‘Farm-to-table pioneer’ with Capitol Hill roots to appear at Town Hall

farmSeasonal 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.

Timmermeister sold his Capitol Hill restaurant back in 2004. In late 2009, CHS reported on the final days of Cafe Septieme on Broadway before it made way for the Lyric building that stands today.

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.
Tickets: $5
Doors open: 6:30 p.m.

2 thoughts on “‘Farm-to-table pioneer’ with Capitol Hill roots to appear at Town Hall

  1. I don’t know who bought Café Septieme from Mr. Timmermeister in 2004, but for whoever it was it must have been kind of a financial disaster. In its last few years, the place went downhill in quality and as a result it was often devoid of customers. But the new owner would have had to continue contracted payments to Mr. Timmermeister, and also pay rent to a landlord. If I remember correctly, Café Septieme closed because of this, not because of the Lyric development.

  2. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Replacing a neighborhood favorite, Traveler Montlake moves in (kid pit moves out) | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle