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Madison Magazine talked to Cow & Quince's owner Lori Stern about local products featured in the restaurant.
When you opened your restaurant three years ago, why did you decide to have a food market as part of the business?
[We’re] a farm-to-table restaurant committed to using local products, and the market was a way to demonstrate total transparency from the very beginning. I wanted customers to be able to see and purchase the products we [use] in the kitchen.
How do you decide which products to feature?
We choose products based on what we love to use and eat. Currently, we offer all of the cheeses from Landmark, Hook, Sartori, Farmer John and Roth that we use on our cheeseboards. We have grass-fed beef from Green Fire Farm, our exclusive burger supplier, and organic eggs from Pasture Patterns Eggs which we also use in our kitchen exclusively.
Do you have any favorite items?
We collaborated with Telsaan Tea in Mount Horeb to create house blends of tea. This was great because Erin [the owner] came into our restaurant and developed both a black and herbal tea to fit the vibe of Cow & Quince. Other favorites are the Maple Valley syrups, B’s Honey, the lamb links from Fox Heritage Farms and our Cow & Quince jams. I also purchased some books that have been instrumental in how we view farming, food systems and our shaping of our restaurant ethic.
Do you have plans for this space in the future?
We had great hopes of using the retail area to sell house-made jams and spice rubs. We are able to do that to some extent, but we just don’t have the staff capacity to make more than we need for our own kitchen. Making and selling these products on a larger scale is something still in the plans for us. I would also love to do a small farmers’ market in our back lot.