Looking out our windows from the Tom Douglas restaurants in downtown, Belltown, and South Lake Union, we see old vintage brick buildings, a buzz of high rise construction, views of the Puget sound, and…a lot of concrete. Here, we would like to introduce you to some of the land and the people that provide us with the incredible seasonal produce that our restaurants enjoy May through October, and to remind us all where our food comes from.
We are proud to be part of such a rich community of farmers, purveyors and producers both in our immediate vicinity, in eastern Washington, and the waters the Puget Sound. There is nowhere as diverse in local deliciousness, and we could not be more delighted to bring that to your plates.
For 23 years, Tom Douglas and Jackie Cross have been letting this place tell them what to serve. In 2006, they decided to buy a piece of land for family, friends, and of course—food. What started out as a backyard garden is now home to a team of dedicated farmers, led by Jackie, her dad Jim, her (not-evil and totally-amazing) stepmom Sharon, and Serious Pie cooks Dev Patel and Zack Chamberlain, who cultivate 6 acres of land, yielding more than 50,000 pounds of produce a year.
The season is now upon us, and the truck has just started to make its weekly trip across the pass, bringing our restaurants green garlic, radishes, chives and chive blossoms, pac choi, peas, and asparagus from our neighbors. The truck is not yet packed to the brim, but come July, we will be playing vegetable Tetris, trying to fit just one more eggplant on the truck, destined for spreading on fresh Lola pita.
We are here to share—our story, our produce, and our hard work. We hope you will enjoy this with us and that you have the opportunity to taste the fruits of our labor.
Welcome to the farm!
And here’s an asparagus recipe to keep you hoping that the season will never end:
Grilled Asparagus with Star-Anise Hazelnut Mayonnaise/ Tom Douglas
From Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen
Notes: Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 375°F oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and aromatic. To remove the skins, put the hazelnuts, while they are still warm, in a clean kitchen towel and rub them together using the towel. Don’t worry about removing every last bit of skin, just get off whatever skin you can remove easily.
To grind spices, use a spice mill or a clean electric coffee grinder.
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends snapped off
Olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Hazelnut Star Anise Mayonnaise:
2 egg yolks
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1½ teaspoons honey
2 star anise, ground (about 1 teaspoon) (see notes)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup peanut or vegetable oil
½ cup toasted, skinned, and finely chopped hazelnuts (see notes)
1 orange, sliced or cut into wedges for garnish
In a food processor, combine the yolks, vinegar, citrus juices and zest, honey, salt, and pepper. While the processor is running, add the oil in a steady stream until the mixture is emulsified. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the chopped hazelnuts for a garnish and process the rest briefly with the mayonnaise. Remove the mayonnaise to a small bowl.
Fire up the grill. Brush the asparagus with oil and lay across the grill grates (as opposed to parallel with them). This prevents them from falling through the grates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll the asparagus with tongs to grill them evenly, and don’t be afraid to char them a little bit. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the asparagus and the heat of the grill. Medium-thick asparagus takes about 6 minutes.
Arrange the asparagus in bundles on plates. Drape some of the mayonnaise over each bundle. Sprinkle the remaining chopped toasted hazelnuts over the mayonnaise and garnish with slices or wedges of orange.