8 months ago

CBJ's Lure 3.2018

Community Focus Quarter

Community Focus Quarter Barrel in Cedar Rapids is another customer for Morning Glory, buying garlic scapes and arugula on occasion. "When my wife and I decided to open the Quarter Barrel, the goal wasn't to just be another restaurant," co-owner Chris Ellis said. "We wanted it to be community-focused and I found a chef who shared those sentiments." Ellis is a vegetarian, and while Quarter Barrel's menu includes vegetarian and vegan options such as the "Holy Shiitake!" specialty pizza, he said the only way he felt comfortable serving meat "is to know that the animals are raised as humanely as possible." "Sourcing locally and developing relationships with our farmers is the best way – the only way – to do this with any confidence," he said. Head Chef Andrew Hoffmann was the perfect fit for that vision. Hoffmann and sous chef Josh Carter both spent their youths on Iowa farms, a background that influenced their perspective as chefs. "That's where our passion for food comes from," Hoffmann said. "Buying this quality of food makes our job easier, because we're working with amazing products." A whole slab of pork belly from Pavelka's Point Meats is smoked in-house over spent grains from Quarter Barrel's brewing process to create the mouth-watering pork belly slider, with local micro-greens added from Organic Greens in Kalona. Tomatoes used at Quarter Barrel often come from gardens grown by Hoffmann in Mount Vernon and Carter in Cedar Rapids, as well as eggs that come from their backyard chickens. "I love every aspect of food," Mr. Carter said. "Cooking it, growing it and eating it." Head chef Andrew Hoffmann, left, adds ingredients to a squash special at Quarter Barrel, as sous chef Josh Carter looks on. Squash from Jupiter Ridge in northeastern Iowa served as the main ingredient for this winter weekend special at Quarter Barrel, along with locally sourced micro-greens. Cost Effective Hoffmann said sourcing local ingredients can be more time-consuming than ordering from one provider, but isn't necessarily more expensive when a farmer has an abundance of a certain crop. "It may not be what I planned on making," he said, "but they can pick it and bring it to me the next day, so the nutrient level is higher and it's not being shipped in from California, so the shelf life is longer." Sourcing locally also helps keep money in the local economy, Hoffmann noted, and supports startups, such as Jupiter Ridge in northeastern Iowa, which provides mushrooms and vegetables to Quarter Barrel. Squash from Jupiter Ridge was even being served in the depths of Iowa's frigid winter. "It is difficult, but not impossible," he said of finding local produce year-round, citing hoophouses, greenhouses and other means of extending the growing season. "Farmers have a lot of ingenuity and perseverance." | 38 LURE SPRING 2018

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