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The Farmer’s Table: A Model of the Farm-to-Table Movement

There’s a restaurant taking the farm-to-table movement as literally as one can. The Farmer’s Table Café in Fayetteville, Arkansas, works with local farmers to source food year round, from meat and eggs to produce and grains.

farmer's table farmers produceThe idea for the restaurant was born out of Adrienne Shaunfield’s work with farmers’ markets. She and her husband own The Farmer’s Table Café. “I noticed how much food was left over at the end of the day and how so many of the farmers would leave the farmers’ market and go to a second job because they weren’t making a living being farmers,” Adrienne says.

The restaurant spent over $200,000 with local family farms last year. “I can say that I’ve been to every one of the farms our food comes from,” Adrienne says. That’s no small feat, considering that number totals over 140.

Even The Farmer’s Table staff goes on field trips to the farms. “They can honestly tell people, ‘I saw that lettuce growing,'” Adrienne says.

Her goal is for the customers to connect with the farmers as well. On the walls of the 10-table restaurant hang photos of the farmers and their families. The Farmer’s Table also hosts “Shake the Hand That Feeds You” dinners, where guests sit down and dine with farmers and food artisans and learn the stories behind the food.farmers table rosemary herbs

There’s even a garden right outside the restaurant’s kitchen door. “We have a full herb garden,” says Adrienne. “I love for customers to walk around while they’re waiting for a table. I put labels out so that they can learn about plants they may not be familiar with.”

And after all the customers have gone home and it’s time to clean up, nothing is thrown out. The Farmer’s Table has a zero-waste kitchen. Scraps are used to make stocks. Plate scrapings are composted or sent to ducks and chickens down the street. Anything edible is sent to hunger relief.

“There’s a saying that food is the unifying fabric of life,” Adrienne says. “I believe that because we all eat, right? I think it’s important to respect the energy that went into growing that food.”

Watch Adrienne share the story of The Farmer’s Table Cafe: