Farm to table via a forager

June 30, 2010 3:07:18 PM PDT
Many restaurants like to use local ingredients, but one Manhattan restaurant is taking unusual steps to make sure that happens. Johanna Kolodny works for Print restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, and forages in rural areas to find unusual produce.

It's a long drive from Manhattan to Blooming Hill Organic Farm, but it is where Kolodny makes some amazing finds.

"My actual title is forager, but not in the traditional sense," Kolodny said.

She may not sniff around for mushrooms, but she does seek out farmers and procures their goods.

She buys wild dandelion greens and ramps right off the farm.

By foraging, Kolodny can cut out the middleman and create face to face relationships. This often guarantees better, and maybe more interesting, products for the restaurant where she works.

"My goal is to get as much directly from farmers into the menu," Kolodny said.

When the drive is too far, Kolodny will meet farmers mid way.

John Ubaldo delivers Berkshire bacon, eggs, and ducks from the Vermont border. The ducks were processed yesterday, so you can't get them any fresher.

Also, the price is less expensive than if they were bought from a store.

"I save a few dollars per pound going there, and when you're buying 100-200 pounds it makes sense," said Kolodny.

Having Kolodny is a luxury for the chefs. They now spend less time on the phone ordering food and more time cooking and creating.

The foods Kolodny buys can be used in a variety of ways. For example, Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez pickles ramps, while her husband, who's also a chef, grills them for a duck dish.

Food comes from the farm to table via a forager.


PRINT Restaurant

Blooming Hill Organic Farm