Farm to Fork 2011

Farm to Fork 2011

By Kathleen Wills | Published September 15, 2011

Heirloom tomato fennel soup. Fenugreek gouda on sprouted grain bread with apricot preserves. Parisian- style gnocchi with beef sausage and a spicy sweet chili sauce…..

Believe it or not, these are actual examples of the cuisine you’ll be able to choose from at Rock the Green. Not your standard festival fare – because the food vendors are anything but standard. Some of the best chefs and food experts in town came together to make this happen.

James Beard Award-winning Chef Adam Siegel from the Bartolotta Restaurant Group has played an active role on the food planning committee and his wife, Daria Siegel, brings her food coordination and catering expertise to the event as the Food Committee Director. Diane Strauss, Director of Creative Development at Strauss Free Raised, was also instrumental in bringing everyone to the table.

In keeping with the sustainability efforts of the event, they have made sure that all food is locally-sourced and/or organic whenever possible. The bonus – it’s reasonably priced.

Here is just a sampling of what to expect:

Bacchus and The Rumpus Room – The Bartolotta Restaurant Group

We are so lucky to have the Bartolotta brothers in Milwaukee! Since the opening of their first restaurant in Wauwatosa in 1993, they have opened one impressive restaurant after another. No matter which one you go to, you can always count on exceptional food and impeccable service. Need another reason to love them? Bartolotta give a great deal back to the community via their philanthropic foundation, Care-a-lottas.

Their Rock the Green specialty will be grilled cheese sandwiches. Ingredients will include the award-winning Carr Valley 2yr Cheddar Cheese, sprouted grain bread from Cybro’s Bakery in Waukesha and butter from Grassland in Greenwood, WI. (The tomato soup and Gouda sandwich mentioned above will also be menu items of theirs.)

Outpost Natural Foods

In 1970, concerned Milwaukeans were looking for a way to purchase foods they considered wholesome. They pooled their interest and money together into a cooperative business. Forty years later, Outpost Natural Foods has over 300 workers, 15,500 owners and 3 locations. They have taught us all how to lead a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle while also giving back to the community in more ways than you can imagine.

Apple dishes will be Outpost’s theme, including a Double Crust Apple Pie made from Barthel’s Apples in Mequon, eggs from New Century Farms in Shullsburg and butter from Organic Valley Farms.

Carnevor, Charro, Umami Moto and Ryan Braun’s Graffito – Surg Restaurant Group

Surge Restaurant Group has seven downtown Milwaukee restaurants, all serving upscale cuisine with a different concept. While they’re at it, they source ingredients from local farms and food purveyors as much as possible. We’re thrilled that four of their establishments will be gracing Rock the Green’s grass.

On Carnevor’s menu, you will find a house-made Mangalitsa Sausage, sweet peppers and onions dish using sausage from Hidden Creek Farms in New London, WI and Spring Valley produce. (The Gnocchi Con Fungi mentioned above will be one of Graffito’s entrees.)

Fresh Eco Cafe and Juice Bar

Fresh is a quaint cafe located in Mequon that specializes in fresh squeezed organic juices and smoothies. They also have great organic salads, sandwiches and soups made from scratch.

This will be the place to go to get your fruit fix at Rock the Green. They will blend up organic fruit (and vegetable) smoothies including a Watermelon Aqua Fresca made from organic watermelons from Tipi Farms in Evansville, WI.


Shakthi’s is a Milwaukee catering company specializing in South Indian Food. Their company is based on a very positive culture, including a recruitment process that continues to bring them the most positive and happy people who enjoy creating food – food that inspires and instills positive energy to the mind and body. Charity work is a core value of their business.

You will find items such as Organic Tofu with Spinach and Dhal, Organic Carrot Sprout Salad and Free-Range Chicken Tikka Curry and a Mango Fruit Salad on their menu. All ingredients will be purchased from Outpost Natural Foods and Whole Foods Market.

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Yes, this is a national fast food chain. So what is it doing at our sustainable, local-centric, healthy event? Well, you might not know that Chipotle is committed to serving “food with integrity”, thanks to its Founder, Steve Ells. They source local ingredients wherever possible and 100% of their chicken and 85% of their beef is naturally raised, zero trans-fats are used in frying, there is no rBGH in their dairy products and 40% of their black beans are certified organic. Not bad for a fast food chain, and they’re only getting better!

Chipotle will be serving up $2 tacos. Take your pick from carnitas, barbacoa or vegetarian.

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods is the other national guest that Rock the Green is proud to welcome to its grounds. They have been at the forefront of the organic food movement since the opening of their first store in 1980. Their philanthropic goals are carried out globally and locally through several foundations and programs. To compliment that, they are greatly increasing their efforts to empower individual store and regional buyers to seek out locally grown products. (Milwaukee’s location sports a beer and brat station featuring made-to-order brats, sausages, and barbeque sandwiches, plus six types of kegged local craft beer you can enjoy while watching TV!)

The Whole Foods tent will be your salad source with options such as a Petite Market Salad with Black River Blue Cheese from Willard, WI or a Caesar Salad with chicken from Pine Manor Farms.

Strauss Free Raised

Founded in 1937, this Milwaukee based company has been handed down through three generations. It is thanks to the latest generation that their veal is now free-raised and grass-fed. This means that the calves are never tethered, confined or separated from their mothers, never fed animal by-products nor administered hormones or antibiotics, and will never experience the stress of feedlots and industrialized farming.

So if you were wondering, “Where’s the beef?”, don’t worry, Strauss has it covered. They will serve you the best burgers you’ve ever had at a festival with beef coming from Midwest grass-fed cows and hearty hotdogs made from their free-raised veal – all served on buns and bread from Breadsmith and Cybro’s Bakery.

Cafe Hollander – Lowlands Group

From Milwaukee’s East Side, to Bayview, to Wauwatosa and most recently, The Third Ward, Lowlands Group has long been a part of the local bar and restaurant scene, and active members of the communities that each establishment serves. It is of no surprise that they wanted to be a part of Rock the Green, a natural extension of their community outreach and efforts to be eco-friendly. (Most of the renovations of their newest restaurant, Cafe Benelux, were done with recycled materials such as flooring from an old gymnasium, tables made out of old bowling alley flooring and the use of antique tiles.)

This is the tent to go to for good ol’ corn on the cob – with real Wisconsin butter of course! They will be also serving an Heirloom Tomato Salad and Grilled Beef Brochette in a sweet and spicy marinade.

Mason St. Grill & Miller Time Pub – Marcus Corporation

Everyone in the Milwaukee area knows the Marcus Corporation name. They have been a leader in the movie theater and hotel industries since 1935. In appreciation for Milwaukee’s patronage and loyalty, they turn around and give back to our communities through their annual charitable donations and involvement in civic causes. We are honored that two of their restaurants will be represented at Rock the Green: the upscale Mason Street Grill located in the Pfister Hotel as well as the casual counterpart, Miller Time Pub, located in the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

On their menus, look for Buffalo’d Free Range Chicken Wraps with crispy celery, local greens, and Cave Aged Blue Cheese as well as a Chicken Chopped Salad with Smoked Heirloom Tomato Dressing.

Classy Girl Cupcakes

The entrepreneurial story we all love is behind the opening of this darling cupcake cafe on Cathedral Square. (Classy) Girl makes cupcakes for her wedding, guests love them, girl follows her passion and starts her own cupcake business along with her best friend.

The end result is scrumptious. So when your sweet tooth comes a callin’, scramble over to the Classy Girls and get your sugar and bliss fix! They’ll have traditional cupcakes, cheesecake cupcakes, cupcake mousse parfaits and cupcake bombs on hand.

Popcorn Headz

What’s a festival without popcorn?! Yes, there will be popcorn, but as you can probably guess by now, this won’t be your average variety. It will be Kettle Corn using locally sourced corn from Carl and Collen Wieder’s farm in Helenville, WI. To take it a healthy step further, no nut products will be used – only soy oil, sea salt, and cane juice sugar. So munch away to your heart’s content!

So now what are you going to wash all that popcorn and food down with? For starters, natural sodas and craft beers will be provided by the one and only, Sprecher Brewery, founded in Milwaukee in 1985 and blazing the trail for Microbreweries long before they were the craze.

Further liquid nourishment will include, organic, fair trade coffees from Milwaukee’s very own Stone Creek Coffee who arrived on the scene in 1993 – and are still going strong in both the cafe and retail sectors. Good old fashion milkshakes will be blended up by Dick’s Pizza & Pleasure.

As for water, you will receive a collapsible, reusable bottle upon entry that can be filled up at filtered water stations located throughout the grounds. Learn more about that here.

Oh, and did I mention that all cups, forks, knives, plates, straws and even toothpicks will be composted in the end? Tree-free compostable plates and napkins donated by Hoffmaster will be used throughout the grounds. Boelter will supply other compostable products like cups and serveware.

So after you’ve gobbled up all your food and drink, look for the roll-out of a new line of recycling labels on bins from Veolia Environmental Services. From what I hear, you won’t be able to miss them. The labels are color-coded with both verbal and pictorial labels – a confusion-proof system.

This is just a small taste of what’s to come….Bon Appetit!

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