PHILADELPHIA - The Food Farms & Chefs Model is an exciting way to use local food while incorporating sustainable practices into your menu. Farms operate on the limitations of nature and time, while restaurants must be flexible with their product availability.

Chefs are trained to utilize and process food and can often find a use for less-than-ideal products to save money. A good farmer-chef relationship is often personal and explicitly arranged, and clear communication benefits both parties. This relationship can turn farm waste into profit for a restaurant and help keep costs down. Below are some of our favorite Food farms and Chef stories who have made a mark in the culinary world.

John Lekic

Located in the shadow of the Walkway Over the Hudson, John Lekic's Farmers & Chefs is the perfect pit stop for bikers and hikers. The restaurant owner is a polymath who studied everything from blockchain to organic microgreen supplements to drone deliveries. But his most impressive achievement is his new restaurant, which opened in July. While the menu at Farmers & Chefs is focused on farm-fresh foods, it has an international flair.

Tara Rockacy

Since opening Churchview Farm to the public in 2013, Tara Rockacy has been incorporating farm-to-table dining into her food business. Her chefs take local produce and turn it into gourmet multi-course meals served at a communal table under a picnic pavilion. The original concept of the dinners was to have guests sit around a table to share a meal. Still, social distancing edicts forced her to revamp the idea. Today, the farm-to-table dinner program is referred to as Pickup Pop-Ups.

John Steward

Food Farms & Chefs is the second book by chef and entrepreneur John Stewart. After the first book, he expanded his restaurant empire to include two other successful food establishments, Hogstone Pizza and Meat Cheese Bread. His book is the perfect companion to the first two. Both authors explore the importance of local, sustainably-sourced food in a new way. A tour of the farm's fields and a meal prepared by Chef Steve is a must for anyone interested in food.

Shady Acres

If you're looking for a place to enjoy local, organic produce, Shady Acres Food Farms and Chefs is the place to go. This weekly market is located at St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church, close to Beltway 8 and Westheimer. It features a rotating roster of local farmers, chefs, and food producers. The menu changes each week, so you're sure to find something you like.

Orcas Island's Hogstone's Wood Oven

While a full-time farmer, Jay Blackinton is the owner and chef of the award-winning Orcas Island restaurant Hogstone's Wood Oven. His artisanal flour and all-local ingredients create a unique flavor that sets the wood-fired pizza apart from its competition. The chef's food has been named a James Beard Foundation "Rising Star Chef" Semi-Finalist, and his menu changes regularly. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating.

Orcas Island's Aelder

Orcas Island's Aelder Food and Wine Festival is an ideal opportunity to try the local ingredients. This multicourse tasting menu features ingredients grown or raised on the island. While Hogstone's Wood Oven is a favorite pizza joint, the menu at Aelder is focused on seasonal, local foods. San Juan Island Distillery wine and spirits are muddled with island fruits and vegetables. Both locations feature an impressive wine list.

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