Local Newtown Chef Takes Farm-To-Table Seriously

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- You can often find Bob Schlump outside of Café Xpresso in Newtown tending to his garden. For the chef and owner of the café, his garden is the source of much culinary inspiration.

Bob Schlump holding some of the fruits of his farm.
Bob Schlump holding some of the fruits of his farm. Photo Credit: Contributed
The tower garden enables their commitment to farm to table.
The tower garden enables their commitment to farm to table. Photo Credit: Contributed

He grows heirloom tomatoes, squash, herbs, strawberries and lettuces on the side of the café. In a matter of hours, some of the day’s harvest will make its way from the garden onto customers’ sandwiches or in salads. Menu items such as their chocolate-zucchini bread, baked from scratch with zucchini from the garden, have been a huge hit with patrons. Locally grown produce is one of the hottest menu trends, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The farm-to-table movement is about eating seasonal foods, based on what is available locally at peak harvest. Schlump is among the growing group of restauranteurs using their green thumbs to place just-picked produce on the menu. Built on the idea that food is best when fresh, it encourages people to swap overprocessed, modified foods for local, natural and unaltered foods. That is the foundation of Café Xpresso’s mission.

Schlump grows a high number and large variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers with a Tower Garden provided by Grow with Moe, also of Newtown. The Tower Garden is a vertical, aeroponic growing system which allows Schlump to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in less than 3 square feet—indoors or out. The Tower Garden uses water, liquid nutrients and a soilless growing medium to quickly and efficiently grow more colorful, tastier, better smelling and nutritious produce.

Café Xpresso serves coffee, fresh baked goods and espresso drinks as well as a full line of soups, salads, and sandwiches all made to order. Located at 150 S. Main St. or Route 25 in Newtown, the restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for the website.

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