He’s not just a restaurateur, nor just a farmer, nor just a chef, nor just an entrepreneur. He’s an influencer of sustainable eating. He wants to change the world, one delicious plate at a time. Ken Myszka, owner and operator of Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group, runs four celebrated restaurants in McLean County: Epiphany Farms Restaurant, Anju Above, and Bakery and Pickle, all in downtown Bloomington; and Old Bank Restaurant and Bar in LeRoy.
Each restaurant sources organically grown vegetables and meats from Epiphany’s own farmstead, located east of Downs. Epiphany Farms incorporates sustainable and restorative practices, rotating livestock, minimizing tilling, mulching, composting, minimizing pesticide use, and using cover crops. Food waste from the restaurants is returned to the farm and made into fertilizer.
When you are eating at one of Ken’s restaurants, his desire is to provide you a dining experience with the high level of service and attention to detail that he learned while working in Las Vegas. But he also wants to inspire his guests to think differently about how food and hospitality can help save the world.
If you have been thinking about becoming a more sustainable eater, Ken suggests eating seasonally, finding local sources to buy from, avoiding processed foods, and visiting the farmers market or joining a CSA (community supported agriculture), a program connecting farmers and eaters who “invest” in a share early in the season, then receive fresh produce throughout the growing season. Farmers get seasonal start-up funds, and consumers get bountiful fresh produce throughout the growing season.
In his own kitchen and garden, Ken loves growing and cooking with peppers. Not only are they easy to grow, but peppers are versatile in cooking. Roasted over coals, pickled, made into a paste or dried, they are a flavor burst to any dish.
This year, Myszka is the keynote speaker for McLean County Master Gardeners 18th annual Home, Lawn, and Garden Day on March 7 in Bloomington. During his keynote presentation, Myszka will translate Epiphany Farms' innovative closed-loop system to the small-scale home garden. Myszka will teach about practices for the small garden that encourage sustainability and regeneration without extra effort. Topics will include composting, companion planting, natural predators, integrated pest management, permaculture, regenerative agriculture principles, and biodiversity.
Home, Lawn and Garden Day is a day dedicated to garden fun! It is an ideal place to gain inspiration for future garden projects, fall in love with a must-have plant, or learn the basics of everyday gardening.
Space is limited. Register now at the University of Illinois Extension website (go.illinois.edu/HLGD), or stop by the McLean County Extension Office, 1615 Commerce Parkway, Bloomington.