Farm to table has been a pillar of operations at Reserve since its inception and for Luke VerHulst, our Executive Chef, it’s almost an afterthought. Why? Because every conversation about food at Reserve begins with one question: what’s in season right now? Below are a few ways our team is choosing to further engage in farm to table practices in 2022:
1) Support Up-and-Coming Farms
Reserve is excited to support a new wave of young farmers in 2022, allowing them the opportunity to establish themselves within the restaurant community. Chef Luke looks forward to developing personal relationships with vendors at markets like the Fulton Street Farmers Market and encouraging them to branch out and grow new vegetables that can be used in our exceptionally unique cuisine.
2) Grow More in Our Rooftop Garden
Reserve is also excited to continue growing produce in its rooftop garden. The team has experimented over the last few years and has found its niche in specialty herbs and flowers. The footprint of our rooftop garden is too small to produce fruits and vegetables, but many of the beautiful garnishes you see on our dishes and in our cocktails come from the roof above you. How cool!
3) Utilize Personal Gardens by Our Chefs
Chef Luke and Chef Claire both have personal gardens at their homes that they hope will produce and supply Reserve with both fruits and vegetables not readily available via local farmers. This year their focus is heirloom varieties. Dan Barber has had a huge influence on Chef Luke. The idea of having a personal connection to produce before it even enters the restaurant is very appealing to him and his team. Additionally, utilizing personal gardens also allows Reserve to offer items that don’t work at scale. Local farms can be too large to spend time picking tiny cucumbers that ripen on the vine in a matter of hours or hot peppers that don’t have an audience at a local farmers market. They have to hedge their bets at the beginning of a year, hoping everything they plant will make it to market. But, Chef Luke and Chef Claire can grow these items themselves, without the same concerns or obligations.
Farm to table restaurants are common within our little-big City of Grand Rapids and it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. But we’re ever-committed to this important movement and a front seat to the life cycles of certain plants helps us take that commitment to the next level. The opportunities are endless, we’re excited to see what the future holds!