Locavorism – one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible
Although this concept is now a national phenomenon, we in the Pacific NW have had several artisans and food patriots who have championed this very cause for several decades. There are many reasons why chefs and restaurants can be passionate about this issue/cause. Some may believe that local produce is healthier and more nutritious, while others believe that the less fossil fuels being spent on food transportation…the better for our environment. While still others do it because they want to be a part of our own local “stimulus” by keeping more money here in our region and lastly lets not forget those who do it purely because it TASTES BETTER.
Regardless of the reason, locavorism is here to stay. We have several great examples in the Pacific NW, role models even for the current and upcoming generation of chefs and restaurateurs. I can think of The Herbfarm in Woodinville, by way of Fall City, Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Local 360 in the Belltown neighborhood in Seattle (read my post) as well as Latah Bistro, just South of Spokane on the way to Pullman. All have been front-runners and passionate advocates for buying and SUPPORTING LOCAL FOOD.
Another chef, Seth Caswell of Emmer and Rye, has been making a lot of press recently in various local rags so I wanted to highlight some of the thoughts he shared recently. Caswell, who reportedly spends 90-100% of his food budget on local ingredients (especially produce and fish), makes his menu at the Queen Anne eatery based on what is in season or in the pantry from his stock of canned, preserved, and cured items he put together when there was an abundance. Chances are pretty good that if you get a bell pepper in a dish in January, it came from his own preservation and NOT from a big food distribution company. Caswell seems to be part time philosopher and part time preacher when speaking of locavorism. “Local seasonal food is fresher, more nutritious,” says Caswell. “But it also satisfies our bodies’ deepest cravings. I believe after you’ve lived in a place longer than 3 or 4 years your body craves what is seasonal there. It’s a mystical thing, really, it is a CONNECTION to earth.” (Source: Seattle Met Magazine)
Personally, I have eaten at Emmer and Rye several times, and loved each and every experience. Great old-home-turned-restaurant, with a classic vibe and delicious, simple yet exquisitely prepared food. Caswell appears to practice what he preaches in every way.
So whether you agree with Caswell in whole or in part, all we seem to know is this: the more we use fresh, local, seasonal ingredients dining in or dining out, we are supporting our farmers, food artisans, economy, the earth, as well as our own bodies!
Want to Go?
14590 Northeast 145th Street Woodinville, WA 98072
9702 Northeast 120th Place Kirkland, WA 98034
4241 South Cheney Spokane Road Spokane, WA 99224
2234 1st Avenue Seattle, WA 98121
1825 Queen Anne Avenue North Seattle, WA 98109