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Podcast 229 - The HerbFarm Restaurant, $586  RSS feed

 
Adrien Lapointe
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Summary

Credit: Susan McGuinness

Paul goes with Jocelyn to research a restaurant, The Herbfarm, in Woodinville, Washington. They had a 9 course dinner composed of a set menu, which changes frequently and uses fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, and cost $586 for two. This research was undertaken in order to understand better ‘how to make the big bucks in Permaculture’, one of the many Permaculture issues it is Paul’s mission to explore in depth.

It was a serious foodie experience. The level of food, service and information about it all seemed to delight both Paul and Jocelyn.

They both said that what they learned suggested not only the potential of recognizing the value of Permaculture food but also about creating various markets, not limited to but including such innovative, luxurious restaurants.

Relevant Links

Podcast 229 - Gourmet Restaurant Experience

The Herbfarm Website

Podcast 009 - Making the big bucks with permaculture, part 1 of 3
Podcast 010 - Making the big bucks with permaculture, part 2 of 3
Podcast 011 - Making the big bucks with permaculture, part 3 of 3
Making the big bucks with permaculture Thread at Permies
Is permaculture economically viable? Thread at Permies
Farm Income Forum at Permies

Salmon-Nettle Soup with All Native Ingredients Video
Nettle Lasagna Made from Stinging Nettles - How to Recipe Video

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Jocelyn Campbell
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And just so folks know: when I said "magnolia" I meant "madrona!" Sheesh.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Lol, I was wondering. I thought there was a special variety of Magnolia with bark that peeled.

Here is what the bark looks like:


It reminds me a bit of paper birch. I wonder if you can make tea from paper birch bark...
 
Gerald Benard
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Another great podcast Paul and Jocelyn!

I've had one meal like that in my lifetime and have never forgotten it. It is worth what people will pay for it. Wouldn't you want to run a restaurant that served all permaculture polyculture 15+ food for $750/meal? Even better yet, your idea to charge $200 for an exquisite permaculture meal. This is something that requires momentum. As more people understand permaculture, more will be willing to pay for it.

Farmers making $500K per year on modest acreage practicing permaculture will create a flood of people who build soil, grow healthy food, and attact other people to the movement. It takes a lot of up front energy to learn and practice permaculture with the payback from hardscaping and perennial systems in the years to come.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone with lots of time and no money, an 18 year old high school graduate. You have to decide how to put your time to the best use. If you find out permaculture farmers can do the right thing and make $500K, wouldn't that be a very attractive proposition? What if, instead, you find out you can be a permaculture farmer and make $10K per year and have no resources to grow your skills, teach others, or add more land under your stewardship? What is more likely to attract young, energetic talent? If you count only on the altruistic, permaculture will be a small footnote in the history of the productive use of land. Momentum will be built by attracting people through surplus (yes, profit).





 
Julia Winter
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Thanks for the podcast! As a "foodie" I heartily approve. My profession is medicine, but I put almost as much time into the food that I feed myself and my family, for so many different reasons. My parents visited us not long after we'd taken delivery of a pastured hog and lamb, and marveled at the effort I put into making my own sausage. Why bother? Of course, once they had some of my lamb/pork sausage with crystallized ginger, dried apricot and cranberries they got a small clue. I can't decide which is more important: the incredible flavor of the food, or the purity/wholesomeness of the food. They go together, I think.

I have never been to such a high-end restaurant, but I have been to some very nice places, and I recognize that once you get to a certain price point, you really are paying for the service and the guarantee of quality. I think you could have a destination restaurant on a permaculture property that could be very successful, especially if you can find the right chef. I hope to get to HerbFarm some day.

The "leftovers to the pigs" thing is interesting to me. I thought from reading Walter Jeffries' blog that it's not safe to give restaurant plate scrapings to pigs because they can catch things like influenza from humans, and then the illness can cause much more trouble than the "free" food is worth. I suppose in this case it is just two potbelly pigs, and if one gets ill he/she will be pampered back into health.

(I used to wonder out loud why every restaurant didn't have it's own pigs to feed the plate scrapings and waste food. In med school I was a server in a high end restaurant and boy is there a lot of wasted food! Now I think vermiculture may be the way to go. Worms don't catch colds from us.)
 
Adrien Lapointe
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That story reminded me of this restaurant in Northwestern Sweden where they only sit 12 people and, if I remember correctly, serve only food that was harvested on the premise or in the area.

