Columbia, SC (PressExposure) May 17, 2012 -- Executive Chef Tim Peters of Motor Supply Co. Bistro puts his money where his mouth is. A supporter of the Slow Food movement, which promotes "good, clean and fair" food systems, Peters ensures that a significant portion his weekly food purchasing budget goes to small, local, sustainable farms. In fact, Peters was recently chosen by Slow Food Columbia as one of the organization's Slow Food at Indie Grits 2012 Sustainable Chefs; a distinction given to only 10 chefs in the Midlands culinary scene.
To highlight the restaurant's relationships with organic and near-organic farmers, Motor Supply has launched a twice-yearly event series, Harvest Week at Motor Supply. This week-long happening showcases Executive Chef Tim Peters' personal passion for working with small-scale, sustainable farms in the Midlands region, like Caw Caw Creek Pastured Pork, Doko Farm, City Roots Urban Farm, Freshly Grown Farms, and Wil-Moore Farms.
Recently featured in a three-page feature in the April 2012 issue of Columbia Metropolitan Magazine ("Not Your Average Chef"), Peters has distinguished himself not only as an avid huntsman, fisherman and mushroom forager in his spare time, but Peters also makes his own charcuterie at the restaurant, including house-cured bacon steaks, cocoa nib sausages, duck liver mousse, and a wildly popular country pork pate with apricots and pistachios - not to mention the mustard and pickles, as well. Peters also encourages bar staff to experiment with infusing liquors, like a recent thyme and grapefruit-infused gin, a three-chile infused tequila, and a smoked orange peel bourbon.
Having worked on an organic farm on Wadmalaw Island near Charleston, SC during the period when he cooked at Anson with Mike Lata and at S.N.O.B. with Frank Lee, Chef Peters understands well the extra effort required of farmers who avoid spraying pesticides on their produce and who forego using antibiotics and hormones in their poultry and livestock operations.
"It's a no-brainer for us to choose small, sustainable farms like Wil-Moore and Caw Caw Creek for our chicken, lamb, and pork, for example," says Peters." It's not just that they treat their animals humanely -- the actual product tastes miles better than what you get from mass-production suppliers." Peters recently has had to make a concerted effort to buy *less* lettuce from the local hydroponic lettuce grower, Freshly Grown Farms, so that the farm has enough supply to build relationships with other restaurants as well.
The restaurant as a whole walks the walk, as well. "We're blessed to have eco-conscious staff, and we're excited that the City of Columbia instituted curbside recycling pickup for Vista businesses in late 2011," says owner Eddie Wales. Recent staff initiatives have included vegetable scrap composting and an organic herb plot at USC's Green Quad community garden.
"Owning a green business in Columbia, SC is great - you can feel the enthusiasm for sustainable projects radiating from City Hall and even from the SC State House," adds Wales. "Columbia City Council passed an initiative in 2011 to pursue a 30-year zero waste policy, and the lawmakers who come down the hill for lunch & dinner at Motor are backing more green legislation than ever."
"Being green has been such an easy choice for us, ideologically," notes Wales. "It's just right in line with what Tim is doing with the food, buying from local, sustainable farmers."
During Summer Harvest Week at Motor Supply, June 12-17, 2012, a unique, farm-to-table dish featuring ingredients from a different local, sustainable farm will be added to Motor Supply's a la carte dinner menu each evening, and owners of the corresponding farms will be on deck June 12 and 13 for "Meet the Farmer Happy Hours" at Motor's expansive wooden bar and communal table. From 5:30-7pm, the public can come and have artisan cocktails, nosh on Motor's daily changing menu, and chat with farmers like 26 year-old City Roots urban farm manager Eric McClam, a local leader in aquaculture, vermicomposting, and organic micro-greens production. In addition to conversing with some of the local farmers, guests can also enjoy the recent installation of paintings by one of Columbia's hottest up-and-coming artists, Whitney LeJeune.
Star dishes during Harvest Week in November, 2011 included a hand-rolled porchetta of Caw Caw Creek pastured pork, and handmade vegetarian ravioli with a ragout of City Roots vegetables. Farmers had a great time with Meet the Farmer Happy Hour, and a rosy feeling arose from the week's events in general.
"If we don't support these guys," notes Peters, "who will? We feel that if we stick with these sustainable farmers, then it will pay off for everyone in the long run."
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