Lotus Farm to Table
“To us, supporting local, sustainable food sources is more than just saying we get our products locally, it is the relationships we build with these suppliers. We not only want to understand the basic tastes and textures of foods, but why certain practices contribute to these qualities. We have the upmost respect for those who will produce quality products not to solely turn a profit; but to produce them the “right way.”
As a chef, I was first introduced to the idea of sustainable practices during my time in Maine. There were no “farm to table” restaurants advertised; there was no “support local farmers” movement, that was just the way people lived their lives. There were countless times diners would be eating a dish, and the local farmer who provided the restaurant with those ingredients, was at the table next to them. I was introduced to diners wanting to know the food they were eating came from a sustainable farm, or was caught using sustainable practice. Personal relationships with these purveyors was a way of life. There were multiple trips to farms I was a part of where we learned those farms had been in the family for generations, and the same farming techniques that were handed down were still maintained. To those farmers; it was the “right way” to do it. I kept these experiences with me when I moved back to New Jersey. I searched out restaurants who shar ed my beliefs in this movement, and decided I wanted to keep learning.
One of my favorite farm experiences while at Lotus came when we visited Mill Hollow farm. They raise pigs on patches of land they are preparing to farm on. The pigs eat any growing grass, fertilize the land, and naturally till it to prepare for planting. The pigs are allowed to roam free. It was such a simple concept, let nature do what it would do naturally, but it made perfect sense.
Supporting local, sustainable business may not always be the most convenient thing to do, but as a chef it is the most rewarding. Working in Pennsylvania gives the challenge of the seasons, allowing creativity to play a key role in developing menus and dishes. We at Lotus continue to grow and develop as the movement for supporting local, sustainable business grows.”
Executive Chef: Ryan Sulikowski