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Home-Grown Harmony 

How an Ohio City chef grew to favor local foods.

Chef Parker Bosley says he never set out to develop a regional network of artisan farmers when he began looking for top-quality meats and vegetables to serve in his Ohio City restaurant. But each new discovery led to another, and today he works with about 20 small local producers who do everything from raise heirloom hogs to tend specialty gardens. As a result, the French-trained chef can now put his refined techniques in the service of a wider array of extraordinary ingredients. This culinary one-two punch has inspired him to reimagine his menu as well as his mission. Diners can judge for themselves when Parker's New American Bistro (2801 Bridge Avenue, 216-771-7130) reopens this Friday, with a labor-intensive seasonal menu. "This is sort of a summation of my career," says Bosley, pointing to bistro-style dishes like beef short ribs, lamb sausage, and slow-roasted pork belly with lentil ragout, crafted almost entirely from locally grown goods. The humble dishes are at their best when patiently prepped, sometimes over the course of days, and attentively cooked at low temperatures. Of course, Bosley has always lavished his ingredients with attention, coaxing every last nuance of flavor out of everything he touches, and his new menu is a natural extension of that approach. The remodeled bistro, with more casual seating, less formal decor, and lower prices, will be open for dinner, Monday through Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m.

Toward a new agriculture . . .

Bosley believes that sustainable farming is essential to maximizing the quality of our food supply. And in this, he is far from alone. Earlier this month, a meeting of Entrepreneurs for Sustainability drew an SRO crowd of farmers, restaurateurs, grocers, and assorted food-industry types to the Rockefeller Room at Great Lakes Brewing Company, to discuss business opportunities in sustainable agriculture. Al Hobar, founder of the Web of Life natural foods market (25923 Detroit Road, Westlake), was among the featured speakers. After five years in business, he has doubled the market's size and launched a vegan deli and juice bar -- growth that speaks highly of the public's interest in locally grown organic foods. For a closer look at contemporary vegetarianism, check out the market's Heart-Healthy Buffet from 6 to 8 p.m. on Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14. The all-vegan, mostly organic, and often locally grown dishes will include items like stuffed cabbage, mushroom curry, Ohio City ravioli, quinoa tabouli, and a variety of tasty desserts. Reservations for the $35 dinner can be made by calling 440-899-2882.

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More by Elaine T. Cicora

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