Here is the link to the article

The chef, Magnus Nilsson, also has a book called Fäviken that is available here:

Amazon.com
Powell's
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk
 
John Redman
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Im not able to listen to the podcast (even with my VIP card,usually I have to go to richsoil.com and click on the download button and not the play button. The link I have doesn't give me an option. I'm using an iPhone if that matters. Not complaining, just wanted to let you tech guys know.

 
Adrien Lapointe
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@Paul: I sent you a PM about this.
 
Cj Sloane
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Julia Winter wrote:... marveled at the effort I put into making my own sausage. Why bother? Of course, once they had some of my lamb/pork sausage with crystallized ginger, dried apricot and cranberries they got a small clue.


Those sausages sound great! Can you post or pm me the recipe? My Tamworth pigs were slaughtered 2 weeks ago and I just pulled some home grown ground lamb out of the freezer but I wasn't sure what I was going to make so this must be a sign!

I'm a huge foodie too and I have to say I'd rather do the work raising the animals & growing the food than part with the money! For dinner I had bacon I cured myself (1st time!) and it was tasty + super satisfying. OK, the chicken I slaughtered yesterday and potatoes from the garden rounded out the satisfaction!
 
Julie Anderson
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:And just so folks know: when I said "magnolia" I meant "madrona!" Sheesh.


I was going to ask about that. Based on the description I was thinking madrone. We foraged for that and made madrone tea when I was a teen at camp.

Julie
 
Julie Anderson
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I listened to the podcast yesterday. I found the description of the dining experience to be interesting, but it's probably not something I would be willing to pay for. I do however seek out Farm to Fork restaurants wherever I travel. The best ones are where the menu is decided on daily and the menu is then printed. I've had some FABULOUS dining experiences doing this.

I am in the process of being absorbed into the hive mind by listening to all the podcasts. I also attended Paul's Making the Big Bucks in Permaculture lecture at the Petaluma Seed Bank. The main take away I had from this podcast was that this very successful business was grown by people who were doing things they love to support themselves monetarily. It started with growing herbs, and gradually different things like making sauces and chutnies were added. As more and more functions were layered (cooking education, etc.) gradually the business that is The Herb Farm evolved.

I recently listened to another podcast where the recommendation to pursue doing things you love and the money will follow was discussed. This was the one with the woman who grows and creates things from lavendar who was making more per acre than her partner who was growing corn.

I'm at a time in my life where I am working on the next reinvention of myself. I've begun converting my suburban home into a poly culture food forest. It's been very enjoyable for me to go out in the front yard and forage around for dinner greens. We have one hugelkultur going in the back yard, and another under construction. We haven't had to buy any veggies since July. I have successfully established Cilantro and nasturtiums as weeds in my yards. My three year plan is to be debt free so we can move to a larger, more rural property. In the mean time, I'm learning a lot and having fun doing it.

Thank you for all the podcasts and for all your efforts to infect the world with Permaculture. It's worked on me. I'm working on my husband (who also heard you in Petaluma).

As a WAPF member, I picked up on the teaser about recording a podcast with sally fallon Morell. I know that I will really enjoy that one!

Julie

 
Alex Ojeda
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Great Podcast as usual! What I would be interested in going to would be a restaurant that is serving Permaculture Grown food in recipes that date back 200 years and more. I'd LOVE to be able to go to a restaurant and order anything on the menu. As it is, I can't go out and order anything with confidence. I can't be excited about Toxic and Deficient veggies, anything fried in GMO vegetable oil or anything that contains a GMO fed animal product. It's a shame.

I didn't hear in the podcast, but was this food organically grown at the very least?

I am very interested in the idea that the people knew the names of the guests and treated them all like VIPs, but that's also a bit creepy to me. Am I being paranoid?

Love the Podcasts!
 
Alex Ojeda
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Alex Ojeda wrote:Great Podcast as usual! What I would be interested in going to would be a restaurant that is serving Permaculture Grown food in recipes that date back 200 years and more. I'd LOVE to be able to go to a restaurant and order anything on the menu. As it is, I can't go out and order anything with confidence. I can't be excited about Toxic and Deficient veggies, anything fried in GMO vegetable oil or anything that contains a GMO fed animal product. It's a shame.

I didn't hear in the podcast, but was this food organically grown at the very least?

I am very interested in the idea that the people knew the names of the guests and treated them all like VIPs, but that's also a bit creepy to me. Am I being paranoid?

