Patrick O’Connell, Chef & Proprietor The Inn at Little Washington talks about how he got started in the Farm to Table movement (what we call “Farm to Forchetta” at Michael-Angelo’s!):
Originally nothing was delivered here whatsoever, and if you called a purveyor 65 miles away in Washington, D.C., they would say, “What do you mean you’re in Washington, Virginia? Make up your mind, buddy. You can’t be in both places. You’re either in Washington, or you’re in Virginia.”
I would say, “No, it’s a little village, and you go through this –”
“No, we’re not going out there. Are you crazy? Drive all the way out there?”
So it was, “Oh, my God, we’re going to have find out what we can look for right here that’s available.” So soon I found a retired doctor who had a trout farm. His wife was smoking the trout, and I found a butcher who had a ham house, and we became friends. Then I found a man who wanted to get out of the cattle business and started raising shitake mushrooms, which he called “shit takes.” It just progressed that way, and then I would make stops along the way to work. I’d go to an old widow’s garden, and she’d have a little bit of sorrel, and then our neighbor here in town grew herbs for us until she was 100. She lasted until she was 107, and it was a kind of network of this tiny little community.
It was a little like stone soup. Everybody had something they wanted to contribute to this cause, and they loved the idea that rich and fancy city people would come out here and eat something from their garden. It was kind of like an old fairy tale, and then it just continued to now we have our farmer living here on the property.
More about Chef Patrick O’Connell: http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/patrick-oconnell.htm