Rut’s Happening: Farm-to-Table Gets Boring
Has farm-to-table dining jumped the locally trawled shark?
Okay, Iâ€™ll be the first to give locavorism props. Itâ€™s taught us to favor smaller producers, to consider the carbon impact of jet-setting foodstuffs, to embrace peaches picked at the height of summer. But as farm-to-table morphs from discrete restaurant category to baseline practice, Iâ€™ve wondered if the pendulum has swung too far. Because frankly, Iâ€™m starting to get bored.
I love peak-season tomatoes. Which is different from saying I love eating only tomatoes, for every meal, during September. See the nuance? And now that itâ€™s fall, you can bet your butternut bisque that pumpkins, winter squash, and the rest of the cucurbitaceous clan will find themselves shoehorned onto every menu in town: â€śTonight, Chefâ€™s doing a pumpkin-stuffed turban squash topped with local pepitas and a house-carved jack-oâ€™-lantern gastrique.â€ť Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with submitting a vegetable to the death-by-chocolate approachâ€”except, that is, when every eatery on the block is doing it, too. By midmonth, mark my words, Iâ€™ll be begging for one tiny hit of Peruvian asparagus, as Cinderellaâ€™s Coach Syndrome sets in.
It was once a badge of honor to serve an exotic morsel you couldnâ€™t simply pluck from a farmstand bin. Now treating any ingredient as â€śperennialâ€ť has become a badge of shameâ€”the foodie equivalent of wearing white after Labor Day. Sometimes this is smart. Winter peach pie? Culinary foul. But itâ€™s a pity to expunge perfectly lovely items for appearancesâ€™ sakeâ€”not every asparagus plate owes its magic to the ethereal complexities of Hadley terroir.
Nor should it, because thanks to specialty markets like Siena Farms, I have access to much of the same produce chefs do. In fact, chances are I spent all day at home shoving heirloom gourds into Pyrex for some looming holiday feast. When I dine out, Iâ€™m looking for more. Got anything else back there?
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2013/10/29/gastronaut-farm-to-table-boring/