From the on-site garden to the resident farmer who is part of the restaurant Staff, it’s clear that Rye Tavern, which is located in a charming 18th-century tavern in Plymouth, takes its commitment to farm-to-table dining seriously. In addition to supplying the restaurant with micro greens and shoots from her own Center Hill Farm, resident farmer Melissa Colangelo sources local foods for the restaurant, regularly visiting the farms that supply the kitchen and facilitating communication between the farmers and the chef. She also farms the Rye Garden, a half-acre plot adjacent to the restaurant that grows greens, herbs, root veggies, squash, and flowers.
In addition to what Melissa grows on-site and at her own farm, Rye Tavern’s produce comes from Skinny Dip, Bay End, and Fresh Meadows Farms. It serves locally raised meat from Whips and Brown Boar Farms and cheese from Sweet and Salty Farm in Little Compton, RI. Even its honey is local, coming from Pembroke’s Queen Bee Honey. The locally sourced food shines in dishes such as a grass-fed local burger with bacon onion jam and house-made pickles to blackened swordfish with a melon and nectarine compote.
Rye Tavern hosts popular Taste of the Season events where guests enjoy local food and, according to Melissa, “participate in meaningful discussions with the farmers themselves. These types of events give our guests the opportunity to get to know who grows their food and how.”
One of the challenges for New England restaurants that base their menu around local foods is how to deal with the winter season. Rye Tavern stocks the larder by processing foods such as tomatoes, basil, and squash for winter storage. It also has a root cellar that stores locally grown potatoes, carrots, and squashes for use throughout the winter. The tavern also collaborates with Skinny Dip Farm, which supplies it with some certified organic produce, grown in high tunnels and greenhouses, throughout the winter.
While restaurants often pay a premium for local food, customers value responsibly raised food at the peak of its flavor. As Melissa notes, “It’s worth paying more for fresh, quality product grown by someone we know and have a long-standing relationship with. The majority of our guests are well-educated on the local food movement and happy to support small, local growers that are easily accessible to the consumer.”
517 Old Sandwich Road
Plymouth, MA, 02360