Chef Matt Jennings Celebrates Local Producers | Many Farms, One Table
We love this dynamic–and it’s just another example of why national publications such as Travel & Leisure have called Providence one of the best food cities in the country.Around our table that evening I also saw friends such as Patrick McNiff of Pat’s Pastured, a pasture-based meat producer in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and Dan Geer, whose 70-acre horse operation, Rising Phoenix Farm in North Smithfield, produces gorgeous corn, heirloom beans, eggplants, and peppers on 3 of those acres. Dan proudly fancies himself “the Pepper Farmer,” and he has mastered late-season breeds like ‘Wonder Bells’, ‘Chocolate Beauties’, and the ‘Dulce Rojo’ peppers that we buy to produce our own smoked and sweet paprikas. Dan is also the king of “side projects,” grinding his own corn for our polenta. Add to that the flint cornmeal from Kenyon’s Grist Mill, Rhode Island’s oldest manufacturing business, and suddenly we have everything we need, right here around this table.
So the next time you ramble down the one-lane roads that crisscross southern New England, slow down, peek over the stone walls, and pull into the drive of that small farm with the dilapidated barn. You may just find nirvana in a cornfield, or inspiration by way of a self-serve vegetable stand with a coffee can for dollar bills.