More families are turning to natural and organic foods far beyond their fruits and veggies, now looking for dairy, eggs, and meat products that are grass-fed, cage-free, and free from hormones and antibiotics. Numerous health benefits greet consumers who choose these products over the mass-produced, packaged meats and poultry that have long been the standard choice. At the Yardley Inn Restaurant & Bar they are going the extra mile – literally – to responsibly source all restaurant operations, securing only the best grass-fed beef for the inn’s steaks, burgers, and other dishes, among countless other smart choices in the menu and beyond.
The Mayo Clinic reports that grass-fed beef may have some heart healthy benefits as compared to other beef products, such as more omega-3 fatty acids, more antioxidant vitamins, and less overall fat, among others. Some research also suggests that lean beef can help to reduce LDL and total cholesterol, as well as overall calorie count in meals containing red meat. With this in mind, consumers’ choice of what and where to eat can impact their health in more ways than one. (For more information on the benefits of grass-fed beef click here.)
At the Yardley Inn they grind their beef fresh for burgers and meatloaf daily. The blend currently consists of chuck, sirloin, and brisket, all from grass-fed, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free sources. The health and satisfaction of all guests remain key focal points for the Yardley Inn. Each year in business brings along exciting advances in procuring fresh, flavorful ingredients and support for local agriculture in Bucks County and surrounding areas. (For sources of locally raised grass-fed beef and pastured pork see this post.)
Eben Copple, the Yardley Inn’s executive chef, has his own deep-seated beliefs about food freshness and flavor. Just a few years ago, he masterminded a farm-to-fork kitchen garden for the Yardley Inn, which continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The inn’s garden initiative includes the Riverside Garden, which is irrigated by the Delaware River, as well as a plot of farmland a few miles from the restaurant, where various other fruits and vegetables grow and food wastes develop into nutrient-rich compost. The long-term vision for these beds and fields is to one day become a fully functional, four-season garden. Right now, the garden does sustain some collard greens, kale, and purple cabbage during the winter months, but the future outlook aims at greater variety and volume. Springtime will make way for beans, beets, radishes, sunchokes, tomatoes in many varieties, and countless other vegetables, herbs, and even a few fruits.
“Usually the highest quality ingredients available are those grown closest to you,” Copple says. “The less those ingredients have to travel, the more likely they have been allowed to mature fully. A tomato allowed to ripen to almost bursting is always so much better than one that has been picked before its time. We will continue to grow and to search out and buy the best local ingredients we can, to be able to pass along the quality to our guests.”
In addition to bringing its own produce right off the vine and into the kitchen during much of the year, the Yardley Inn also supports local farmers for a wide array of poultry products, dairy items, and all pork products, including bacon, from Berkshire hogs. The inn partners extensively with Griggstown Quail Farm for chicken, eggs, quail eggs, turkey breast, and chicken wings. Much of the restaurant’s dairy needs—butter, dairy cream, milk—come from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, a co-op that helps to support a lot of farmers in Lancaster County.
The Yardley Inn’s entire cheese plate appetizer features fresh, local cheese from New Jersey, Lancaster area, and Bucks County’s own Ely Farm Products. All cheeses found in the restaurant’s dishes come from within 100 miles of Yardley.
“I intend to keep working toward the goal of having all the animal products we receive from honey to milk to bison be from sources I approve of and that fall into our responsible sourcing philosophy,” Copple says. “We make everything in-house and use nothing artificial or processed in our food. We don’t use anything with trans-fats. We have total control over what ends up on our guests’ plates. Much of our everyday menu is gluten-free for the rapidly growing segment of our society with a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. These dishes are clearly marked on the menu. Of course we also have our gardens, which continue to provide fresh herbs and some hearty greens into the winter months.”
You’ll find the Yardley Inn at 82 East Afton Avenue in Yardley, PA, overlooking the Delaware River. You can contact them at 215.493.3800 or at their website, www.YardleyInn.com.