Love the Podcasts!


HA! I'm quoting myself? Sheesh

We have a restaurant here that is all organic. It's called Present Moments Café and it's in the Nation's oldest city of St. Augustine. It's a great place. Everything they have is RAW and vegan, but you don't walk out of there feeling anything less than amazed. If anyone's in Jacksonville, look me up and we'll go down there! It's a wee bit expensive and I need an excuse. It's about 45 minute drive from us here. I have a couch you can sleep on too. Not just ANY couch either!
 
Julia Winter
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Sorry for the delay in my reply--happy holidays, everyone!

The lamb sausage recipe came from the Cole Ward butchering DVD, which I highly recommend. He covers beef, lamb and pork, from primal cuts to cooking.

Here is my record of what I used:

Almost 5 lbs lamb
1 + lbs pork fat, with a little pork meat--it totaled a little over 6 lbs
more than 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into dice
more than 1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbspns candied ginger, chopped into small dice
40 g sea salt
a handful of fresh flat parsley leaves (recipe called for 1 1/2 Tbspn parsley flakes)
2 tspn ground black pepper
3/4 cup cider and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (the recipe called for 1/2 cup white wine)


I cut the meat into chunks, pulling any thick bits of connective tissue off, while it was half frozen. I cut the fat into dice. I mixed in the spices and let the meat sit in the freezer in the giant bowl while I chopped the fruit. I mixed in the fruit and parsley and ran it all through the grinder. After grinding, I added the liquid and mixed it in gently, then stuffed the casings.

If you don't have a sausage stuffer, this is delicious as patties.
 
Cj Sloane
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Julia Winter wrote:
The lamb sausage recipe came from the Cole Ward butchering DVD, which I highly recommend.


I took a hog slaughtering workshop with Cole last year and he was a great teacher. I convinced my local sheep group to purchase his lamb butchering DVD and someone promptly lost it.
 
Julia Winter
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We downloaded the content from his website because we needed the videos right then, for the meat that had arrived!!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Julie, that recipe looks wonderful!

Alex Ojeda wrote:Great Podcast as usual! What I would be interested in going to would be a restaurant that is serving Permaculture Grown food in recipes that date back 200 years and more. I'd LOVE to be able to go to a restaurant and order anything on the menu.


There's a restaurant here - Bors Hede Inne - that uses medieval-style recipes for a medieval faire, though it's open all year.


Unfortunately, I haven't been (yet?) and don't know if their food is grown without chemicals or GMOs. I just think the food style (click the link for a sample menu) might be a bit similar to what you're looking for.

Alex Ojeda wrote:I didn't hear in the podcast, but was this food organically grown at the very least?


The Herb Farm grows most all, if not all, their own produce at a farm just down the valley. It might not be certified organic, but definitely organic practices. Then, of course, they wildcraft quite a bit, and locally source as much meat, wine and other items as they can.

Alex Ojeda wrote:I am very interested in the idea that the people knew the names of the guests and treated them all like VIPs, but that's also a bit creepy to me. Am I being paranoid?


I don't think you're being paranoid. The thing is, I am not used to being treated as a VIP, so normally I would think it would feel creepy, or smarmy or just too much myself. The way these folks handled it, handled us, however, was completely comfortable and felt genuine and down to earth. Almost as if it was a part of how they enjoy operating or enjoy creating a unique experience. I think Paul and I were both surprised at what a difference that made.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:


That story reminded me of this restaurant in Northwestern Sweden where they only sit 12 people and, if I remember correctly, serve only food that was harvested on the premise or in the area.

Here is the link to the article

The chef, Magnus Nilsson, also has a book called Fäviken that is available here:

Amazon.com
Powell's
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk


Great story, Adrien--and yes, it does sound similar. Ah, the joy of stellar food!
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote: Great story, Adrien--and yes, it does sound similar. Ah, the joy of stellar food!


Totally agree! we should start a thread on permaculturesque/organic restaurant experiences. I have a few from Atlanta, GA.

I now own Magnus' book, so I'll have to post more information as I read it (slowly: my days are pretty full). The portion on aging meat is extremely interesting. If I recall correctly (I should run and look at the book), he ages some cuts for up to 8 months! No freezer involved, and his restaurant meets the EU standards!
 
Adrien Lapointe
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The podcast is now available to everybody. Enjoy!

P.S.: I am now opening Paul's show. On my way to stardom!
 
