August 10, 2011

Soup to Nuts:
Farm to table, the Miyake way

Eminent Portland chef Masa Miyake is living his dream of producing meat and vegetables for his restaurants on his own farm in Freeport.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 3)

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Chef Masa Miyake prepares lunch at his restaurant on Fore Street in Portland. This summer some of the food served at Miyake’s two restaurants has been produced at the farm behind his home in Freeport.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Chad Conley, seen here with quail chicks, manages the Miyake Farm in Freeport.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

In another part of the plot is a small amount of buckwheat with small white flowers. There are just enough plants to make a couple of pounds of buckwheat flour. Conley has never grown grain before, but he wants to see if the flowers are edible, and then cut it down, dry it and use it for chicken feed over the winter.

Reaching down, Conley plucks a couple of thin, serrated leaves from an herb he's growing called shungiku. It's an edible chrysanthemum, and the piquant flavor is pleasant yet unlike anything else Mainers have likely seen on a dinner plate.

"As it gets bigger, (the flavor) probably gets a little too intense," Conley said. "But I haven't eaten it at any other stage. I'm not sure. I'm going to grow some of it pretty large and see what happens."

Conley chuckles at the thought of this, but it's the kind of experimentation he wouldn't be able to do at a larger farm, and that's fueling his enthusiasm for the job. It feeds the chef in him, as well as the farmer.

"I just understand the response those cooks are going to have when I bring in a guinea hen or this herb shungiku, which nobody has ever heard of," Conley said. "I understand how exciting that is for a cook when that product is coming through the door."

 

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: mgoad@pressherald.com

 

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Additional Photos

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Miyake Farm manager Chad Conley inspects a daikon plant. Conley is experimenting with three different varieties of the Japanese radish this season.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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The Miyake Farm in Freeport is also home to chickens, guinea hens, turkeys, ducks and these happy pigs.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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A flock of blue Swedish ducks, which are being raised for eggs.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer



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