In the past couple of years, I've been hearing and seeing the phrase "Farm-To-Table" used a lot. When an establishment says that their menu items are "Farm-To-Table", that means that the produce are coming directly from a locally sourced farm. Oceanside is really bursting into the culinary scene and before I stopped by three amazing restaurants that were using local produce, I went straight to the source: Cyclops Farms.
Just a few miles inland from the Oceanside beaches is a two and a half acre urban farm run by farmer Luke Girling. Luke is a true local and grew up in O'Side. After graduating from The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Program in Santa Cruz, California, he returned to O'Side and began his journey in farming.
When I asked Luke how he found land to farm on, I was fascinated by his story. He had been searching for land to start his farming project and when he came across this one in a residential area, he knocked on the owner's door and proposed his vision.
The owners loved Luke's vision and a month later, the land was leased to him for two years. This was back in 2015 and this year he just signed another two year lease. Not only does the produce go to local restaurants, but it is also sold to the community on the weekends. How cool is it to be able to walk to your neighborhood farm stand and buy fresh organic produce right in front of the farm it comes from? I'm so jealous!
Once a month Cyclops Farms arranges a monthly "Water Bill Dinner" to help fund the farm's water bill. This is a dinner that is held right on Cyclops Farms with local chefs cooking food directly from the farm. This is a real Farm-To-Table dinner experience and I hope to make it to one of them some day. For the next dinner and registration, follow Cyclops Farms on Facebook.
Okay, I can go on for ages about how amazing Luke and Cyclops Farms is, but without further ado, here are the three restaurants I went to that purchases produce from Cyclops Farms.
I instantly fell in love with the decor when I stepped into Miller's Table. The space had such a homey vibe with a large community table at the center of the restaurant.
Miller's table serves sandwiches and small plates, which makes it a great way to taste and share a variety of dishes with friends and family. They also have an amazing rotating selection of wine and hand-picked draft beer, so don't forget to check often on their Facebook page for updates.
Every dish I sampled was amazing and the vegetables had so much flavor. The sandwiches were yummy and I especially loved the bread that was being used. Miller's Table uses bread from a local family-run bakery called Prager Bros. and it was heavenly. Prager Bros. uses organic grains and their breads are naturally leavened.
If you want to have a picnic or enjoy Miller's Table on the beach, no problem. You can call in an order for pick-up and enjoy elsewhere.
The laid back vibe of LTH & Kitchen was dog friendly and carries thirty-two craft beers and ciders. They have been in the business for three years and have already built up an amazing reputation with the community. Their menu changes every three to four months, so there is always reason to come back and try more. I had an amazing plate of ceviche, cauliflower, and egg roll. The plate was so beautiful and looked like a work of art.
I went during the day, but I definitely need to go back and try the "Late Night WTFF Menu". It's a menu dedicated just to french fries!
Located within walking distance from Oceanside Pier, Chef Willy's dishes have a heavy Asian influence. This was a huge plus for me because I love Asian cuisine. Chef Willy is creating quite the buzz and he's only twenty-six years old! His upscale food is divine and are at affordable prices. I honestly could not pick a favorite dish. Every dish I sampled was packed with flavor and left me wanting more.
It's really an exciting time in Oceanside right now as it is quickly becoming San Diego's most impressive culinary destination. I love how the chefs and farmers know each other and are friends. You really get a sense of community in Oceanside and I can't wait to go back and explore more of this amazing laid-back beach town.