Local Food, Farm To Table
Local food and farm-to-table are buzz words and hip happenings for sure, but as we are exploring these concepts and implementing them into our practices at the Root Cafe, the fruits of our labors are becoming clear. Creating a sustainable local economy, repurposing urban land, creating secure local food sources, and feeding Clevelanders with food from our own bioregion are just a few fruits to pick from. Deepening our relationship with our food and the farmers who grow it is a daily practice and is excitedly becoming a year-round endeavor.
These are fundamental values at the Root Cafe in Lakewood. We are a crew of mindful, loving people preparing and serving food from farmers who frequent our cafe when not growing veggies and we, in turn, have visited their farms when not preparing and serving their food. Our employees till and plant in our community garden, seeing the actual food from seed to table. The Root Cafe’s raw food chef, Nicole Tuzzio, sees it this way: “The connection between humans and the garden is sacred. This is a beautiful thing to celebrate. Our food is alive and full of water that is vibrating with energy. This energy can change and resonate with the energy we send out. I enjoy working on mindful preparation of the harvest starting with a zen, clean kitchen, creating meals with the highest intention of love, health and wellness for the recipient. Our local farmers make the foundation for mindful, healthy consumption and their nurturing presence is alive on our plates.”
Quarterly, the Root Cafe holds a 5-course dinner to help educate and promote local seasonal raw and whole foods. We took the challenge as a restaurant to provide this 5-course meal and beverages with 98% local sources. Our debut event, Hot Fun in the Summertime: An Urban Vegetable Revival, was a culinary success, with pizzas being hand-created and fired in front of the guests in our clay, wood-fired oven; big beautiful fresh salads; raw zucchini pasta tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs; roasted beets with our signature root tang dressing and basil; beet goat cheese to spread on freshly baked baguettes; all topped off with a fresh, organic berry shortcake bar. All of the vegetables were locally sourced through Cleveland Crops. The flour for bread and pizza came from Risley Acres in Litchfield. Local craft beer by Buckeye Brewery flowed freely. The event featured jazz musicians Xe La and the Root Tones and the violin stylings of Nate & Ariel, topped off with an after dinner treat by DJ Eso spinning funk, soul and hip hop records. Patrons were invited to create a god’s eye craft. All senses and expressions of the human spirit were engaged: body, mind and soul.
Our next event, a Sunflower Affair, highlights the harvest. Sunflowers are the bright bursting sign that summer is at its end and fall is upon us. All season, the sunflower soaks in the rays of sunshine and the laughter in the garden. It grows strong and tall to support its many blooms. Just as the heat peaks, the sunflower explodes into blossom, giving us the sign that the harvest is upon us. The sunflower marks the time of balance where reflection of the abundant season and planning for the leaner seasons meet.
This event, in partnership with farmers Cleveland Crops, Bay Branch, Justin Husher and Central Roots, celebrates the harvest of raw and whole foods by creating in our community a space for recognizing this important time of year.
Set in the our beautifully lit courtyard, guests will be greeted by sweet, savory and spicy seasoned pumpkin seeds and edamame on every table. The first course of sunflower bread with apple butter and cheeses with local grapes will begin to arrive at our harvest table. The second course is a raw apple curry soup and a salad of mixed local greens with organic vegetables. For the main event, we will have a fire-roasted stuffed acorn squash and our raw lasagna. Adorning the main course is raw homemade applesauce, fire-roasted and raw Ohio organic sweet corn with herbed butter, beets de paw paws with goat cheese, basil and root tang dressing and fire-roasted seasonal vegetables. For dessert we will feature wood-fired apple pizzas and calzones, raw peach cobbler and homemade sun butter and oatmeal raisin cookies with freshly brewed Rising Star coffee.
As we will engage all of the senses, starting with aroma and taste, we’ll move on to nourish our guests’ senses of sight and touch. During the dinner, we will present the soulful activity of creating Fonts from Food with Kristen Baumlier. The entire event is set to live music by Xe La koustic during dinner, bringing live jazz and soul music. After the plates are cleared, guests are invited to shake their blossoms at our awesome dance party with DJ Max Payola, spinning 45s of strictly soul music.
Long into the night, what is created here is not just buzzwords and economic growth. People create connections with their neighbors, where their food comes from and who prepares it. Our communities thrive on these connections and so do we. We hope to see you under the Ohio sky, enjoying Ohio’s food.
A Sunflower Affair, a 5-course raw/whole food dinner and dance party
Date: September 29th, 2012
Location: The Root Cafe (15118 Detroit Ave)
Time: Dinner from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., dance party from 10 p.m. - 1 a.m.
$25 per ticket includes dinner and dance party. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 216.226.4401. Attend the dance party only for $10 at the door.
Tickets are on sale at the Root cafe from your friendly barista or at the door on the evening of the event. Visit the event website at: http://www.theroot-cafe.com/content/sunflower-affair
More information about our partners and farmers:
Old Husher Farms: http://thegardenlifeandtimesofjustinhusher.blogspot.com/
Cleveland Crops: http://sawinc.org/
Bay Branch Farm: http://baybranchfarm.com/
Central Roots Farm: http://www.centralroots.com/
Rittman Orchards: http://www.rittmanorchards.com/
Rising Star Coffee: http://www.risingstarcoffee.com/
The Food Font project: http://foodfont.com/
Lakewood Garden Center: www.lakewoodgardencenter.net
All things culture in the world of The Root Cafe. Coordinating the presentation of great local art and great independent music, all with fantastic timing and lighting.