Seasonal menus and the farm-to-table movement play a big role in Capitol Hill’s rich food and drink scene. The New York Times recently paid a visit to Vashon Island farmer Kurt Timmermeister whose Capitol Hill restaurant helped finance the “farm-to-table pioneer’s” start:
As Mr. Timmermeister learned to clear and work his land, hoping, at first, just to grow a few vegetables, he kept his restaurant in the city, shuttling home at night to his tiny chicken coop and its wood-burning stove. In 1994, he traded his cafe for a larger establishment with 120 seats, 25 employees and about $1.5 million in annual sales.
That shift was a game-changer, he said. Its scale required cooking a tremendous amount of food, industrial-agribusiness products like Cryovac-ed pork loins and cases of pale, slippery chicken breasts. That process, cooking slick and slimy proteins, so revolted Mr. Timmermeister that he found himself unable to eat in his own restaurant. He vowed to not only grow his own food, but make a profit from it.
Paradoxically, it was the restaurant that financed the farm while he found his feet. In 2004, he sold the restaurant, which meant for the next five years, he didn’t have to make any money from the farm. The restaurant was sold on contract, and his netted a $4,000 monthly check.
The farmer — and author — will appear at First Hill’s Town Hall on January 9th in a conversation with the Stranger’s Dan Savage about Timmermeister’s new book, Growing a Feast: The Chronicle of a Farm-to-Table Meal:
When local restaurant legend Kurt Timmermeister bought his Vashon Island farm in 1991, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. He later sold Cafe Septieme to focus on the farm full-time–as chronicled in his popular book, Growing a Farmer. Now celebrating his love of local, delicious ingredients and the people who provide them, Timmermeister assembles locally-grown milk, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms into a single meal, the story behind Growing a Feast: The Chronicle of a Farm-to-Table Meal.
He’ll appear in conversation with Dan Savage, journalist, author and Editorial Director for The Stranger.
Presented by: Town Hall as part of the Arts & Culture series, with Elliott Bay Book Company. Sponsored by City Arts.
Doors open: 6:30 p.m.