The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm
Sam Beall (Clarkson Potter)
Southern cooking might be seen as unhealthy, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, protein has always been a luxury in foothills cuisine. "One meat plus three" is a concept you'll find in all of the cooking here; that is, there might be some meat, but plates are also loaded with a trio of vegetables and other fresh or preserved takes on the plentiful produce that is an offshoot of farm living.
Nationally, there's a growing awareness about food, but it's been alive in this area for decades. I wanted my kids to grow up with the most responsible, sustainable way of living, so we embodied that idea in all aspects of Blackberry. The main building has been turned into a resort offering outdoor activities, and the majority of what we serve in our restaurants comes from our gardens or our neighbors' gardens.
I've brought in people from the region and helped them grow into artisans. I want Blackberry to be understood through this larger group. It's not me who makes this a special place, but rather the gardeners, cheese makers, chocolatiers, bakers, and foragers. Most of what we do here has been done in this region for generations.
I've been in food since I was 12. My parents bought the property in 1976. It consisted of 1,100 acres, including the main building, where I was born; today, Blackberry is 9,200 acres, more than half of it wilderness. I apprenticed at the French Laundry and got dirt under my nails at some California wineries. But the making of this book drew upon the collective knowledge at Blackberry: the Southern recipes and traditions that all of us were raised with. There were no visits to the library, no reference books. This is a hands-on understanding of the region.
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