quick snacks with our co-hosts:

I’m lucky to have some amazing co-hosts on Sourcing Matters. This deep line-up of leaders with diverse expertise throughout food systems, agriculture and finance enhance each conversation. What a fantastic legion we have here in the Northeast.    about us:



 

 

Ep. 48: Michael Leviton, Chef-advocate, food system reformer -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, past Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

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On episode 48 we welcome celebrated chef, advocate and food system reformer – Michael Leviton.  As past chef-owner of Boston area favorites Lumière and Area Four, Michael has recently spawned “Region Foodworks” – an initiative providing regionally sourced and produced bulk products for the institutional food service market.

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After working alongside some of the world’s best chefs at Square One, Le Cirque, and La Bernadin – Michael Leviton returned to his hometown of Newton, Massachusetts in 1999 to open Lumière.  In Lumière’s first two years in business, the restaurant was recognized as one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit, and Michael was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine.  In 2011, Leviton opened Area Four, a wood-burning oven/bar and attached coffeehouse/bakery. Modern and minimalistic in both menu and design, each property earned local and national recognition for serving highest quality product, sourced locally and all scratch made, at a price point and in a setting that is accessible to all.

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Tune-In to our conversation to hear how Michael’s experience San Francisco, New York and in Paris influenced this launch of these world-renowned restaurants in the suburbs of Boston.  Sourcing local food from regional farms using elevated production standards in the Northeast is surely how Leviton cast his name. But, his influence has since created a movement – and not just here, in the Northeast.  Leviton’s time as chair of the organization ‘The Chef’s Collaborative‘ from 2010-2014 influenced a generation of top chefs.  He’s established a tree of disciples and understudies who share similar interest for values in the food and neighborhoods they serve.   In fact, he’s cultivated a formula that when put in the proper hands can be overlaid in many metropolitan burbs throughout the US.

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Now, Michael works to maximize throughput of local and regional production by focusing his business on “offering producers a fair price for the work they do.”  Through Regional FoodWorks it’s Leviton’s objective to rejigger supply chains by offering consistent demand for regional food – with –  business commitments for local producers – offering new growth and capacity-building opportunities for the regions he serves.
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Joining the chat as co-host is Scott Soares – former commissioner of Massachusetts Agriculture, and served as the Director of USDA Rural Development for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the Obama administration.  Scott has 15 years of fishery and aquaculture experience prior to that – including early in his career serving as the 1st Massachusetts coordinator of aquaculture for nearly a decade.
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The scale that Leviton works in has changed, but he’s maintained a commitment to food’s value throughout each market he enters.  As he explains – he didn’t start a chefs movement towards more local food on the East Coast, but he’s surely instigated i!  And now, as a rock start of local and sustainable food – Michael Leviton is leveraging his voice to make more great things happen.
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@MLeviton1



co-host:

Scott Soares

  • Past Commissioner MA Agriculture 
  • Dir. USDA Rural Dev Northeast for Obama administration
  • 15 years of fishery & Aquaculture experience
  • Served as 1st MA coordinator of aquaculture for a decade

@SjSoares65

 

Ep. 45: Bill Mook, CEO and Founder of Mook Sea Farm -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, past Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

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On episode 45 we welcome Bill Mook, founder and CEO of Mook Sea farm. Mook Sea Farm is an oyster farm founded in 1985 on the Damariscotta River in Midcoast Maine. They rear the American oyster from egg to adult size. Currently, the hatchery produces 120 million juvenile oysters (seed) annually for sale to other oyster growers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, and for our own cultivation of Wiley Point and Pemaquid Point oysters for the half-shell market.

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They’re surely good eating, but oysters represent so much good to their surrounds, the shared environments, and the communities they support. You see, each adult oyster filters 50 gallons of water daily, they restore keystone marine ecosystems, and they build protective reefs around susceptible coastal communities – protecting us from storm surge and severe weather events. In this 45 minute discussion Bill Mook goes into details describing why Oysters are so important to the stability of seas, and to our planet.

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As you’ll hear, Mook has implemented bleeding-edge R&D in his hatchery that is second to none. Innovations include development of methods for overwintering seed out of the water; a tidal powered nursery system; a vessel and gear for mechanizing the use of OysterGro™ cages; and a unique, energy efficient, and highly productive system for growing the micro-algae we use for food in the hatchery.  Effectively his approach to “brew” feed for Oysters, or for other animals for that matter, sets to be revolutionary.

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Joining the conversation as a first time co-host is Scott Soares.  Soares is former commissioner of Massachusetts Agriculture, and served as the Director of USDA Rural Development for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the Obama administration.  Scott has 15 years of fishery and aquaculture experience prior to that – including early in his career serving as the 1st Massachusetts coordinator of aquaculture for nearly a decade.

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If you care about the health of the Oceans, the solidarity of working waterfronts & local economies, the sanctity of place, or if you just like to eat great seafood – have a listen to what this agent of change is doing in the clean cold waters of Maine.

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@MookSeaFarm



co-host:

Scott Soares

  • Past Commissioner MA Agriculture 
  • Dir. USDA Rural Dev Northeast for Obama administration
  • 15 years of fishery & Aquaculture experience
  • Served as 1st MA coordinator of aquaculture for a decade

@SjSoares65