Eating local…Out of town
September 2, 2010
Local Harvest is a resource website and catalouge that maps local and organic food hubs across the country. Whenever I’m due for a vacation my first stop is Local Harvest. I’ve found some amazing restaurants this way: Local 188 in Portland, ME and Garden at The Cellar in Cambridge, MA. The website will also tell you where to find CSAs, farmers markets, and sustainable meat, among other things. Getting excited for a weekend in Northampton, MA to celebrate 2 years with my boyfriend, I happily plunked in the zip code at Local Harvest, only to find nothing. Bummed, we took off without knowing where to eat.
No need for Local Harvest in that town, restaurants that serve local food proudly post a sign in their windows: We Support Local Agriculture. The short main strip (Main Street) is sprinkled with local gems. My favorite joint was The Dirty Truth–sporting a big wooden sign with small metal letters, you almost have to know where it is to find it. A dimly lit and long red room extends behind the door. One wall has mural-sized local artwork and seat-yourself booths and tables, the other a mahogany bar in front of mirrors. A stacked beer list and creative bar food menu brought Seth and I back for another round the next night. In the true spirit of the season, the chef salad that weekend was a local heirloom caprese. The tastiest was their bahn mi, a franco-vietnamese sandwich with duck confit, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, fresh cilantro, mayo, and fish sauce, served with fresh-cut russet fries.
As Seth munched on a burger we wondered how it would compare to the patties across the street at the sustainable fast food joint Local Burger. “At Local Burger, you’ll always know where your food came from and exactly what’s in it.” That’s right folks, they list the farm of origin on the menu. Even still, I’m more of a slow food type of girl so the next day we went up the street to The Green Bean. We walked past the proud chalk board map of Mass listing the restaurant’s distributors and into a very crowded breakfast/lunch cafe. Soon after, a man joined the line behind us saying “This used to be the best kept secret in Northampton”.