“The early morning text from a local farmer saying the collards look great after the frost and asking if I want to stop by. I love that!” says Matt Steigerwald, Culinary Director at Wilson’s Ciderhouse.
When Matt talks about farm-to-table he’s talking about his day-to-day experience bringing local produce to the visitors at his restaurant. “I’ll stop by two to four farms on my way to the restaurant picking up this or that vegetable that’s fresh out in the field. It could not be a closer link. That’s farm to table!” Matt’s days have never been more connected to the local growers who make the farm to table link possible … plus Matt knows the fresher the plant the more delicious the dish!
“It just tastes so much better.” Matt says, “When you buy from a wholesaler (and we all do it) you don’t know how long it’s been in their fridge. Buying today or yesterday’s vegetables locally gives you time to get the most out of it.” Sprinkled on top of the culinary perks of local produce, Matt also appreciates the economic impact of buying from small, local producers. “Keeping your dollars local is a no brainer. So many of our farmers come in to eat. It’s a great way to support the economy of the corridor.”
Matt and Wilson’s Ciderhouse’s focus on local agriculture aligns with Indian Creek Nature Center’s support of regenerative agriculture, making our partnership for Farm to Table dinners a natural fit. When Wilson’s Ciderhouse returns to Indian Creek Nature Center for their next Farm to Table Dinner on Thursday, April 5, both Wilson’s and ICNC are looking forward to helping guests in Cedar Rapids discover the joys of fresh, local produce and gaining a deeper understanding of where their food comes from.
“I get excited about these dinners for a lot of reasons, “ says Matt, “because the ICNC staff is super helpful and accommodating. Plus, these dinners give us a chance to show the City of Five Seasons what we got! Potentially, energizing people to visit us at the farm, which is beautiful in all seasons.”
While we love how Wilson’s commitment to buying local produce positively impacts our economy and taste buds, it’s ultimately our shared connection to the land that keeps the partnership between ICNC and Wilson’s growing stronger with each season.
“I’ve been hiking the trails around ICNC for 20 years and feel a close connection to the land. I’m always super impressed and motivated after a Farm to Table dinner at ICNC. It drives me to ask what new practices and ideas we can use to push the sustainable agriculture and environmental systems in our restaurant and farm forward as a whole.”