Spike Gjerde
Woodberry Kitchen
Baltimore, Md.

Baltimore might seem an unlikely setting for a landmark locavore restaurant — cut to Hamsterdam in The Wire — but it actually makes perfect sense. In true B’more, living-outside-the-lines style, Gjerde embraces local food while refusing to be classified as a “farm-to-table” chef. In fact, he rejects the term altogether: “I think we can do so much more than the tropes that are associated with that.”

Why we chose this restaurant:md_post

Gjerde prides himself on maintaining direct, face-to-face relationships with regional farmers — “I’m not anti-certification, but … it’s much more about the conversation,” he says — and eschewing large-scale monocultures and livestock production. Woodberry has also developed a practice of whole-animal butchery, which is being scaled up at Gjerde’s new butcher shop, Parts & Labor. Local seafood, surprisingly, is the hardest part of Gjerde’s sourcing: “The [Chesapeake Bay] is so depleted, and the pressures upon it are not being reduced; they’re intensifying.”

Let’s cut the sustainability BS:

“The whole conversation about sustainability is comical to me,” says Gjerde, who argues that people are “so happy to apply that label to anything that seems even remotely better, in some generalized sense, than the status quo. Doesn’t that bother you?”

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