Alex Ojeda
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:The podcast is now available to everybody. Enjoy!

P.S.: I am now opening Paul's show. On my way to stardom!


Awesome Adrien! Looking forward to hearing you
 
samiam kephart
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podcast doesnt open
 
Mariamne Ingalls
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Hi Samiam-

Hmmm.... I'm able to get to the podcast AOK.

Here's 2 things to try:
1. When you click on the podcast, does a new web browser window or tab open, that you haven't noticed, yet? That's the way mine works: a new tab opens on the browser, but I have to notice that it's there, and click on the new tab.
2. If that doesn't work, here's a link to the URL that opens for me, on that new tab in my web browser:

http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/2500-podcast-229-gourmet-restaurant-experience/

Perhaps clicking on that link will work for you.

Good luck and Happy New Year!
Mariamne
 
John Saltveit
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Good podcast,
Great to have you back, Paul.
My wife and I really don't go out to eat much. She is such a good cook and we can grow really good food permaculture style. It's almost never worth it. I'm sure the food is better at the super high end restaurant, but we've gone to a couple like that. We find that the food is 5% better than at home but $100 per plate more. Generally not worth it to us. We're middle class. When you've got kids too, it makes it much less worth it.

I love the idea of talking about what is worth it, though. Something could be a great deal like that if you make a lot of money, or if you aren't good cooks, or it is certainly a good deal if you can run a restaurant like that.
John S
PDX OR
 
Adrien Lapointe
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samiam,

I think it is better if we take the discussion to a separate thread.

Your post was moved to a new topic.
 
Garry Hoddinott
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This was one of the "less paul knows best" pods I have heard making it one of the best. He makes a much better communicator and host, than subject. Still, I avidly listen each week eager for more. Thanks P & J
 
paul wheaton
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Adrien Lapointe
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Here is a link to see it bigger.
 
John Saltveit
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Thanks for printing the recipe. I have made Douglas fir tea before and liked it.

One question I have is, "why would they cut the last 4-6 inches of Douglas fir needle tips?

How long do they think each needle is?

Is that the last 4-6 inches of the branch? So that wood is included in making the tea?
Thanks
John S
PDX OR
 
Julia Winter
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For Douglas Fir tea (or spruce tea, which is pretty much the same thing) you want just the bright green soft juicy new growth. The needles are short, so you're including the structure that holds them all together. I'm loathe to call that a twig, because it is not woody.

The point is that these evergreens put out new growth, full of nutrition like vitamin C, sooner than almost anything else. In that way they are like dandelions--something to get you rejuvenated after eating through all your stored food in the winter time.

Spruce tips make a syrup that is sour (and then sweet because you added sweetener like sugar or honey). I haven't tried freezing it into sorbet--I made beverages.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Julia Winter wrote:For Douglas Fir tea (or spruce tea, which is pretty much the same thing) you want just the bright green soft juicy new growth. The needles are short, so you're including the structure that holds them all together. I'm loathe to call that a twig, because it is not woody.

The point is that these evergreens put out new growth, full of nutrition like vitamin C, sooner than almost anything else. In that way they are like dandelions--something to get you rejuvenated after eating through all your stored food in the winter time.

Spruce tips make a syrup that is sour (and then sweet because you added sweetener like sugar or honey). I haven't tried freezing it into sorbet--I made beverages.


Julia, what a brilliant explanation - thank you!
 
Julia Winter
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Thanks to you, Jocelyn! Spruce tips are good to eat right off the tree--they taste the best immediately after they break from their brown papery covering. I heard about eating them last year on the Splendid Table podcast ( a public radio show that is based in Minneapolis) and was able to go outside and try some. I made a spruce tip infused syrup and we added carbonated water to it.
 
Robert Reid
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I listen to 1/2 this podcast on the way to work this morning.
Reminds me a great deal of the Australian TV show Gourmet Farmer. (I'm going to try and do a DVD review to post.)

On the TV show, they organize Paddock Long table suppers, where they invite local foodies for $185 a plate and serve all local food.
The TV show is good, because it shows some of the growing pains that happen when trying to organize events like this.
If the pasture gets rained on, will the barn hold enough people? If your cook area is away from the serving area, does the food have to cross any fences? Can the proper food be sourced locally?


Gourmet Farmer Series 1

Gourmet Farmer Series 2

I couldn't find a relevant clip of the show, but here is an interview with the host about the show.
 
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