Food & Drink

The Traveled Farmer Gets Settled in Midtown

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Brussel sprouts from the Traveled Farmer.

@triadfoodies

Greensboro’s newest restaurant, The Traveled Farmer, is taking the leap and has opened its doors ahead of schedule. As its name implies, Traveled Farmer is a farm-to-table restaurant that celebrates local ingredients with a global twist. At its heart, it will revere the farmer and allow diners to create connections to the food around us.

In what used to be the Marshall Free House, a British gastropub, the theme made a “brexit” and has been revamped with a farmers market within. You’ll be able to sit down and have lunch or dinner, grab a drink, or if you are running short on time, you’ll be able to grab items for dinner whether it’s farmer’s market veggies, meats, dairy or eggs. Specialty items are available as well in addition to some prepared items from Chef Jay Pierce’s kitchen.

The Traveled Farmer owner, Marty Kotis, and Chef Pierce wanted to create a triple threat. One part market where you can shop with local produce, meats and eggs; a restaurant that makes its dishes from the market that you just shopped but also sells grab and go items like egg salad, sandwiches or hot soup; and meal kits featuring components like local pasta, sauce and meatballs for a restaurant experience that customers can prepare at home after a busy day.

“The idea in its simplest form is that, typically, farmers come in the back door and the produce they bring goes into dry storage or in the cooler and they wait to be chopped up and cooked beyond recognition before you ever get to see them,” Pierce said. “So why not turn that on its head? As the farmers walk through the front door and we store their produce and they bring some extra and keep it here where you can buy it.”

It’s basically a more accessible version of a weekend farmers market with all of its integrity, which some might not be able to get to because of their weekend schedule. Pierce says they wanted to bring to the home cook a taste of what chefs and cooks experience when that farmer walks into their kitchen. “The farmers trust us already. Let’s have them walk through the front door and grab a bite to eat or grab a beer so they can talk to their customers about what to do with their products,” Pierce added. “You’d be amazed at the conversations that come through the back door when the farmers are dropping off. And our cooks’ eyes light up because they’ve never seen carrot tops so beautiful.”

The Traveled Farmer will also be a drop-off point for local farmer’s CSA’s.

We’ve been checking out Traveled Farmer for you. First at a private tasting with Chef Jay Pierce that featured various courses, cocktails and dessert. And this past weekend, the final days of the soft opening. It was a “practice dinner” to raise money for No Kid Hungry and Dustin’s GreenHouse, a local, service-based leadership program that serves underprivileged high school students in Guilford County. Guests were invited to attend and try several small plates and entrees as well as a dessert tasting. There was no charge for the food but all guests donated $10 to the charities for their meals and drinks. About $7500 were raised for the two charities.

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Blackened catfish with Hoppin’ John and collard greens.

The new menu says this: An ingredient-driven restaurant featuring global flavors to satisfy your everyday cravings. On it, you’ll find sweet potato chips, loaded grits, flash fried cauliflower, and chicken and rice soup but also some more “traveled” flavors like rare tuna tostadas (a big favorite), fried shrimp hand salad with salsa Valentina, white sauce, feta in gem lettuce (also amazing) and by demand, the popular Scotch Eggs. Traveled Farmer owner Marty Kotis said it was too popular at the former Marshall Free House to not keep it. Also not to be missed, the “Not” Pimento Cheese which features white cheddar cheese and chilies (rather than pimento) and artisan crackers. If you can help it, do not miss the broccoli pasta. It’s quite simply, broccoli and Drake’s pasta (from High Point). It’s light and simple and incredibly pleasing.

As for bigger plates, you’ll find a burger, fried chicken with collards and mac and cheese and this amazing blackened catfish with Hoppin’ John and collard greens. Additionally, some of the more traveled flavors include spaghetti and meatballs, and the incredible Korean Rice Bowl with charred pork shoulder, pickled vegetables and soft egg over rice. It’s outstanding. Pierce explained the concept at a recent tasting. “Whenever you say ingredient-driven or local food, people assume it’s a Southern restaurant,” he said. “So we wanted to explode that box a little bit, yet we didn’t want to avoid it because that would be to deny a very rich heritage.” It might not be the way you’ve eaten chicken, collard greens and sweet potatoes but Pierce says flavors on the menu should be very relatable.

Sweeter plates feature a take on banana pudding, sweet potato pie, chocolate s’mores, apple cobbler and key lime pie.

The bar is still run by the award-winning Mark Weddle and features a few new drinks including a very fun one called the “Cereal Killer.” It features local spirits and some cordials infused with Cocoa Puffs Cereal to create a kicked up adult cereal milk. A few puffs of cereal get dropped in for fun and it’s served in a bowl.

Pierce says he’s looking forward to bringing the new dynamic to Greensboro’s midtown.

“I just think that breaking down walls and connecting local farmers and artisans with passionate local food people is key and that’s what we’re hoping to bring here.”

Wanna go? The Traveled Farmer is located at 1211 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro.

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