Anna March says she fell in love with farm living a few summers ago when she did a stint “picking tomatoes and napping in the fields” as a farm hand at Mariposa Farms. Now, after a year working as sous-chef at Farbs Kitchen, she was lured back to those fields when the opportunity arose to become Mariposa’s resident chef, taking over for Mark Currier. March plans to live part-time up at the Plantagenet, Ontario duck, geese, and pig farm located a 45-minute drive from Ottawa.
A radical departure from the Ottawa restaurant scene, her new job centres around the farm’s unique Sunday lunch, as well as private functions. Unlike the team envirnment at Farbs, she works practically solo in Mariposa’s rustic kitchen, where the meats are cooked over an open flame and bread is made in a wood oven. Ingredients couldn’t be fresher, or more local, she says. Vegetables, like carrots and beets, will still be covered in dirt and warm from the ground when she starts to prepare them. The animals, raised free of hormones, chemical products, and preservatives, are also raised on-site. Or, as March puts it: “The pork that I’m serving has a name.”
March first learned about Mariposa when the farm’s products were delivered by Ian Walker to Beckta Dining & Wine where she worked as garde manger under Steve Vardy. (Mariposa’s meats and produce have become staples in many of the city’s top kitchens.) In between, she spent a few years cooking in Montreal at La Montée De Lait. There was also a stint in Vancouver working on an organic farm as well as cooking at Fuel (now Refuel) where she swooned over the incredible products delivered to the back door by BC farmers. Now it’s all one step closer — a chef’s dream come true — where the ingredients are literally growing and roaming right out her own back door at Mariposa. “It’s that same connection that I love,” she says.
MARIPOSA Farm, 6468 County Rd. 17, Plantagenet, 613-673-5881.
Sunday lunch: Table d’hôte is $38/person