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McGill’s Mangalitsas. Aren’t they cute?

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Scenery at Matt Dillon's Old Chaser Farm.

Our cover story this month highlights Seattle eaters’ close connection to the earth—from farming to fishing to foraging, and all manner of points between. We also list the local restaurants which source produce and meat from their own farms, rendering the term “farm-to-table dining” more than just a tagline.

Of particular note is the expansion of Hitchcock owner/chef Brendan McGill’s Bainbridge Island acreage, Shady Acres Farm, to include space for pigs, more vegetables, even flowers.

“Shady Acres is really wooded, and I started lusting after big sunny fields,” McGill told me. So he expanded his acreage and hired a full-time farmer, to tend his exceptionally flavorful Mangalitsa pigs and cross-breeds, along with his rows and rows of lettuces, kales, romanescos, and flowers. Also Icelandic sheep. Also ducks.

Though McGill’s been farming three years now, this year’s newly expanded harvest is a whole new ballgame. “I did it myself for the first couple years, did my research, read my Steve Solomon,” McGill says. “But this year, we’ve opened a whole new door. We’re gonna have a surplus!”

And he thought running a restaurant was exciting.

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