Grocery Shopping With Chef
Chef Murray McDonald needs rhubarb for a dish on tonight’s menu: chilled rhubarb soup with cold-water shrimp. In the summer, he gets most of his fresh produce from five local farmers, each living in a different island community.
AOne of his main suppliers, Alf Coffin, has a farm near Fogo Island Inn, in Joe Batt’s Arm. But Alf also works as a commercial fisher, so he spends days at a time away at sea. He’s out shrimping when Murray pulls up at his place in Joe Batt’s—but it’s not a problem.
Booted up and knife in hand, Chef strides right past Alf’s grass-roofed root cellar and into the rhubarb patch, set among the rocks. With a series of pops, he pulls blush-red stalks directly from the soil. Murray hacks off and discards the giant leaves in a heap—they’ll make good compost—then he fills a tub with enough rhubarb for tonight’s dinner service
Later back at the Inn, Murray will weigh his harvest and keep a record of what he took, so that he can square up with Alf once the farmer-cum-fisher is safely back on dry land.
The honour system makes Alf’s life easier; it gives Chef a chance to support the community (and slip out of the kitchen for fresh air); and it means guests at the Inn can eat locally grown veggies and fruits, picked that very day.