Meghan Boledovich, the House Forager at PRINT Restaurant
PRINT Restaurant, Adam Block’s first solo-venture in Hell’s Kitchen, practices a form of sustainability that is tough to rival in our current day of Farm-to-Table everything. Here, sustainability extends beyond the earth and those who farm it, to include those who stand to benefit the most from consuming and learning about locally farmed fare. At PRINT, the restaurant’s house forager, Meghan Boledovich, not only secures fresh and local ingredients for the kitchen, but she also ensures that her providers stay true to the values they preach.
After studying Cultural Anthropology and French in college, Meghan traveled to Aix-en-Provence and Bordeaux, where she said, “I became obsessed with the food culture and farmer’s markets and getting to know my butchers and cheese makers.” However, it wasn’t in France that she first learned about the importance of directly sourcing one’s food.
With a mother who grew up on a farm in Michigan, Meghan went to farmer’s markets as a child and learned about the concept of terroir from her mother, who was a “master gardener and composter”. “She taught me about terroir,” said Meghan. “She said that we had to get peaches from New Haven, an area along the lake that’s known for its produce.”
Meghan at Bodhitree Farm in Burlington County, NJ
After spending time with Meghan, who went on to complete the Food Studies Masters Program at NYU, and learning more about her role at PRINT, we were left head-scratching, wondering just why more restaurants don’t employ their own house foragers. “The position was created to make sure we have true transparency with the products we bring in,” she said, “especially the meat and poultry. It’s such an ethical thing. It’s why I visit the farms to ask questions and make sure I know what’s happening. You’d be surprised to know how much people are proclaiming to be doing certain farming practices and husbandry.”
Knowing that many farmers who work with meat are not certified organic due to the insurmountable costs that arise in sourcing organic feed and finding a humane slaughterhouse, Meghan might seek a farmer that’s certified humane instead.
Practicing transparency, PRINT showcases suppliers on their blog. “It’s a big part of it,” she said, “the personal connection. Look at this producer and the work that they do, how important it is for the environment. We’re not just farm-to-table, it’s on a deeper level.”
Meghan at Raven & Boar
In addition to meeting the high standards of Chef Charles Rodriguez, keeping him current on what’s available at the Union Square Green Market and introducing new items as they become available, Meghan also tends to the restaurant’s rooftop garden and manages PRINT’s relationship with the city’s community.
“We do a lot of work with Wellness in the Schools,” said Meghan, “teaching kids about seasons and cooking, run by Bill Telepan. Chef is really into that. I’ve taken them foraging in Central Park with a professional forager, the Wildman Steve Brill.” She also uses the rooftop garden as a learning tool for visitors. “It’s mostly an herb garden. We use some in the kitchen. I grow wormwood for my bitters [using ICD Technical Reserve]. “
And because Meghan also once worked as a biodynamic wine retailer, she also works with the restaurant’s manager to craft the wine list.
When she’s not working with organizations like the Sylvia Center, City Growers, Just Food and TedX Manhattan, Meghan might be found riding her vegetable bike to the market or foraging in the Hudson Valley or Prospect Park. “I’m really fascinated by it,” she said. “Come spring, we’re so depleted of anything green. Whenever anything green [first] comes out, it’s always from the forest.”