Through The Urban Food Project, Taylor Clark has helped create a Farm to Corner Store program and the infrastructure to connect Alabama farmers with communities lacking access to nutritious food and with Birmingham’s finest restaurants alike. As a result, more neighborhoods are able to obtain fresh produce, store owners in low-income communities are better equipped to successfully sell such produce, and chefs can easily purchase local food items.
Q & A
How many suppliers do you work with? All local or regional?
Our network of farmers includes individuals as well as cooperatives. We don’t buy from every farmer every week. Time of year, crop schedules, and weather dictate who we buy from and when. We have about 10 producers we buy from consistently each week. Our farmer friends are located all over the state—from the Gulf to North Alabama.
Where can we find the produce from these farmers?
Restaurants like John’s City Diner, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Niki’s West, Rojo, Silvertron Café, Slice, Urban Cookhouse, Little Savannah, and Collins Bar proudly source local produce through the Urban Food Project. Baking Bandits, a start-up bakery, features our products in baked goods sold at Pepper Place Market.
What types of produce do you distribute?
We distribute seasonal products – field grown, greenhouse grown, conventional, and organic. In the spring we distributed cool weather crops such as strawberries, head lettuce, baby salad greens, collards and turnips, kale, radishes, spring onions, leeks, and cabbage. This summer we’re distributing what I call The Alabama Classics: tomatoes, squash, okra, corn, watermelon, and peaches. Additionally, we’ll deliver a variety of heirloom tomatoes, squash, peppers, peas, and eggplant. In the fall we’ll have sweet potatoes, more greens, and one of my personal favorites—satsumas, which is similar to a tangerine.
Favorite Kitchen Tool
“I just discovered the beauty of a food processor and don’t know how I lived without one! I use it for making peanut butter, pesto, fruit jams, and more. It can make daunting recipes super simple and quick.”
REV Birmingham revitalizes places and energizes business to create vibrancy in the City of Birmingham. REV is an economic development organization that stimulates business growth and improves quality of life in Birmingham’s City Center and neighborhood centers. REV is a public-private partnership formed in 2012 by the strategic merger of Operation New Birmingham and Main Street Birmingham. revbirmingham.org
Taylor’s Everyday Arugula Salad
“I eat arugula salad every day, sometimes twice a day. This is my all-time favorite salad green!” – Taylor Clark
1/2 pound fresh, local arugula
1/4 cup sliced or chopped sweet peppers
6-8 grape tomatoes (halved)
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
2-3 large strawberries sliced (or your favorite seasonal fruit. Blackberries, blueberries, or satsumas are great.)
3-5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 boiled egg (I prefer mine soft-boiled for 6 minutes.)
Handful of chopped walnuts or silvered almonds
1 tablespoon crumbled Belle Chevre goat
cheese (or freshly shredded parmesan)
Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk a 1/4 cup olive oil, juice from one lemon, a pinch of herbs provence (or your favorite combination), and a dash of salt and pepper. With so much amazing local flavor in this salad, less is more when it comes to dressing.
Produced by Madison A. Jinks • photography by Major Adam Colbert