Heirloom Café & Fresh Market celebrates local farmers and our community by crafting fresh takes on heritage dishes. Heirloom Café & Fresh Market strives to create that passion, community and joy for others. The Boulevard Neighborhood in Athens, Ga. is a special place, full of historic homes of many different styles and full of many different people, but they all value their community. This neighborhood is in and of itself an heirloom, protected dearly by the Historic Preservation Committee and its residents, young and old.
We reached out to Jessica Rockather at the restaurant to discover a little bit about their history and relationship with Georgia Organics.
What made you decide to become a Georgia Organics member?
I attended my first Georgia Organics conference in 2008, when I was still new to learning about farming and how it affects so many other aspects of our day-to-day lives. I was so inspired by the passion and community surrounding the organic farming movement. The mentorship programs offered to young farmers are so important, and our state is lucky to have so many people willing to work to teach farming to the next generation. We work with a lot of these young farmers, as well as some who have been farming for generations, and we feel so lucky to be able to forge these relationships and pass the food grown with such care on to our guests at the restaurant. We are members of Georgia Organics to continue to be a part of and help strengthen the community effort that I found so inspiring several years ago. It seemed like such an obvious fit to us.
How did you get started in the business?
I graduated from UGA with an English degree. With hopes of becoming a food writer, I went to culinary school to get some idea of what I would be talking about, and landed a cooking job at Muss & Turner’s in Smyrna. I learned so much from that place about what level of quality to look for in food and how to form relationships with the people growing your food. I worked in several kitchens after that before we opened Heirloom, but Muss & Turner’s was my start and has my heart.
What would you like to see develop in the Georgia food community in the future?
Things are growing so well. I don’t know if I have a good answer for this one. Sorry.
What is your number one passion outside of work?
Books. I get lost in them. I married a writer with a giant library. Reading is such a great way to get away, to learn, to laugh, to cry, and to be a better person.
What is your favorite food or recipe?
Tacos, followed by an heirloom tomato sandwich on sourdough with Duke’s mayo, followed by ice cream.