“Last year we had way more produce than we could use, so this year, we tried to scale back a little bit to hit the sweet spot a little more closely.”
Meet George Weld, the owner/chef of Egg, a friendly, neighborhood restaurant in Brooklyn, New York focusing on farm-to-table southern cuisine. At Egg, the word “comfort” isn’t taken lightly, and diners who want a taste of the South done authentically and simply know to come, and keep coming back here. They’ve got homemade buttermilk biscuits & gravy, heaping servings of the tastiest grits, juicy fried chicken, Carolina kale, pulled pork, hot ham, pimento cheese and, of course, eggs, lots of eggs. Up until three years ago, the restaurant worked closely with local farmers to provide the fresh produce featured on their seasonal menus. Now, they are able to provide almost all the vegetables they need for their dishes from their own 6-acre farm, Goatfell Farm, located 2.5 hours from the restaurant in upstate New York – a personal, passion project that George had been thinking about for many years.
George bought and started Goatfell Farm because he wanted to reconnect to land and agriculture, a relationship he recalls from childhood, but lost through the many years of city life. For him, it’s not a vanity project, it’s a project where he feels the restaurant can make a real difference in not only providing wholesome food to his customers, but in providing education to himself and his staff on the difficulties and rewards of food production. And, farming his own land hasn’t been easy, George says, “I think what I learned since we started doing it, both, that it’s really hard, and that people who decide to run big, successful produce operations are geniuses.”
Does he think all restaurants should have a farm? No. He doesn’t believe it’s morally superior to having a restaurant that doesn’t have a farm. It’s just something George wanted to do and had to do because of his desire to have a closer relationship to food. As you’ll see from the story, it’s taught him enough to know that this is the start of something he plans to keep doing for decades – not only at Egg, but in a new farm-to-table restaurant he’s planning.
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