After opening Harbor Springs’ The Fish in the early aughts, Chef Scott Schornak ran his own restaurant in downtown Petoskey before joining Pond Hill Farm in 2010, where he now presides over converting the farm’s produce and proteins into inventive casual fare at the Garden Café. We caught up with Scott to talk about sourcing ingredients onsite, gnomes, and his take on the ideal after-trail lunch.

How does the farm supply the Garden Café in winter?
Since not much grows during this season we spend most of the fall preserving product for the winter. Green tomatoes get breaded, vac sealed and frozen, huge batches of soup are stockpiled from the garden and we’re busy making pestos and pickled vegetables to carry those harvest flavors through the cold months.

We’re heading up to Pond Hill Farm for a Saturday in January. What’s the itinerary?
Grab a cup of coffee and check in at the farm store then strap on your skis or snowshoes for a few hours and keep your eyes peeled for our Gnome Sweet Gnome hunt. Hit the café for lunch and a pint and then back outside to finish the trail. Grab some jam or pickles at the farm store on your way out.

They’re scattered around the property. Snap a selfie, post it, and you’ll score a spiked hot chocolate.

Gnome selfie. Check. Now, what should we eat and drink?
I’m really excited about the fried green tomato sandwich served with pickled mustard greens, Tabasco mayo and a fried egg. I’d pair that with our Master Beet IPA, it’s got an earthy sweetness from an infusion of red beets.

Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. // Dave Weidner is a freelance photographer based in Traverse City.

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Photo(s) by Dave Weidner