Restaurateur Kevan McCroy posed the question: how many restaurants are just down the road from the farm their chickens and pigs come from?
In Revelstoke, there’s now at least one.
McCroy and Terra Park recently opened local-food focused Terra Firma’s Kitchen.
Years ago, the two met through nordic skiing and eventually decided to go into business together.
McCroy operated the Modern Bakeshop for 14 years and sold it in 2018. Park is one of the owners of Terra Firma Farms, a small scale certified organic farm near Revelstoke that produces anything from eggplants, zucchinis, and tomatoes to green beans, peppers and live stock.
The new eatery’s menu is based on what’s growing at the farm.
“It’s fun to wait for things to be in season. Enjoy them and move on,” said Park.
If the cafe runs out of apples, it won’t place an emergency order to New Zealand. Once local ingredients are gone, they’re gone. Or at least until they grow back.
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Sunday brunch? We’ve got you covered 👋 And yes, there’s free coffee refills ☕️ proudly brewing roasts from @fratellocoffeeroasters and @stokeroasted for your morning cup! Our full breakfast menu is available from 7am-2pm everyday 🍳Pictured here is the Farmhouse and the Sashuka with hummus toast 👍 photo credit 📸 @landinginthekitchen #farmtotable #honestlylocal
As such, the cafe’s menu is constantly evolving and changing. Not only are the eggs, bacon and chickens from Terra Firma Farms, but other ingredients are also locally gleaned. For example, the fruit in the chocolate pear scones and plum bars are from someone’s backyard tree.
While demand for locally grown food is increasing, according to the 2014 Revelstoke Food Security Strategy, 98 per cent of food consumed locally is imported from more than 250 kilometres away.
“The more local, the better it is for the environment,” said McCroy.
The average meal in Canada travels 1,200 km from farm to plate, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, according to the David Suziki Foundation.
Terra Firma Farms is five kilometres from its cafe.
“The best ingredients are the ones closest to us,” said Josh White, head chef.
Compost from the eatery goes back to the farm, helping to produce next year’s menu.
White has worked in some of the top restaurants and for notable chefs in the United Kingdom, including Nigella Lawson, a British cooking show host and food writer who has sold more than three million recipe books worldwide.
|Head chef Josh White and Head baker Jodi Kay. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
White called dishes like eggs benedict with brown butter hollandaise and the squash ploughman’s sandwich examples of the polished farmhouse cooking found on Terra Firma’s Kitchen’s menu.
He added he’s excited to show Revelstoke how tasty simplicity can be. For example, the cheesy toast is based on an 18th-century classic dish named Welsh rarebit. Terra Firma Kitchen’s version has cider and cream blended with Gouda and cheddar that is smothered on toast and bubbled under the grill.
“While it may seem to be just cheese on toast, it’s so much more,” White said.
The menu is also shaped by sourdough bread baked by head baker Jodi Kay.
Kay previously sold her bread at the Revelstoke Winter Market, taught sourdough classes and catered for backcountry lodges.
|Terra Firma’s Kitchen is located at 415 Victoria Road, near Save On Foods. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
According to some studies, fermented foods, such as sourdough can provide many health benefits, such as improving the microbe in the gut, which helps the body’s immune system.
The fermentation in sourdough helps break down grains, making them easier to digest. Usually the dough is left to ferment for up to 40 hours.
One of Kay’s kitchen helpers is Stella, a five-year-old sourdough starter, which is a mixture of yeast and lactobacilli that makes bread leaven and develop a more sour taste.
Since becoming the cafe’s head baker, Kay said Stella has grown immensely.
“Making bread is a life long practice. You’re always learning and you have to become in-tuned with your dough,” said Kay.
While it may seem unconventional to open a new restaurant during a pandemic with threat of another lock down looming, owners McCroy and Park said they are optimistic.
“We’re all in this together,” said McCroy.
Terra Firma’s Kitchen is located at 415 Victoria Road, the former location of Minh Tuyet’s Vietnamese Bistro and open every day from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The cafe plans to soon offer online ordering and eventually provide dinner services and sell preserves, pestos and hummus.
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