It took two growing seasons, but Caleb Poppe, of Sundowner Farm, is now supplying Chicory with Caraflex cabbage, a tender, crunchy, vegetable with a sweet and mild cabbage flavor she’s long wanted on her menu. (The majority of the first year’s crop was obliterated by a wily herd of sheep who escaped from the lot next to his.) And this year, Ladyberry Farm near Boston Harbor and Five Hearts Farm in Olympia have successfully grown okra for Elise, a difficult crop to grow in western Washington as it loves a hotter, drier climate with lots of sun. “They’ve figured it out,” Elise shares, “and I am up to my ears in the stuff now!”
Every summer the Chicory crew heads out to tour the farms they work with, which gives everyone a chance to see how the ingredients they are cooking or serving begin in the fields. “It is important to us that our employees meet the people behind these beautiful products,” says Elise, “with the hope that they can re-tell that story to our guests and treat those ingredients with the care and respect it requires to make the best possible dishes.”
Chicory takes their commitment to local sourcing, sustainability, and supporting fair labor practices seriously. So much so that they were recently the first business in Olympia to be awarded the official Snail of Approval award by the Slow Food Greater Olympia chapter (in cooperation with Slow Food Seattle). The award recognizes food and beverage establishments that pursue and practice Slow Food values like committing to the environment, local communities, employees and purveyors, and their core values of antiracism and anti-oppression.