farm in Salisbury, Maryland.
Fair Hill Inn
3370 Singerly Road, Elkton, Md.
(410) 398-4187, fairhillinn.com
No one will ever accuse Fair Hill Inn of bandwagoning. “We started our farm-to-table movement not in response to what was going on across the country,” says chef Phil Pyle Jr. “To the contrary. We were in the midst of a recession. Growing your own produce, butchering your own animals made good financial sense.” Pyle and chef Brian Shaw cure their own meats in-house and grow their own vegetables in a plot behind the inn. What they don’t grow they procure from Trebs Thompson at Whimsical Farms in Newark and Steve Isaacson at Sassafras River Beef in Maryland. Fair Hill calls it “farmstead cuisine.” “The hard reality is that Brian and I work about 110 hours per week committed to the practice,” Pyle says. “We really do live, eat and breathe our menu.”
Fresh Thymes Café
1836 Lovering Ave., Wilmington
The North Breakfast Burrito, a signature item at Fresh Thymes, is made from Whimsical Farms (Newark) eggs, and the Best Ever Grilled Cheese uses Lancaster smoked cheddar. Just about everything else—from Pike Creek coffee to organic Lancaster sauerkraut—is either local or organic. “The flavor is more extraordinary that way,” says co-owner Jenn Adams. “And it gives the customer that awareness of exactly where their food is coming from.”
Page 5: Restaurant Guide: Localvores Unite, continues...