Farm to Table: White Oak’s Growing Garden
Since the beginning of my culinary career 5 years ago I’ve been a big supporter of the Farm-to-Table movement. I grew up in a small Midwestern town where we relied heavily on the local farmers for everything from produce, to milk, to meat, and I’ve always been drawn to companies that operate under that philosophy. When I moved back to the area from Dallas in October and stumbled across the job posting for White Oak, it was the perfect match. I’d heard about the property before and did a little research and was ecstatic to receive the job offer less than a week after applying.
There’s something very satisfying about being able to tell our guests that most of the items on their plate began in our modest garden, and although we aren’t completely self-sustainable yet, we’ve got a great start. I drive past the garden every morning on my way to the café and although it was here before I was, there’s a sense of personal pride that I work for a company that cares so much about the quality of the food that we serve that they decided we should be responsible for it in every stage, from planting, to harvesting, to the perfect seasoning and plate presentation.
In the future we hope to be able to operate almost entirely on produce grown on property, and we’re always looking for newer and better techniques for tending to our crops, as well as new varieties to plant. I’m personally hoping to be able to have some edible lavender and roses planted soon, as well as some exotic fruits so I can really step up my flavor game in the pastry department! I’m looking forward to the day I can present a dessert sourced almost entirely from the efforts and skills of the talented staff here at White Oak.
– Carmen Staudenmaier, Pastry Chef