Parkwood Manor embraces farm-to-table movement

Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 10:05pm

The farm-to-table local-food movement has gained a good bit of notice in Nashville over the past few years. Now, Brandon Frohne plans to add to it a logistical twist. 

Frohne is director of food service at Park Manor, a senior community nestled off Woodmont Boulevard on the west side. He and Nashville Urban Gardeners recently unveiled a mid-sized garden straddling Park Manor. It’s a distinctive setup, combining organics with a residential building. 

Frohne said residents, many in their mid-80s, want the program to serve as a model for similar communities seeking to be environmentally sensitive. Feasting on organic foods is a bonus. 

“[They] have expressed strong support for a sustainable farm-to-table project that is aimed to elevate food industry standards,” said Frohne, who landed a chef’s gig at Six Tables Fine Dining at the Peninsula Inn & Spa in Gulfport, Fla., when he was a mere 17.

Frohne is collaborating with master gardener Ann Duncan, using rainwater harvesting, composting and intercropping. To start, the produce list includes heirloom tomatoes, pattypan squash, black zucchini, cosmic purple carrots, red mangel beets, white icicle and French radish, white velvet okra, Contender green beans, Keystone peppers and various herbs, all organic. 

A fourth-generation chef who won a People’s Choice Award for his shrimp bisque at this year’s Our Kids Soup Sunday competition at LP Field in February, Frohne, 24, came naturally to the organic foods culture. His family tree includes late relatives who elevated the culinary arts in Canada, Germany, Indonesia and Switzerland.

But a 2009 event — Frohne assisted Martha Stamps in staging the “Outstanding in the Field Dinner” hosted at Arugula’s Star farm in Leiper’s Fork — forever changed and challenged the young chef. 

“I had always been an advocate of local food sources,” Frohne said. “But working with Chef Stamps … really heightened my appreciation of all the work that these farmers and food artisans go through to provide us with food products unharmed by chemicals, additives or unnatural processes.”