Jim Weaver, the executive chef/owner of Princeton’s Tre Piani Restaurant, has written a book. Locavore Adventures (Rivergate Books $22.95) is a memoir about growing a sustainable food culture and a guide to “slowing down, savoring locally grown food, and celebrating life.”
Mr. Weaver is also the founder of the Central New Jersey Chapter of the “Slow Food” International Movement. The Slow Food Movement started in Italy a decade ago and is committed to preserving “endangered foods,” as well as small farms and unique food production methods. Slow Food enthusiasts argue that the contemporary obsession with fast, processed foods has destroyed people’s ability to taste, savor and understand the origins of food.
In Locavore Adventures, Mr. Weaver shares the story of how he came to solve this problem — building a local slow food culture that is ecologically responsible and also yields delicious results. He tells of his odyssey founding the Central New Jersey chapter of Slow Food, connecting local farmers, food producers, and chefs with the public to forge communities that value the region’s unique bounty. There are more than 40 recipes throughout the book, from Hot Smoked Brook Trout with Asparagus Puree and Pickled Cippollini Onions to Zuppa di Mozzarella.
“The Slow Food mission is aggressive,” according to Mr. Weaver. “We are active in many areas of food education, taste education, public awareness and promotion. We promote the dining table as a place of pleasure and conviviality. We promote diversity in food products and have helped many farmers find niche markets for products that supermarkets do not want to deal with because of looks, price, or perishability, such as heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables and rare breeds of animals.”
Slow Food has also started an “Ark of Taste” to preserve “endangered foods” and food production methods from extinction. “If you want to taste true American history, try a genuine Delaware Bay Oyster,” says the chef who spearheaded the effort to preserve the Delaware Bay Oyster from extinction, which is threatened due to over-cultivation and environmental deterioration. He nominated and succeeded in getting the Delaware Bay Oyster inducted into the United States Slow Food Ark of Taste.
Chef Weaver works with many state and local organizations to sponsor events highlighting local foods. He was also a featured speaker at the 2004 NJ Vegetable Grower’s Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, to help market Jersey fresh produce. He recently served on the board of directors for the New Jersey Restaurant Association and is affiliated with countless professional organizations and charity events.
According to Josh Viertel, president, Slow Food USA, ”We are working to build a different world — one where food and farming are sources of health and well being for all people and the planet; one where food can be good, clean and fair. Jim Weaver sees that that different world is already partially built. Through telling that story, he paints a picture of what is possible.”