10 St. Louis Restaurants Growing Their Own Food
|Five Bistro | Anthony Devoti|
Five Bistro (5100 Daggett Avenue; 314-773-5553)
Chef-owner Anthony Devoti started the garden behind Five Bistro a couple of years ago with the intention of growing herbs, lettuce and tomatoes for his family. After the first year, he acquired additional land from a neighbor, expanded the garden and began growing crops for the restaurant. This spring, the garden was re-created in the back yard of his new home down the street. This "victory garden" features vegetables, herbs and flowers. The spring harvest included radishes, berries, kale, lettuce and herbs. So far, the summer season has yielded green beans, zucchini and squash. The tomatoes have just stared to ripen, and the cucumbers and melons are starting to produce fruit. Devoti includes one appetizer and salad made entirely from the garden every day at the restaurant, such as: roasted "Calima" green beans with "breakfast" radish chanterelle mushrooms and Missouri pecans; raw "Striata d'Italia" zucchini salad with crispy kale and Parmigiano-Reggiano; black raspberry sorbet; bok choy kimchi; roasted onion with green onion gnocchi and onion puree; and scarlet radish salad with deviled chicken eggs and crispy pork jowl.
Quincy Street Bistro | Rick Lewis
Quincy Street Bistro (6931 Gravois Avenue; 314-353-1588)
Chef Rick Lewis of Quincy Street Bistro started his 50-by-150-feet garden in 2006 to support the restaurant's kitchen and his family in the large green space behind his house. Located just fifteen minutes away from the restaurant, it provides about a third of the produce used by Quincy Street Bistro during the spring, summer and fall seasons. All plants are grown from seeds planted as soon as the ground has thawed enough to work in a thick layer of compost, horse manure and fish emulsion. Crops are then staggered into three planting seasons to maximize harvests. Currently, Lewis is growing watermelons, radishes, beets, baby turnips, Thumbelina carrots, Chinese broccoli, kale, collard greens, sweet and hot peppers, bell peppers, assorted heirloom and hybrid tomatoes, sweet corn, okra, watermelons, cucumbers, pole beans, French beans, wax beans, black eyed peas, lima beans, Italian eggplant, patty pan squash, Italian zucchini, buttercup squash, red onions, Walla Walla sweet onions, basil, chives, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and several varieties of pumpkins. He is also growing perennials, such as strawberries, asparagus, peaches, apples, figs and cherries. Two bee hives were added last year and are expected to yield ten gallons of honey this year. Lewis even uses the bee wax by mixing it with mineral oil to oil the restaurant's wood cutting boards. Next summer's plans include chickens for eggs and a rhubarb patch.
Winslow's Home | Ann Sheehan
Winslow's Home (7213 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-7559)
Winslow's Farm is a five-acre organic (not certified) farm located 35 miles west of St. Louis in Augusta, and it is in its eighth growing season. Owner Ann Sheehan Lipton started the farm fourteen years ago, intending to grow a cash crop such as native medicinal herbs, but after opening Winslow's Home in 2008, she decided to focus on crops for the restaurant. This was before the "farm to table" movement had caught on, so there was no organized distribution network that directly connected restaurants to farmers. Before Winslow's Home was opened, all produce was sold at local farmers' markets and a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Now, Winslow's Home chef Wil Fernandez-Cruz is offered first dibs and the rest is sold in the grocery at Winslow's Home. Harvests are done twice weekly and delivered throughout the growing season. The farm produces a large variety of squash, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, onions, herbs, carrots, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatillos, asparagus, herbs, flowers, blackberries, strawberries, apples, cherries and peaches.