Partner Spotlight – Bill White Farms

Partner Spotlight – Bill White Farms

Restaurateur Bill White pursues his passion for food to its organic roots

From Northern Michigan, Bill White began his career in the food industry at the age of 12, making fries. As a young adult he moved to Steamboat to ski, then decided to pursue a culinary career and went to Culinary Institute of America in New York. He taught for CIA after graduating, and in Glion, Switzerland. He worked around Europe until deciding to come home to pursue a finance degree from Cornell. After completing his degree he moved to Park City and worked at the legendary Olive Barrel Food Company. With the help of an investor, he started Grappa in ’92 and so began Bill White Restaurant Group which now also includes Park City mainstays and perpetual award-winning restaurants Chimayo, Wahso, Windy Ridge Cafe, Windy Ridge Bakery, Ghidotti’s, Sushi Blue and Billy Blanco’s.

With the restaurants thriving and now as the largest independent restaurant group in a four state area, and one of the largest year round employers in Park City, Bill White is pursuing a passion for healing the earth with Bill White Farms.

Bill White Farms is located primarily in the Snyderville Basin area, along highway 224 between Kimball Junction and downtown Park City. White had lived in the neighborhood of the Hixson farm and became intrigued as he drove by it each day. Built in 1936, it was Fletcher Farms dairy, owned by Jim Rasmussen. Virtually all of what is now known as the Snyderville Basin was a dairy. In 1950 it was purchased by the Hixson family, who owned it until White bought it in 2013.

Through his own research and aligning and working with others engaged in environmental sustainability and clean healthy food production, White has established a position as a revolutionary leader. Earthganics is his trademarked descriptor for “Organic” standards and practices that are higher than the USDA’s. Deploying Earthganics, Bill White Farms, a 501c3, has fields, greenhouses, beehives and a fish farm. All products of Bill White Farms, such as vegetables, herbs, fruit, eggs, meat, fish and honey, are used in one of three ways; charity events held at the Farms; donated to the Christian Center of Park City; what’s left after those two uses gets used at the Bill White restaurants and the seasonal Farm Stand. Strikingly absent from the promotions of his restaurants is the fact that 100% of the profits from the restaurants goes back into the foundation that supports the Farms. “It’s not about the marketing value,” said White, “it’s what’s in your heart.”

It would be difficult to overstate his enthusiasm for this holistic approach, and it’s evident throughout the businesses. Food waste from the restaurants is composted; the compost is used to make healthy chicken feed and grow worms. The chickens lay nutritious and flavorful eggs, and the worms create fertile soil. The soil grows the produce and grain for the fish and animals, creating natural, organic and flavorful food. They’re using microbes and fungi to help keep the soil toxin-free, and practices such as cover cropping to naturally repel insects and disease.

Deeply committed to the Park City community, he understands the existential threat of climate change and is taking it head on. He sees Park City as a petri dish and he’s directing efforts to communicate a message of hope. There are many methods and strategies that work with nature to combat the detrimental effects of climate change and he actively shares and promotes sustainable practices through avenues such as podcasts, agricultural education programs and cooking classes for Park City’s Christian Center food pantry.

Presently he’s working with Park City, developing sustainable practices to manage and maintain City-owned property and open space. Along Hwy 224 entrance corridor they’ve begun cover cropping, and moving the cows each day. The cows trample the cover crop seeds into the soil, then fertilize it. This way the open space stays naturally stable, lush and green.

For more information about Bill White Farms go to Bill White Farms. There you can read about the farms and ranches, schedule a tour, listen to a podcast and find out more about their non-profit programs, including hosted dinners; benefit dinners for up to 30 people that other nonprofit organizations can use to thank their donors or fundraise, at no cost for the meal, space or labor.

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Published on Thursday, March 7, 2019