Chef Todd Davies visits local farmer’s markets and takes great care to create daily specials that reflect the freshest and most vibrant flavors of the season. Recently, we asked him what made the Farmer’s Market a great source of food and inspiration. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: Why The Farmer’s Market?
A: One of the reasons I moved to Northern California in 1993 was the bountiful farmer’s markets. I specifically love the Marin County Farmer’s Market held at the Civic Center on Thursdays and Sundays. Just walking through the market provides inspiration for menu items – reminding me why I love to be a chef. Living in such an agriculturally rich area allows for a plethora of produce items fresh from the field. It’s every chef’s dream. The farmer’s market philosophy mirrors the farm to table philosophy the Hilltop 1892 ownership and I espouse. We want to use the best quality ingredients and present them simply, letting the ingredients speak for themselves. This philosophy was displayed by the indigenous Miwok Indians that inhabited Northern California for the last 5,000 years. In the early 1970’s, Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower recognized the “harvesting to table” ideas of the Miwoks had faded and they started a food revolution by using the best local seasonal ingredients at Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley. Ultimately this led to a significant cultural shift and resulted in a farmer’s market boom.
Q: When planning a meal, what components do you actively seek out at the local Farmers Market?
A: Produce. The beautiful produce that farmers bring to the farmer’s market is incredible. Between zucchini and golden squash that still have blossoms attached, perfectly red through ripe strawberries, heirloom tomatoes that are every color imaginable, the produce is just amazing in the summer.
Q: What do you most enjoy about bringing Farmer’s Market ingredients to Hilltop 1892?
A: At Hilltop 1892, we believe in being as sustainable and green as possible. As a locally owned and operated restaurant, we feel strongly about investing in the community by supporting area businesses and farmers. Our commitment to the farmer’s market is part of this philosophy. Menu inspiration evolves around the ever-changing seasonal produce found at the farmers market. By attending the Marin Farmer’s Market bi-weekly, I am able to create sustainably inspired specials.
Q: What kinds of local seasonal specialties can we expect to see at Hilltop 1892 this summer?
A: I really love corn and tomatoes, so menu development will be geared towards these items through October when pumpkins and some winter items will start to appear at the farmer’s markets stands. My latest addition to the menu is a beautiful heirloom tomato salad from a farm in Winters, California with Sonoma olives and Burrata cheese.
July 19th is Hilltop 1892’s birthday and we invite you to come celebrate with us! We will be serving each table a complimentary Chef’s Course comprised of the finest local ingredients. Hilltop 1892 carries decades of tradition by offering quintessential American cuisine and craft cocktails accompanied by daily specials, friendly service and panoramic views that are sure to enhance the guest’s dining experience. A Novato landmark since 1892, the restaurant was completely renovated by owner Erick Hendricks in 2010.
Let us dazzle you with our cocktails.
Let us excite you with our food.
Experience and celebrate the landmark this Saturday at Hilltop 1892!