In recent years, it has become commonplace to include every farm and farmer on restaurant menus. This was initially greeted as a good idea -- it taught us to appreciate where our food was coming from and, in doing so, it brought new attention to farmers who were doing things the right way.
At some point, avid restaurant-goers began to see it as overkill. They were reading about farms and farmers and small towns in far-off lands they had never heard of, and they didn't know what to make of all the names. Some restaurants began dialing it back, mentioning the source only when it really seemed to matter.
The Porch, the new restaurant that opened on K Street in midtown recently (in the building occupied for years by Celestin's) has an excellent way of showcasing its ingredients without shoehorning them onto the menu. A link on the restaurant's website called "Providers" goes into great detail about the origins of the food. For those into this kind of thing, it's quite informative.
The sandwich bread, for instance, is as local as you can imagine -- they get it at Old Soul Bakery, which is a block or two away. The cornmeal comes from Grass Valley Grains, "a small one man farming operation on a fifth generation farm in Wheatland."
The Porch is one of the few restaurants around serving grits. The website tells us: "Our grits are from Ridgecut Gristmill in Chico and from War Eagle Mill in Rogers, Ark. Due to the demand of white hominy corn (used for masa), we can't always get our grits from Chico."
Check out the link and learn a little about The Porch and its products. It's good reading. Further, it shows that this new restaurant, still finding its footing, is already conscientious about sourcing and meticulous about dealing with responsible and ethical farms.
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @Blarob.