What does the farm to table movement mean to Alice Waters?
When I first started the restaurant, I wasn’t looking for organic, local food. I was looking for a taste of what I had experienced when I went to France. I wanted those little strawberries. I wanted that baguette. I wanted that butter. I wanted those eggs like that. I wanted the wine like that, too. It wasn’t until I really found local people that were growing the right varietals of fruits and vegetables and the people that are raising the lamb to a certain age, on their land, allowing them to graze on the land, and they will butcher them for us to have at the restaurant… that I understood at that, the flavor comes from the people who are planting the right varietal in the right place. And that they’re taking care of it and then they’re picking it when it’s ripe and then they’re bringing it to me.
I never thought about needing organic or sustainable. I only wanted taste. But what happened is I ended up at the doorsteps of those farmers and ranchers that were growing organically and locally. So we developed this network of suppliers. We probably have 85 different people that grow for us, but one main farm and many, many others in little micro-climates all around California.