Manhattan “farm to lunch” chain Dig Inn is buying a farm in upstate New York so that it can grow some of its own produce, joining the ranks of fine dining pillars like Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York, and soon, Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark.
However, unlike Blue Hill and Noma, Dig Inn will not be able to rely on the farm for the bulk of its shopping list. Rather, the upstate farm will be used as a “living lab” to train its chefs, and to experiment with organic farming techniques and aquaculture.
In addition to getting firsthand experience with techniques like rotational and companion planting, chefs and cooks will visit the farm for menu inspiration.
“We would really love to grow our own food,” Dig Inn founder Adam Eskin told Fast Company.
“That's ultimate control — your own procedures, how you think about things like crop rotation. But we're never going to have a farm large enough to support what I would consider our fairly lofty growth goals. You have to have a supply chain for that.”
The farm, which will hopefully be up to 100 acres, will be used to help supply Dig Inn’s locations (11 and expanding), but the company has no plans to cut ties with the local farmers that already supply produce. “But now we’ll establish ourselves in not only understanding what they do, and what their day-to-day looks like in how they provide vegetables for us, said Taylor Lanzet, Dig Inn's sustainability coordinator, “but also to be a mover and shaker in changing what the farm-to-table conversation can look like.”
The farm will be purchased sometime this year, and the first harvest is slated for 2017.