From CEO to CSA

In Durham, North Carolina, Eno Restaurant and Market is getting ready to open this summer. Another farm-to-table eatery, which will source its food from the 55-acre Coon Rock Farm (as well as other local farms such as Chapel Hill Creamery, Harris Acres, Cane Creek Farm, and Celebrity Dairy) focuses on a menu that’s regionally influenced and farm-ingredient driven.

Partners  Jamie DeMent and Richard Holcomb have traded the world of C.E.O.’s for the world of C.S.A.’s. From Capitol Hill (for DeMent) and software (for Holcomb) to a sustainable farm that generates heritage-breed meat and heirloom vegetables for 300 C.S.A. members, four farmers’ markets in the Raleigh-Durham area, and Zely & Ritz (a restaurant that Holcomb owns with its chef, Sarig Agasi), they are seeing more impact in their day-to-day work than, say, completing a big deal in Tokyo.

As reported by The New York Times, “the couple’s understanding of marketing and business helped them see new opportunities for 21st-century agriculture.”

“I wanted you to sit down and feel very, very connected to the region and the food,” DeMent says of the restaurant. “I want it to be obvious. That’s why the tabletops will be made from wood from the farm and the waitstaff’s going to work on the farm…It’s all a way to make people more connected to their food. I think that’s one of the biggest problems in civilization right now — no one is connected to their food anymore. If it comes from a window or in a bag, it’s not food.”

The couple expects that Coon Rock Farm will be able to provide 60 percent of what Eno needs the first year, with the optimum goal being 100 percent.

That means some days the staff will have to learn to do without. If there’s no celery, how do you make stock?

Eno will also provide an adjacent market for selling local meats, produce, and cheese to customers–bringing the market right to the restaurant. And CSA members will be able to pick up their produce at the market as well. It’s a transformation of the farmers’ market: Eno will be the model for a farm stand with a wine list.

Anyone going to Durham this summer? Please share your experience if you visit Eno!


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