The Golden Pig is more than fine cuisine. It’s about sharing good times with friends and family at a casual gathering place, with sophisticated charm inspired by old-town history. It’s about a sense of community. It’s about people. And working with farmers, ranchers, gardeners, brewers, and winemakers to provide an authentic small-town, local dining experience with recipes to Sip and Savor, leaving each guest feeling better than when they entered.
Our restaurant is FARM DRIVEN and was founded on the belief that food produced on healthy soil, with clean water, lots of sunshine and minimal intervention will keep you healthy. By investing in the land and the farmer, we’re creating a culture that strengthens goodwill among local businesses, and not only delivers fine food to each of our customers, but serves as an educational source that inspires dialogue about the sustainable food movement, seasonality, and stewardship.
SIP & SAVOR at The Golden Pig isn’t just a name. It’s a frame of mind – a philosophy where people, animals and the environment come before profits. Because it feels good to cook with honest ingredients. And it feels even better knowing we’re nurturing a sustainable food culture for future generations.
People always ask us why we opened this restaurant. And what type of cuisine we specialize in. What they’re really after is “Why are you different? Why do you matter?”. We try and turn it around a bit, and ask “Why do your choices in eating matter?” You, see, for us, it’s all about the farm. We consider ourselves lucky to be the stewards of the Heart Arrow Ranch. 3000 acres of paradise high above Redwood Valley. We share this small part of the world with native species of plants and animals, less than 80 acres is what most would recognize as a “farm”. The vast majority is rangeland for our animals that permit a healthy population of native species to co-exist. Yet, it’s the balance of our animals and their natural by-products that permit us to replenish and nurture the soils of our farm. We try to balance the animal load to optimize the grassland ecology and at the same time provide for compost and healthy preparations that feed the soil in the farm areas. We, of course, don’t use pesticides or chemicals. If you take care of the soils, not only will your farm thrive in terms of production, it will turn out the most delicious and nutritious food you’ve ever tasted.
After years of farming this way and trying to be a part of the Farm-To-Table revolution, we were frustrated farmers. We would open a relationship with a new restaurant, they would write glowingly of our produce or pork, put us on their website and start a successful run. But eventually, almost every one of these (some with Michelin stars), succumbed to the profit Gods and cut back on their food suppliers in favor of factory or mono-culturally farmed products, by definition, less expensive in terms of daily pricing. The problem we were having was our type of farming and it’s delicious healthy food products was actually spurring more factory farm growth! When we looked around, we didn’t see more people farming like us, we saw more people specializing in a single product for maximized profit.
Years ago we got into the wine business to show how special wine could be made from our fantastic Biodynamic® grapes. We were among the first certified vineyards in California, and now there are thousands of organically certified and hundreds of Biodynamic vineyards in the state. So we thought why not the restaurant business? Let’s demonstrate a successful model that other restaurants can follow. All with the same guiding principles of people farming to save the planet.
We think the Restaurateur has a responsibility beyond local and farm-fresh. We have a responsibility to the system to support and create an incentive for people to farm in balance with nature. And an even bigger one NOT to support factory and mono-cultural farming of plants and animals. We looked at all the great cuisines of the earth and spotted a common denominator: all of them had evolved from local ecosystems of the best available products! We realized the original cuisine had disappeared and replaced by decreasing the nutritional value of the food product through its intensified processing. So we’ve entered yet another venture in our lives, once again in unchartered waters, to see if we can create a commercially successful restaurant that makes a customer think about how that nutritious food was farmed or raised; We hope that we can spark a conversation about farming practices that are not only nutritious and delicious but leave the land in better shape than when we found it. Who knows if this will work? But we are out to do the most we can with the short time we’re given and we’re loving every minute of the journey.