Reader: Farm-to-table is not a sales tool, it's a freaking movement!

Categories: Cafe Society

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Lori Midson
TJ Hobbs at Ghost Plate & Tap.
TJ Hobbs, who now heads the kitchen at Ghost Plate & Tap, was raised in rural Minnesota, and his first job was working on an organic farm -- so he understands the farm-to-table concept. And he'd like to see the "farm to table" moniker disappear in 2013. "Not the use of local farmed products, but just the saying," he explains. "We should all be trying to buy and support local and seasonal products as much as possible, but that phrase is being totally overused."

Not according to one reader:

See also:
- Chef and Tell with TJ Hobbs, chef of Ghost Plate & Tap
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Says cheese.cole:

I'm sorry, this pisses me off to no end. I'm sorry the term "farm to table" has lost its MARKETING power for you. That it doesn't SELL food the way it did last year. You, sir, are THE problem in my industry. This should have never been a marketing's too important. We aren't espousing the merits of Farm to Table just to jump on a popular bandwagon! Or to sell more covers in a night. The TERM is important because it associates the two in the general public's mind. And that STILL hasn't set (go to any chain and see). The term exists as a vehicle to associate two interconnected things that have sadly been forgotten.

I live very close to Delta County, where much of the good food is grown in Colorado, and I can see it plain as day.... since the coining of that term, not only have the jaded, self-important shlock chefs become MORE than rock stars today but our farmers have become rock stars, too (and that's the way it should be). And that matters more than your marketing budget, my friend: It's not a sales tool, it's a freaking MOVEMENT.

I have always taken that very seriously; it's a shame so many of our "rock star" chefs have forgotten that in the span of a year. Maybe they should have never trumpeted that principle even with Sysco and Shamrock Foods trucks parked at their back door; maybe the "term" wouldn't have lost its importance...maybe the people who hear/read it wouldn't think it's a joke or a ploy...maybe those same rock star chefs, maybe they'd save a little face now while losing their precious "movements" in the flashy reflection from their own swollen egos.

What do you think of Colorado's farm-to-table movement? Post your thoughts below -- and watch for the second installment of TJ Hobbs's Chef and Tell interview later this morning.

Location Info

Ghost Plate & Tap - CLOSED

800 18th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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WillieStortz topcommenter

Exactly how does one extol the principles of farm to table while promoting the agriculture of an arid wasteland like Delta County? It takes more irrigated water, energy and fertilizer to overcome the natural drought conditions of Delta County than almost anywhere in the country. The concept of farm to table is about conservation, and reducing energy usage, not massive irrigation and damning of rivers.

This deflated airbag of a poster needs to get a clue.


@WillieStortz .... Excellent point. To be fair I was not even considering the environmental aspect. Living so close to the farmers I work with everyday, I see the hard work and the passion these people put in and feel passionate about the connection to the restaurant industry. While much of the farming on the western slope is tied to irrigation. I can't take an attack on that seriously while there are still golf courses and the incessant "rainy day spriklering" that goes on in the sprawl of the suburban metro area. these people work harder than you can imagine with less than they need to get the job done and most are doing it right. That matters. In the article it is mentioned that it's silly because it should just be the standard and that IS the truth of the matter, but we are not there yet and having a respected, talented chef with the spotlight on him and he chooses to call the term out as a ploy or some passed phrase, it damages it for those of us still using it and meaning it. I work hard to bring this philosophy to my customers and they are avid Westword readers so this matters to me. It effects me professionally and personally. I do see your point about the environmental side though, and would not recommend that a chef on the Front Range buy his veg. from the Western Slope but does source it closer to their own establishment... but that doesn't alter my original point.

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