Dressler’s Restaurant is proud to serve our guests the freshest, local produce that is available from season-to-season. In order to achieve this goal, we source many of our fruits and vegetables from Poplar Ridge Farm, located in Waxhaw, NC.
In addition to purchasing produce from Poplar Ridge Farm for both the Metro and Birkdale locations, Dressler’s will soon be buying the farm’s produce for its newest restaurant–Dogwood Southern Table and Bar–which is set to open November 5th.
Poplar Ridge is a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. CSA is a system of sourcing local, seasonal food directly from the farm. Built in 1995, Poplar Ridge is a small, family-owned and managed USDA certified organic farm. Owner Marianne Battistone is proud to have developed one of the only certified organic farms in the area that is able to sell produce in bulk to restaurants and families in Charlotte. Poplar Ridge Farm is also one of the largest professional CSA farms in the state.
Scott Platt, Assistant Manager of Dressler’s in Birkdale Village, has volunteered at Poplar Ridge and knows firsthand how the process works. In addition to his hard work at the farm, the team at Poplar Ridge adds that Scott is “always good for comic relief as well.”
Why is buying local so important? According to the team at Poplar Ridge, buying food locally allows you to enjoy food soon after it was picked, which maximizes taste, nutrition, and freshness. It also gives you access to a variety of fruits and vegetables that may not be available in stores.
Some of the produce harvested at Poplar Ridge Farms includes: arugula, beets, blueberries, fennel, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli raab, carrots, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, edamame, eggplant, endive, garlic, green beans, butter beans, kale, leeks, head lettuce, mesclun mix, mustard greens, spring onions, microgreens, potatoes, radishes, salad greens, spinach, swiss chard, tomatoes, kohl rabi, strawberries, okra, peppers, squash, watermelon, zucchini, cabbage, pak choi, turnips, brussel sprouts, figs, salsify, and sweet potatoes. Herbs harvested include: copper fennel, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, lovage, oregano, garlic chives, rosemary, sage, lemon balm, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and basil.
We recently spoke with Marianne Battistone (Owner and Co-Manager), Joe Rohrer (CSA Manager/Farmer), and Amy Schroeder (CSA/Chef Coordinator) of Poplar Ridge Farm to help us answer some of the questions Dressler’s guests may have about the significance of locally sourced produce.
What types of produce will Dressler’s be purchasing from Poplar Ridge for their restaurants?
“All types! We grow seasonally, so Dressler’s can purchase anything that’s available during that season. We grow more than 100 different varieties of all types of vegetables, but here are some things we know Chef Scott likes: okra, white turnips, yellow beets, tomatoes, rainbow carrots, sunchokes, cress, winter and summer squash, herbs, blue potatoes, fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, romanesco, greens, lettuces, peas, radishes, and whatever else Chef Scott wants.”
What does it mean to be certified organic?
“We utilize cover crops, crop rotation, and compost to protect and enrich the soil. Growing organically is a much more intimate connection with nature. Our ultimate goal is to take care of the land to ensure the longevity of the soil for future generations. Sometimes the produce is not as “pretty” as what you may find at the grocery store. However, it will always taste better and have more nutrients.”
What are the advantages of buying local produce?
“Our food tastes better because it is harvested within 24 hours of when Dressler’s receives it,” explain Joe and Amy. “Buying our produce also supports the local economy. We need more farms, not chain stores!”
Marianne says that her team enjoys working with Dressler’s because they are committed to buying local and supporting the area’s farms.
“If they (Dressler’s) buy local, then they buy and serve what’s in season. That’s what makes Dressler’s so special and different from other restaurants,” says Marianne.
“It’s really cool that they do this,” adds Marianne. “Other restaurants have tried, but Dressler’s makes it work.”
How does buying local produce benefit Dressler’s patrons as well as the community?
“The food tastes better and can be eaten knowing that a lot of hard work and love went into growing it. It’s also organic and fresh, so it retains the most nutrients. And we believe people should know where their food comes from. It’s important to be aware of what we put in our bodies and where it comes from. Knowing your local farmer is important. We love growing food. And it shows in what we produce. Supporting Dressler’s also means supporting us.”
“Food containing the best nutrition and flavor is grown where you live, ” says Marianne. She goes on the say that “the public should care about where their food comes from and how it is grown.”
“Dressler’s customers are going to get healthy, well-balanced, and amazing meals,” says Marianne.