Straight from the farm to the Bistro
Tina Nordan's goal is for her restaurant to get as much of its food and ingredients from local sources as possible.
She has found that can sometimes be a challenge.
"There’s no way we’re ever going to get 100 percent. Nobody can be 100 percent farm-to-table,” Nordan said. “I mean, consider the spices that you use, you know?”
Since switching to a "farm-to-table" menu July 1 for her restaurant, The Wine Cellar & Bistro in downtown Lenoir, she has managed to get about 40 percent of what she needs from within 50 miles of Lenoir, and her goal by the end of the summer is 60 to 70 percent.
Farm-to-table is a movement focused on locally produced food, which is fresher, more flavorful and healthier than food grown with the intention that it will be shipped long distances. Farm-to-table advocates also argue for the economic benefits of supporting local agriculture.
Nordan said her plan since opening the bistro in 2007 was to pursue a farm-to-table menu.
“Originally, my whole business plan here was to be the healthy option in town, which I think I’ve kind of done,” Nordan said. “Farm-to-table is taking it a little closer to home.”
So far, she has secured fruit, vegetables and egg vendors and is working on obtaining beef from a farm in Granite Falls.
“I’m still baby-stepping my way, but so far, it’s been great. If I can’t obtain my goal within the 50-mile radius of the restaurant, what I hope to do is at least keep it within the state of North Carolina,” Nordan said. “The resources at my fingertips are just wonderful, numerous, too numerous for me to be able to use all of.”
In addition to the new menu, the restaurant has a new head chef, Katy Kirby, a graduate of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s culinary arts program.
"You have all this trepidation going into something, and you just get overwhelmed in the beginning, but you give it a couple of weeks, and everything’s kind of toning down a little bit, and everybody’s kind of getting used to it,” Nordan said. “And, like I knew she would, Katy is just shining and taking it all in stride."