Sunday evening I trekked to Athens for dinner at Farm 255, and yes, I realize that’s a long way to go for dinner. But hell, living on the Westside, it can take me forty minutes to get to Brookhaven. If it hadn’t been for ATL Monsoon ‘09, I would have made it to the Farm in a little over an hour. Plus, there’s some nice scenery on Hwy 316, and if you’re lucky like me, when you stop to get gas, you will have the added entertainment of a pickup truck doing donuts at a gas station while the employees cheer them on.
I’ve been hearing a lot about Farm 255 lately, particularly in regards to how they operate with Full Moon Farms near Athens. The farm operates as a local CSA and provides produce and meat to the restaurant. A chalkboard inside proudly displays the details of which ingredients are currently sourced from the farm, and the list is quite robust.
In addition to sourcing ingredients from Full Moon Farms, employees of Farm 255 work the farm, harvesting the crops and even slaughtering chickens. This kind of employee buy-in and involvement is uniquely awesome. In the construction distribution industry, you might call this ‘vertical integration’.
The week prior to heading up to Farm 255, I was sitting at the bar at Leon’s and eavesdropped on two guys sitting next to me. Over a couple of pints, they were talking about food and local restaurants, and the most verbose of the two launched into a buzzed diatribe about how he loves restaurants that only serve ingredients when appropriate – “HEY MAN, listen, I only want strawberries when it’s fucking strawberry season! I’m tired of everything being available all the time!”
It was at that point that he started telling his buddy all about Farm 255, how they source the ingredients, and how the employees are involved in the farm. It was cool to hear someone get excited about food in this manner – the finished product isn’t only of importance, but the process is becoming important to consumers. If this trend continues (I hope it does), we’re going to be eating healthier and more responsibly. I just finished reading In Defense of Food, can you tell?
The menu changes often at “the farm”, as I’ve heard it called often, and within seconds of sitting down one appetizer jumped out at me – Poutine. I’ve actually been stalking poutine lately, searching for cheese curds around Atlanta (Trader Joe’s has them, go figure) and on the internet. The decision was easy.
A popular dish in Canada, poutine can also be found in New Orleans, but I have yet to see it around Atlanta. A dense mixture of French fries, gravy, and cheese, it’s a dish full of warmth, depth, and calories. Everything a growing boy needs.
The Farm 255 version was made with an extremely thick chicken gravy and melted cheddar instead of curds. On the one hand I would have liked the gravy a little thinner so I could mop my fries around in the gloppy mess, but the thickness did help the fries maintain their well fried status. The melted cheese ensured ample coverage on almost all the fries, so breaking from tradition seems to have paid off there. If you’re in Athens, go try this while you can. And don’t order too large of an entree, you’re gonna need that stomach space.