For some time the latest trend for upscale restaurants has been farm to table. This typically means that the restaurant features seasonal items grown by local growers.
Typically the owner or chef goes to a farmer’s market and features items that he purchases there. The problem with this is that there have been many abuses by restaurants that claim to be farm to table but who are really not.
It is a large step for the chef to shape the menu according what is happening on an actual farm. But that is precisely what some chefs have been doing by establishing their own farms or by forming long term relationships with existing farms.
“It’s been a way to bring greater depth to my food, to establish rhythms and customs that have some sort of meaning.” a chef said of his relationship with the farm. Sustainably farmed operations often employ a “cover crop” to restore nitrogen to the soil between plantings. One chef devised an edible mix of arugula, mustard greens, pea shoots and bell beans that can be clipped and used at the restaurant
A shift this fundamental from simply sourcing locally to becoming the source takes time, but when a restaurant takes responsibility for growing ingredients that it serves, it provides diners an extra measure of confidence in the restaurant at a time when local-sourcing claims are increasingly in doubt. In many cases the farm-to-table phrase has been so overused as to be almost meaningless.
Restaurants that feature foods grown on their own farms are located in many states including Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Kentucky, Illinois and California. It would be worthwhile to look into what is available in your area.