You've probably heard of farm-to-table restaurants, but Foragers City Grocer is a grocery store that derives many of its products from its own farm labor. Rachel Wharton of Edible Manhattan Magazine filed the following report.
Foragers City Grocer is a market that lives up to its name.
Foragers stocks its shelves with carefully curated products from sour cherry jam to Montauk scallops to Spanish olive oil and purple radishes.
It was so hard to find farmers who would supply good local vegetables to a supermarket in the early days, the owners started their own farm. Now Foragers' eggs, herbs and greens make their way into the aisles stocking produce and prepared food.
"We said, we'll just have to do it ourselves," says co-owner Anna Castellani. "So we actually sold our property upstate, it was a little cabin, it was tiny, so that we could buy a larger plot so my husband could start growing."
Foragers also buys dairy and meat from their upstate neighbors, hiring butcher Terry Ragasa to create sausages, house made hams, bacon and pastrami and to cut meat to order.
"It's all raised relatively locally and they're actually friends of people who own the place," Ragasa says. "If you have a problem with the meat, you can go right over and talk to the farmer and they'll let you know what you can do better next time."
Beyond the rotisserie and the salad bar, Foragers foods also supply a bonafide restaurant run by San Francisco chef Douglas Monsalud. The place marries Forager products with his Cal-Asian food, like a Southeast style pork chop that uses the Red Wattle pigs hanging in the butcher shop yards away.
"It's kind of a heritage cut, kind of like a T-bone," Monsalud says. "It has kind of a Vietnamese caramel that we infuse with local lemon verbena. It's like spring's last hurrah."
Speaking of hurrahs, save the date for Edible's Eat Drink Local restaurant week, which begins June 23.