The Real Foodie

Tag: farm-to-table

A Nourishing Traditions Dinner with Sally Fallon


Marco Canora and Sally Fallon

I had the honour of sitting next to Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, over dinner last week at Hearth Restaurant in New York City. Chef Marco Canora, who has become a celebrity with his take out broth window, Brodo, hosted the dinner which was made entirely according to the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation, as illustrated in Sally Fallon’s cookbook, Nourishing Traditions.

Sally Fallon has a devout following all over the world since she started the Weston A. Price Foundation, a dietary philosophy, based on the teachings of Weston A. Price. Weston Price was a dentist who traveled the world in the 1920s and ’30s, studying the diets of indigenous tribes and found that they had perfect bone structure and no tooth decay or disease. I first read her cookbook Nourishing Traditions eight years ago and I have been on the Weston Price diet ever since. Sally Fallon has changed my life and the life of so many others by improving their health, so this was a very special and rare opportunity to talk to her.

The table was beautifully set on a long table in the private dining room and lit by candles. The dinner was five courses, each accompanied by a different wine. Sally stood at the beginning of each course to make a speech, the theme being reduction sauces, followed by Marco explaining each course. The first course was a tasting of each of Brodo’s bone broths: grass-fed beef with ginger, Pennsylvania Amish organic chicken and Hearth broth; a combination of their chicken, beef and turkey. The second course was a trio of root vegetables, wild salmon eggs, Finger Lakes farm cream, chicories and a beet kvass vinaigrette. The third course was a sprouted grain risotto (lentils, red fife wheat berries, red quinoa) cooked in Hearth broth with wild mushrooms, cabbage and grated Spring Brook Reading raw cow’s milk cheese. The fourth course was a seared calves liver, bone marrow, soft scrambled eggs and alliums cooked in a Bordelaise sauce. Marco pointed out that the liver was from a rare veal from Vermont, fed only mother’s milk and grass instead of powdered milk. The fifth and final course was a selection of three raw milk cow cheeses, served with hazelnuts, sliced pears and honey. The blue and cheddar cheeses were from Sally Fallon and her husband Geoffrey Morell’s own organic bio-dynamic farm, Bowen Farm.

I have been to many great restaurants in my life and I would say this was one of the best, if not the best dinners I have ever had. It was unique in that it was not only cooked to perfection but also using ingredients of the highest quality. This rare combination was what made the dinner so memorable. Once you are on a real food diet and are used to the superior taste of real food ingredients sourced from grass-fed animals and organic farms, there is no comparison to conventional food, even when it is cooked by well known chefs. It is this combination that has made Marco Canora’s Hearth Restaurant such a success.

Station, East Quogue, N.Y.


Over the years that I have been coming to Southampton there has always been a lousy selection of restaurants to choose from, none of which serve real food. It was always my dream to open my own health cafe in this town as it is in such dire need of a healthy place to grab a quick lunch or take out; and it would probably make a fortune due to the increasing crowds that come here each summer. In my former less healthy days I used to get sandwiches at the local delis but there was never anywhere to get a delicious organic salad, which even then I craved. Of the more formal restaurants that we would go to have dinner, Sant Ambroeus, Red Bar, Savanna’s and more recently, Tuto Il Giorni were a step above the local burger or seafood joints; Sant Ambroeus serving tasty Italian panini during the day, but all of them still using conventional ingredients. There used to be an organic market and cafe called Annie‘s but it didn’t last more than one summer. Then came Organic Avenue selling raw vegan snacks, pressed organic juices and smoothies but they also shut down after a couple of years, this year selling just a few juices inside the clothing store Theory.

Now finally the world is catching onto real food and there are a few farm-to-table restaurants that have opened in the past year in and around the Hamptons. There is also a new organic pressed juice bar in Southampton which opened this summer called Juice Press and a restaurant on the highway, Cafe Crust, which sells grass fed burgers, hormone free pizzas and organic salads. My husband and I decided to give one of the farm-to-table restaurants, Station, in East Quogue a try and we were surprisingly impressed. The outside is beautifully landscaped with wild flowers. The food is delicious, simple, healthy and a perfect example of farm-to-table. Opened during Memorial day weekend, everything served is either grown or landed locally. They work with local farms, including Invincible Summer Farms, Early Girl Farm and Mecox Bay Dairy. We have gone back several times since. Now we finally have a restaurant that we can keep going back to and feel good after.

Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, Miami Beach


I was so excited when this southern style restaurant opened in October 2011 in South Beach, where there was not one restaurant that served real food, I could hardly wait. I waited for months after passing it by each day, still under construction. I could tell it was going to be a farm-to-table restaurant by the style of the graphics they used for their shopfront sign and window posters and though I was being overly optimistic (in hopes of a change in the area), I was miraculously right in the end!

