Phil Mc Grath! As a fifth generation farmer, farming policy advocate, and very good friend of ours, it comes with great pleasure to drive up to Phil’s house and share dinner with he and his wife Joanne. Remember five years ago when I talked about my dad picking up produce for our kitchen directly from Mc Grath Farm in Ventura? He still goes up there once a week, and we have all become great friends in the process.
Before we left, we ordered a drop-off from our Seasonal Menu for March (see more from our March Menu here and here), and made sure the menu was heavy on produce from their farm so they can see how our kitchen is transforming their beautiful goods. Once there and eating, I wasted no time to engage Phil in talks of his struggles like how industrial farming dominates the area around his 300 acres, and how awesome Laura Avery from Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is because she ensures that her market is filled only with authentic farmers who grow what they sell. We also spoke about the perils of mono-cropping (in Ventura it’s all lemons and avocados), and of course drought. This is all just to say that Phil, like any small farmer, is deeply committed to maintaining the integrity of our food system and so is faced with many challenges, both political and practical. It’s up to the rest of us to keep honest farmers like him in business.
JF Organic Farm Red Bell Pepper Salad
with Rutiz Farm Baby Broccoli, Herb Marinated Feta Cheese, Red & White Endive Spears, McGrath Farm Arugula & Lemon, and Fat Uncle Farms Almonds
Mc Grath Farm Beet Garganelli
with Roasted McGrath Farm Carrots, Caramelized Jimenez Farm Winter Squash, Carrot Puree & Braised Greens Finished with House Made Whipped Ricotta and Pumpkin Seeds
Glazed Mc Grath Farm Carrots
with JF Organic Farm Watercress & Turnips, Maple and Thyme
Two Peas in a Pod Farm Lima Beans
McGrath Farm Peas & Pea Tendrils With Rich Meyer Lemon & Chipotle Emulsion, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and JF Organic Farm Grilled Leeks
For dessert, our pastry chef made a special Strawberry Pie with all those gorgeous strawberries Mc Grath Farms is so famous for.
Photos: Yolk & Flour