Eating local can be expensive, but it does not have to be, Garfrerick said, noting that the cafe’s lunch menu offers dishes for less than $10.
Using locally grown food allows Garfrerick to prepare specialized dishes. Things like small squash blossoms do not do well on a commercial scale because they require a lot of attention, he explained.
“We want people to know where their food comes from,” Garfrerick said, pointing toward pictures of vegetables on the farm inside the cafe. “They can see how it’s cooked. We always try to educate them on where their food comes from.”
One of Garfrerick’s most popular seasonal items is the tomato salad — red tomatoes stacked three slices high, layered with corn and peas marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette and topped with goat cheese and aioli sauce. Customers start asking when the tomato salad will be added to the menu in April and May, Garfrerick said.
Even though the tomatoes aren’t ready until mid-summer, it’s a process that starts in January when the seeds are planted in a greenhouse on Garfrerick’s farm. The seedlings are transplanted to the ground in April in one of four one-acre gardens, which are rotated each year to allow one garden to rest to prevent insects, fungus and disease.
“Rows are planted eight feet apart,” Garfrerick said. “The rows run north and south so both sides get sun to dry out.”
Planting the tomatoes with space and access to allow ample sunshine makes the the fruit less prone to disease, Garfrerick said adding that the tomatoes are watered at ground level instead of from above, which also helps prevent fungus and disease.
Garfrerick said it takes approximately 100 tomatoes a day to make the variety of tomato-based dishes he serves.
“We continue to plant through the summer until mid-August,” he said.