Updated: Dec 17, 2019
"FEAST! organizers launched a new award at the 2019 event last weekend in honor of a dedicated local foods champion, lost last year to cancer. The Nicci Sylvester Award was presented to Jennifer Becker and Erik Kleven of Bleu Duck Kitchen and Tim Wiste of Tonic Local Kitchen and Juice Bar in recognition of their dedication to sourcing ingredients from local farms."
Read the article in the PostBulletin
Read the article on KROC
Nicci Sylvester, who passed away in 2018, was a true champion of local foods and a great supporter of local farms and our farmers market. She regularly visited the market to connect with new growers, and offered her support as a guest chef and educator, sharing with others her passion for healthy foods and sustainable choices. We're delighted that the FEAST Local Foods Network decided to honor Nicci's legacy with this award!
The two restaurants honored for embodying Nicci's legacy this year were Tonic Local Kitchen and Juice Bar and Bleu Duck Kitchen. We asked our growers to speak up about these great restaurants - here is what they had to say:
“We were so pleased to see Tim and the rest of the Tonic team pick up after losing Nicci. They regularly buy our beef and always honor our arrangement for how we prefer to be paid, which is pretty important for small farmers like us. It’s great that they can work with so many farmers in our area!”
- Paul Wiens, Misty Meadows Farm
"Blue Duck Kitchen was one of the first restaurants to give us chance as a young upstart company, and our partnership has grown ever since. Eric, Jen, and Jordan have constantly challenged us to bring new and exciting products to the table. Often we will roll out new micros to them first, and they are always eager to incorporate them into their menu. They promote us through displaying our product to their customers on a daily basis. We have had family and friend comment “we at at the Bleu Duck, were those your microgreens we saw in the kitchen window?” Blue Duck has even borrowed out our product they payed for to other chefs. Thank you for the support and inspiring us guys! Rivers Edge appreciates what you do, and you are the true example of a locally sourced restaurant!"
- Mark Nelson, Rivers Edge Market Garden
"It has been a joy working with Bleu Duck and seeing all the interesting dishes they come up with using our produce!"
- Jonathan Stensgard, Pine Creek Farms
"Bleu Duck has always been a great supporter of local grown product. They not only use fresh grown tomatoes and lettuce, but many of my products. I have seen many of my fellow vendors from the market at the restaurant. They are always happy to get the best product and make wonderful food."
- Andrew Serio, Serio Farms
" Eric Kleven and crew are quality players in the local food scene. They have been customers of Schmidt Farm produce since they opened the doors. We love it when they step out on a limb and try something new like black garlic. Jordan will open a case of asparagus, slice a spear and taste it. Not because they don't trust us, but because they won't settle for anything less than exquisite quality."
- Paul Schmidt, Schmidt Farm