We grow our own food to learn, to teach, and to support the local food supply.
When Sam first took over the 18th Street Market, he was concerned with stocking the shelves and butcher case full of ingredients needed to build an inspiring meal at home. He wanted to give our chefs a chance to bond with their menus and the opportunity to share that pride with the guests they served. It became clear that in order to form an intimate relationship with the food we sold and prepared, we needed to dig deeper into the agricultural system, so to begin farming was the most natural next step.
When a staff member spends two hours harvesting 25 pounds of arugula that they sell out of at the Markets in a day, they are able to better understand the true labor, cost, and value of growing and selling food in a way they never could before.
We’re always trying to bridge the gap, lessen the distance between the soil that feeds us and the community we’re feeding. Between three acres in Sonoma wine country, an acre of orchard in Placerville and our rooftop garden at our Divisadero location, it is a source pride and integrity to continuously strive to better know our meal’s journey from seed to plate.
The farm as a whole, but especially our Farm School collaboration with 18 Reasons has given us a whole new platform to talk about eating as an active, conscious choice that effects how the world is inhabited and how resources are used. Having our own land means we intimately understand the environmental impact of growing food on any scale, it allows us to practice “beyond organic” farming, to have the opportunity to be outside the umbrella of certification but still have the confidence of knowing exactly what is in our produce.
This experience gives us a chance to have much more nuanced dialogue with smaller produce suppliers because we understand firsthand the obstacles they face. Farming has brought us to the realization that our food community goes beyond sellers, eaters, and producers to include the land that provides us sustenance. We grow to deepen our relationship with our food and the environment.