1. Real foods are the foundation for every item on our menu. This means real eggs rather than egg substitutes, broth made from bones and meat instead of bouillon cubes, real butter instead of vegetable-oil spreads. We wouldn't dream of serving anything to our customers that didn't meet our own high standards. But it goes way beyond this.
2. We bend over backwards to source the very best ingredients, with an emphasis on local, sustainable plant and animal foods. Local to us means grown or grazed within 300 miles of New York City, and often much closer than that. Sustainable means the farms we buy from are small, family-owned and operated, concerned with farming in an environmentally responsible way, where there is a deep respect for soil fertility and preservation of the nutrient-rich topsoil, and where synthetic chemicals, genetically modified grain feeds, growth hormones (such as rBGH or rBST), and antibiotics have no place whatsoever. Animals are fed the way their bodies and nature dictate: with chickens roaming on open pastures, cattle grazing on lush native grasses (and consuming hay and fermented grasses in winter), and pigs rooting contentedly in the dirt. The chickens and pigs are omnivores, not vegetarians, which is how their bodies are designed; this means they consume grasses and plants, grains, ground nuts, insects, worms, and the occasional small reptile. Dairy and beef cattle consume only fresh and dried (hay) or fermented (silage) grasses and native plants, such as wild herbs, and do not consume grains at all. The bovine digestive system is not equipped to process grains; a diet of grain makes their bodies very acidic, leaving them susceptible to infections and illness, while also negatively altering the fatty acid profile of their meat and milk. A superior diet and days spent in the sun afford these farm animals a happy life and ensure the foods they give us will provide excellent nutrition for our customers and their families.
We also source produce from surrounding farms as much as possible, according to the season. If given the choice of a local, responsibly-produced but not certified organic peach, or a certified organic peach grown in California, we'll pick the one grown locally. Freshness makes a huge difference in nutrition and flavor (the two go together!) and we believe in eating "close to home" to cut down on the need for fossil fuels.
When using sweeteners in our foods, we use almost exclusively locally-produced raw honey and grade B maple syrup (less refined and richer in minerals).
3. But wait, there's more! We go even further than just real food and local food raised the way it should be. We carefully prepare the ingredients in each recipe to maximize flavor, nutrition, and digestibility. Did you know a cabbage's nutrition (and flavor!) is enhanced through fermentation, while providing us with beneficial probiotic bacteria? Or that nuts should be soaked to eliminate enzyme inhibitors, then dried and roasted to reduce phytic acid and allow for proper assimilation of nutrients? Or that whole grains and beans are more nourishing and easily digested when properly soaked and cooked slowly in simmering bone broth? From the sweeteners we choose to the fats we use, our every thought is for your enjoyment and your health.
4. Last but not least, we apply the principles of traditional foods as related by Weston A. Price, pioneering dentist and nutrition researcher, in his work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. There is much for us to learn from healthy, traditional cultures which enjoyed robust good health, superb physical development, excellent fertility, and freedom from chronic disease. We leave it to the customer to decide which of our foods work best for her family's health, while applying to each menu the common dietary principles found among all traditional cultures:
no processed foods
animal foods in some amount
high levels of easily-absorbed minerals (such as calcium)
high levels of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K, and E) which ensure proper mineral utilization
probiotic-rich and enzyme-rich foods in every diet