Recently our chefs and managers from Bartmann restaurants (including the Tiny Diner) went to the rural plot at Garden Farme to take a tour and help with harvest. In the past we have created on-the-farm events to connect chefs directly to the farm from which they order produce. This is one of the most powerful ways to increase local purchasing and to educate the whole restaurant staff on organic farm philosophies and real-world applications. This year was the most successful event so far given the quality of interactions, produce and high number of staff who attended (20+ people).
It was a true Minnesota summer day with tons of humidity, sun, and horseflies. The conditions were easy to ignore, however, because the garden treats and information were refreshing. Tony Root (Rural Farm Manager) and Koby Hagen (TD Farm, Garden and Market Adviser) walked the chefs through bountiful rows in the upper garden. They highlighted the intense polyculture plantings, mulching for soil building, and the various crops that are in season. Summer squashes and cherry tomatoes were just starting to ripen, and peas and scallions were bountiful.
After the tour, everyone got their hands a dirty clean by picking fresh peas and turnips for delivery. Each person partnered up with another and picked 10+ rows of peas. After the morning harvest was finished, we gathered on the picnic table lawn and had a BBQ lunch together. We reflected on our experiences and connections to the garden, to fresh food and to each other. It was a very meaningful and lasting experience for all. Connections like this are what we hope to recreate at all of our establishments to encourage healthy community building over delicious food, honest work and good company.
We hope to have another chef reunion at the farm in September, where even more people will be able to experience the power of food and farming, and the beauty of Garden Farme.