Food News: Niche Products from Three Coastal Growers Delight Chefs and Consumers Coastal Greens, Gnarly Vines, and Small World’s speciality farming yield delicious results

April 2022

Posted

Little greens, big flavor

“I decided to grow my way through the pandemic,” jokes Karin Tammi, who left her career in marine science to found Coastal Greens Farm in Little Compton. “I was really good at spawning oysters and scallops,” she says of the pivot, noting that microgreens have a similar life cycle to that of an oyster. Tammi grew her small farm by testing out microgreen varieties on friends and neighbors while learning how to grow more efficiently. In 2020, with the launch of Tiverton Farmer’s Market, her microgreens took off.

 Food science research points to the nutrient-bomb that microgreens deliver. “An individual microgreen turns into a plant that produces [a limited] number of heads of broccoli,” she says by way of example. She also points to the value of local food systems, a lesson learned during the pandemic. “You’re not waiting for a head of iceberg lettuce from Yuma.” Little Compton, CoastalGreensRI.com

 Farm-raised meats on wheels

 What started as a family homestead with 25 chickens turned into a full-fledged farm by accident. "We began with 25 heritage breed chickens,” says Ester Bishop of Gnarly Vines Farm in Tiverton. “But they produced so many eggs, we didn’t know what to do with them.” Her husband’s boss co-owned a farm-to-table restaurant and offered to buy the excess. When their chef requested 150 dozen eggs a week, Bishop bought more chickens and a farm was born.

As she became increasingly familiar with the restaurant industry, their meat offerings expanded to include pigs and Boer goats, and she partnered with a neighboring farm to offer beef. With chefs constantly in search of quality meats, she’s never considered growing veggies. Instead, Gnarly Vines expanded to sell cuts of meat via local farmers markets. Their food truck hit the road in 2021, turning any unsold cuts into delicious Brazilian fare to cut down on food waste. Tiverton, GnarlyVinesFarm.com

 

Organic apples are a chef’s delight

Living next door to a satellite apple orchard, Patrick and Claire Bowen had a front row seat to its beautiful blooms. When the land went up for sale last winter, the couple bought it, creating Small World Farms to ensure the orchard remained intact. Transitioning the apples to organic – only the second organic orchard in the state – meant a crash course in organic farming.

 Because of the humid climate, organic apples are difficult to grow. “Almost every farmer in town told us that it was impossible to produce apples organically here,” concedes Patrick. But the rich soil and abundant insects also yield the most delicious apples (even if not terribly attractive). This makes organic apples a favorite of chefs and bakers, who became early adopters of the Bowens’ first chemical-free crop. With the addition of a new barn, the fledgling farmers will have a dedicated farm stand in addition to the existing pick-your-own model. Little Compton, SmallWorldFarmRI.com

   

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