Farm to Table
The Farm to Table movement advocates for a sustainable approach to agriculture and dining. At its core, the Farm to Table philosophy recognizes that there is, quite simply, tremendous value to eating locally.
There are varying opinions about what constitutes "local" but most agree that it means purchasing within a 100-mile radius. With this in mind, "eating locally" quickly translates into support for local economies. By choosing to buy from local farms and businesses, these businesses thrive. Instead of buying plastic-wrapped supermarket produce that has been shipped in from far away, "buying local" provides the opportunity to know where our food actually comes from and, further, fosters a sense of connection to the community in which it has been grown. Beyond this, eating locally also yields a smaller eco-footprint and a diminished human impact on the environment. Farm-fresh produce is harvested when it's ripe and packed with nutrients, and doesn't need to be sprayed with life-prolonging chemicals to prepare it for long-distance travel by land or air. Less traveling distance means reduced fuel consumption and decreased air pollution.
Eating locally also means eating seasonally. Here in New England, we feel those seasonal rhythms more than someplace like California where the moderate climate permits year-round growing. Eating locally-grown seasonal foods will always mean superior flavor and quality, reminding us that some things really are "worth the wait." Contrast the flavor of a fresh, red, ripe tomato from the garden in late July to the flavor of a store-bought tomato in the middle of January. We believe that there's simply no comparison!
Beyond the notions of "localvore" and other food-related philosophies employed by Firebox lies a deeper commitment to community building. Since 1990, funding from the Melville Charitable Trust has focused it funding on supporting efforts to find and fight the causes of homelessness through the development of affordable and supportive housing and the creation of vibrant healthy communities. Over the past several years, the Trust has funded mission-related investments in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford, a community that historically suffers from poverty, lack of opportunity, and disinvestment. The Trust has embarked on a broad effort to improve the neighborhood infrastructure and to create opportunities for residents. Through real estate investments, new construction and program development, the work is beginning to have a strong impact on the surrounding community.
At the forefront of this work stands Firebox Restaurant. Since opening our doors in June 2007, our 125-seat restaurant has received press accolades from Gourmet magazine and the New York Times, and was named “Best Hartford Restaurant of 2009” by Connecticut magazine. The restaurant has exceeded original expectations, drawing visitors from the greater Hartford area into Frog Hollow, and emerging as the area leader in the farm-to-table movement. Additionally, our commitment to economic investment in Frog Hollow means that more than one third of the staff at Firebox are residents of the surrounding community. Firebox is positioned to remain financially self-sufficient with sound management practices and marketing to a growing customer base.
For some, the Farm to Table philosophy is a trend. For Firebox, it's at the core of who we are. We invite you to join us and taste the difference that "eating local" creates, and support the community in which we work, live, and invest.
SOME OF OUR FARMS
American Mussel Harvesters – RI: Shellfish company which grows, harvests, processes, ships, and markets live shellfish, including: mussels, oysters, clams and scallops
Baggott Farm – East Windsor: Corn, Squash and zucchini as well as other seasonal vegetables
Beckett’s Farm – Glastonbury: Beans, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, asparagus and heirloom tomatoes
Cato Corner – Colchester: cheese
Chaplin Farms – Chaplin: Apples, pears, peaches, plums and summer fruits
D’Artagnan: Local, organic and gourmet meats such as our chicken, and foie gras
Hartford Baking Co. – Hartford: Artisnal breads
Eaglewood Farm – Barkhamstead: We get our pork product here. All pork is raised humanely without antibiotics or byproduct
Farmer’s Cow –Mansfield: provide fresh milk and other dairy products such as half and half, heavy cream and ice cream
Four Mile River Farm – Old Lyme: ground beef, bone marrow, bones for stock, ribeye/ Delmonico steaks, briskets
Garmbardelli – Stonington: Stonington Fluke
Greszcyk Farms – New Hartford: potatoes, onions and other stored winter vegetables
Grow Hartford- Hartford Area: more than 35 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs
J. Foster – Avon/Simsbury: small batches our quality homemade ice cream, gelato, sorbetto, sherbet and frozen yogurt
Jones Apiary – Farmington: honey/ honey comb
MarWin Farm – New Hartford: Duck, American Guinea hog, quail
Roses Berry Farm – S. Glastonbury: seasonal produce from farmers market, heirloom tomatoes, various fruit
Sweet Acre Farm – Mansfield: chemical-free vegetables
Sepe Farm – Sandy Hook: lamb
Starlight Garden – Durham: greens, carrots, heirloom tomatoes
Stonington Seafood Harvesters: Bombster Sea Scallops, known for their top quality. They are never washed with chemicals or packed with water, they are caught on the boat and packed directly there. Known for their sweet, briny flavor.
Sweet Pea Farm – North Granby: feta cheese, goat cheese
Upper Forty Farm – Cromwell: Upper forty farm grows heirloom tomatoes every summer