The only other restaurants we would go to before Yardbird Southern Table & Bar opened were Sustain Restaurant which closed in May 2012, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink or Harry’s Pizzeria (both the same owner) who also get most of their ingredients from local, organic farms, but coming from New York City, this selection was very limited. (We later started going on a weekly basis to BM Organics in Fort Lauderdale which is by far our favourite restaurant of all time and has a standard of food beyond any other restaurant I have been to because they source a hundred percent of their ingredients from local organic or Amish farms in Pennsylvania and strictly adhere to the principles of the Weston A Price Foundation.)

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar have become a huge success; they are busy every night and it is impossible to get a table on a weekend night (unless you are a regular like we are). They fry their pastured chickens in lard (their fries unfortunately in canola oil unless you ask for lard) and the majority of their food comes from local, organic farms. They are not a hundred percent organic (I discovered one time after eating their Adluh stone ground grits that they were GMO and they use conventional mayonnaise for their devilled eggs) but if you choose carefully you can have a real food meal, which is priceless in a town as small as South Beach.

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar was one of the winners of the 2013 Slow Food Miami Snail of Approval.

Update: In May 2012 BM Organics Market closed down. In July 2013 the chef and partner at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Jeff McInnis, left and has been replaced by Clay Miller.

Pantrepant Farm, Jamaica


During my last trip to Jamaica I was invited to Pantrepant Farm, a beautiful and serene 2,500-acre organic farm in the hills of the Cockpit Country along the Martha Brae river and the home of Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell. It was a memorable day, which began with a bathe in a natural swimming hole, followed by a delicious four course farm-to-table lunch and ending with a tour of the organic farm.

The colonial house had a wrap around porch which overlooked the hills in the distance. It was rustic and beautifully decorated with colourful paint, local wooden carvings and hand printed African textiles from Chris Blackwell’s late wife’s Royal Hut line of interiors. My background being in textile design, this was a delight to my eyes. Everywhere I looked was like a photograph taken from an interior design coffee table book, with the hand printed textile theme throughout: on the trim of the towels, the napkins, table cloths, the wicker chair pillows, four hanging umbrellas, even the staff wore brightly printed matching dresses instead of the usual drab uniforms.

We were greeted with a glass of either rum punch or coconut water and crackers with Solomon Gundy: a traditional Jamaican spicy smoked red herring paté. Once I realised that the jugs on the tables which I thought were filled with just plain water, were actually filled with fresh coconut water, I knew I was in heaven. After drinks we went swimming in the river’s magnificent swimming hole with water the colour of jade. My seven month old baby answered my prayers as she always does and was an angel from start to finish, happily being the centre of attention when she was awake and falling asleep just in time for me to be able to enjoy lunch. I laid her across two chairs with a sarong over her and she slept soundly under the shade of a huge guango tree next to the table throughout the entire lunch.

The lunch was a variety of freshly picked vegetables with lettuce, jerk chicken, rice cooked with callaloo (a type of Jamaican kale) and sweet crepes with coconut ice cream for desert, all made from scratch using organic ingredients from the farm. It was the first time I was eating organic food in Jamaica, a moment I had been dreaming about for years, knowing that as delicious as the cooking was, it wasn’t filled with mystery ingredients and was actually nourishing my body.

The reason I came to Pantrepant Farm was because it was my first time in Jamaica with my baby and as I was breastfeeding, I was in a dilemma as to what to eat, knowing that the word organic in Jamaica didn’t exist. Most of the food in hotels is imported, the food sold in supermarkets is highly processed and it is hard to find local produce. I have been going to Jamaica all my life as my family own a house there and my mother grew up in Reading. I always loved traditional Jamaican cooking but as I got older and became aware of where our food comes from, with each trip I grew increasingly disappointed with the quality served at restaurants and sold at our community market, making it impossible to avoid eating processed food even when it was cooked at our own house. Jamaica being a land so lush in vegetation (when you drive around the island there are several roadside stands selling local fruits and vegetables) and the food being so good, it always puzzled me that when you go to the hotel restaurants, everything is imported and the menu is American. When I learned about Pantrepant Farm, it didn’t surprise me that it is owned by none other than the brilliant Chris Blackwell, who I have always admired for being an innovator and supporter of the Jamaican community through his local projects and boutique hotels. Now with Pantrepant he is starting the first CSA in the country, creating a model of sustainability through internships and workshops, leading the way towards organic farming in Jamaica.