There's no question the farm-to-table movement has exploded at restaurants all over the country and with the bounty of great produce that comes from Chicago-area farms, diners are the ones who ultimately win. So it makes sense that some chefs would start growing their own vegetables or partnering with farms. But Quay exec chef Dan Marquis took things a step further and actually purchased his own farm.
Marquis took over his family's Mill Road Farms, a fourth-generation 20-acre farm out west near the Iowa border in Sheffield, Ill. Marquis said about half of the land is dedicated to organic produce while the other 10 acres are allotted to livestock for handcrafted charcuterie, cheese and bees for honey.
He's already been utilizing a lot of produce and herbs, like stinging nettles, gooseberries, wild parsnips, blackberries, raspberries and ramps and plans to plant a slew of additional items for use on the restaurant's menu.
"Our produce is started in the early spring in our greenhouse and transplanted to the fields," Marquis said. "We are dedicated to organic and sustainable practices. I have hand-picked all of the produce to be grown according to the menu I have designed for Quay, taking the farm-to-table approach to a whole new level."