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560 Miles, 14 Farms, and Three Days Living Off the Land

Carolyn Alburger | June 7, 2013 | Story Restaurants

Just days ago, Yaron Milgrom and chef Jake DesVoignes returned from an extended road trip with key staff from their Mission District restaurants: Local’s Corner and Local: Mission Eatery. They were on a mission to demystify the local farms that supply the restaurant: to meet the owners, smell the produce, experience the grit, and live off the land in the truest way they could. Here, Milgrom shares a brief essay reflecting on the experience, while sharing a behind-the-scenes look at their experience via the photo gallery above.

"There are many merits to culinary localism, and I endorse them all. Yet it is our relationships to the sources of our food that have been most fulfilling in our uncompromising commitment to providing locally made food. It is the deep, human connection with the farmers, winemakers, cheesemakers, and ranchers on whom we rely. Jake and I have been fortunate to forge friendships with these great artisans and to visit some of them. Our stories and pictures were not enough to compel a staff (nor you, the reader, I am sure) to dedicate their craft to local and Local. So, to share this experience, Jake and I organized a three-day, RV tour—to see from where our food comes, to connect to those who make it, to deepen our appreciation of the integrity of their product and the care in their labor.

On Sunday morning, we piled into a twenty-seven-foot RV without food or drink and headed north. On Tuesday afternoon, a 540-mile loop later, satiated by the tastes of cucumbers and new potatoes, briny oysters and ripe cheese, milk-fed goat and pastured chicken, sun-warmed berries and honest and lovely wine, by the scents of dew-soaked grape vines and smoky embers, sweet whey and rich manure, by the places and stories of Jessie, Barb, Lisa, Julie, Rory, Hardy, Toby, Andy, and Kyle we returned to the Mission, reinvested in our local mission."

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