George Page launched Sea Breeze Farm on the northern knob of Vashon Island thirteen years ago, populating its green fields with cows, poultry, pigs, and sheep…and, in time, appropriating their yields into a thriving dairy and butcher business.
And, in 2008—a restaurant. La Boucherie was the ultimate farm-to-table experience, as uniquely happens when the table is on the farm, serving eight-course communal dinners of such elegance and distinction they routinely drew guests from off-island, even out-of-state. A couple of my foodiest readers rhapsodized about the fresh meat preparations, the amazing charcuterie, and the very careful service, importuning me to grab a ferry already and come down.
Too many worthy spots between me and Vashon intervened, however, and I never made it. In March La Boucherie ceased its regular business.
“There is a lot of logistical effort involved with running a restaurant,” Page understates. “It was particularly challenging on an island where the customer flow is seasonal but it’s necessary to maintain a staff year-round. It feels refreshing to just simplify.”
“Simplify,” that is, to just running a farm, a butcher business, and a dairy. (Oh, and a winery: Sweetbread Cellars.)
And, Page reassured me, the occasional farm dinner.
“We will still do farm dinners, only now just once or twice a month,” Page explains. “But I’m not going to take reservations through Facebook, the website, or email. The only way to get in the door is to talk to me face-to-face at either the University District Farmers Market on Saturdays or the Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays.”
Filling up the 20-seat dinners that way fosters a direct communal involvement that feels more personalized, says Page, and therefore more rewarding. He joins guests for dinner, after first showing them around the farm (guests get to milk the cows, observe the cheesemaking process, taste the wine) and getting to know his guests.
He’s sold out through August, but can undoubtedly be persuaded to start in on the fall books. (As long as you’re persuading him in person.)