If you’ve worked in, around, or with, any number of restaurants in the Twin Cities metro, you may already have heard of Chad Forsberg of Footjoy Farms. He’s a man who has spent half his lifetime carefully sourcing and growing much sought after varieties of heirloom vegetables for local chefs and restaurants. From his own desire to grow enough food to sustain himself, came a business that gave him the opportunity to grow these magnificent varieties from seeds sourced the world over. While he forged this path around 20 years ago, well ahead of the heirloom trend, he’s got a new business venture in the works that is a natural evolution to the work he’s been doing. It’s ambitious, inventive, exciting, and you – yes you – can help make it a reality by helping Chad meet his goal on his Kickstarter campaign that kicked off October 18.
Footjoy Brewfarm will be an authentic farmhouse brewery, restaurant, year round event space, and specialty produce farm – all in one. It would not only be a unique place to get together with friends and family, as it would also provide an opportunity to truly connect with where your food (and beer) comes from. The goal for the project is set: 90% or more of the food being served and 90% or more of the grain bill and hops for the beer, to come directly off the farm in as little as two years’ time. Currently, there is no other space like this in the Midwest.
Another aspect of Footjoy Brewfarm is a little more complicated, but nonetheless extremely important for the region, and potentially – the world. What could it be you ask? The grains. The farm will grow barley for the beer, wheat and rye for breads, crackers and pizza crusts, durum for pasta – you get the picture, a lot of different grains will be involved. But not just any grains, mind you. For the past several years Chad has been experimenting with landrace heritage grains in ways that have never been done before. The seeds that most grain farmers have access to these days are limited to the hybridized seeds that are bred for disease resistance and high yield, not flavor. So Chad took it upon himself to get a variety of diverse grain seeds from all over the world, in teaspoon-sized allotments from the USDA Seed Bank. He’s been working on over 200 varieties, testing them in different seasons and slowly growing his cache of seeds. From jet black naked barley from Ethiopia to chevalier barley used way back in Victorian era Europe, Chad has sourced these historic global grains not only to use them, but to preserve them – to provide a taste of the past, in the present, that you’d be hard to come by anywhere else in the world.
If the idea of being connected to your food, and the past, isn’t enough to convince you that this project is awesome – just get a load of some of the Kickstarter rewards. How would you like a night on the farm with dinner cooked by chef Mike Brown and the team at Travail? Plus, there are planned farm dinners will be also be put on by chef Jorge Guzman of Surly Brewer’s Table, chef Jim Christiansen of Heyday, chef Erick Harcey of Upton 43, even a full blown “French country picnic” with an all star team of 10 chefs including Tim McKee and Mike DeCamp of the former La Belle Vie.
With all of these extremely well-respected and great chefs of the Twin Cities behind him, we have no doubt Chad will make Footjoy Brewfarm a reality, but as with any project of this scale, it can’t be done alone. The Kickstarter campaign is live now. Follow the Facebook page for details.