Letter from Editor
The numbers don’t add up. If you had told me three years ago that Edible Tulsa would publish an issue in Summer 2017 that would contain not one, not two, not three but four stories about restaurants, I would have asked you to go check yourself. Not because there were no good restaurant stories in 2014, there just weren’t many restaurants in our area sourcing locally. If there wasn’t a local name and face behind its ingredients, the place probably wasn’t on our editorial radar.
Fast forward to me writing this letter today and I’m the one checking myself. Granted, one story is about a butcher shop that serves breakfast, lunch and a quite amazing brunch, but here in this issue we tell four tales revolving around restaurants that are raising the bar for their commitment to local family farms.
One café you’ll read about made a commitment to a local farmer to buy 12,000 chicken breasts in 2017. That’s a staggering number, a figure that doesn’t even begin to quantify the impact on our local food economy or our shared ecosystem. Even more establishments stepped up to commit to buy and use the other parts of those birds—to effectively chef-crowdfund 6,000 chickens. Remember that term and remember that it happened first in Tulsa.
There are a few less uplifting numbers that don’t make sense to me. One of my favorite young farmers walked away from farming this season. Even with so much intelligence and promise, he decided—like so many before him—maybe he could do better off the farm. I’ve known no less than eight Oklahoma farmers and ranchers who have given up farming over the past few years. When you add passion to hard work it’s supposed to produce a desirable outcome. We tell the next generation that is the equation for success. Only the math doesn’t always work.
So many positive strides have been made for sustainable food in recent years, but the science and the calculations aren’t on the side of the small farmer. The good news: I feel like we are at a tipping point in our community. The stories in these pages represent where we are going.
You don’t have to buy 12,000 chicken breasts to fund an Oklahoma farmer. Start with one. Whenever you eat out, ask what’s local. Make the math work.