Photo: ewwhite, Flickr
Kitchen gardens just aren't enough anymore. A small but growing number of chefs and restaurateurs are taking local to a new level, raising their own meat, keeping honey bees and tending goats to make cheese.
Chef Dan Barber and his acclaimed Blue Hill restaurants helped pioneer the trend. Both his Greenwich Village and Hudson Valley outposts draw from Barber's four-season farm at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture, about an hour north of New York City. The seven-year-old farm, which also serves as an educational center (Michelle Obama and a group of school kids visited last September), provides the restaurants with everything from banana squash to veal. It's a model that translates best to wide-open spaces. In Aspen, Colorado, for instance, the Little Nell hotel's executive chef, Ryan Hardy, grows produce and raises livestock on his 15-acre Rendezvous Farms. He even makes his own cheese.