LT's Organic Farm
Last summer Tim and I decided to designate one night a week to “date night.” We would take turns planning, and most of the time we would keep our date ideas a secret until it was time for us to go. Tim denies this, but things got a little competitive between the two of us. Who could come up with the better date idea?! Tim kicked us off with an evening bike ride through the High Trestle Trail in Slater, IA. This is something we had been wanting to do for quite some time but never came around to it because I didn’t own a bike. When Tim picked me up I noticed there were two bikes hanging from the trunk of his car. He opened up the passenger door and said, “we’re going on a bike ride!” We had a blast strolling over the beautiful High Trestle Trail bridge, stopping at a dive bar for a drink, and watching as the sunset over the Des Moines river. There was even a beautiful rainbow that came out as we were riding back! “Shoot,” I thought, “how am I going to top this?!”
After a few days of researching “hidden gems in and around Des Moines,” I came across LT’s Organic Farm, a local organic restaurant serving Indian, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisine. I was surprised I had never heard of it before. We are always looking for new places to go and restaurants to try, so I knew it would be perfect.
I picked up Tim and told him we were going to try out a new restaurant. I was glad when he told me he had never been to LT’s before, so it would be a new experience for the both of us. The GPS led us to a long gravel driveway, and just when I thought we made a wrong turn, I noticed a cute little farm with a sign that read, “LT’s Organic Farm Restaurant.” Woohoo, we made it!
The first thing I noticed when we walked in was the unique design of the room. A large U shaped table was located in the center with a small gift shop toward the side. We were the only ones in the restaurant, but were soon greeted by a young man who welcomed us and explained what was on the menu for the evening. At LT’s, the menu is comprised of only one item, normally whatever they are harvesting at the time.
That evening, we were served chicken and fresh veggies, some of which I had never heard of! As we waited for our food, the owner, LT, came by to visit with us. We asked him about the history of the restaurant, and he explained that the idea came to him and his wife, Ahilia, when they moved to Iowa in 1994. They both work in the medical profession LT, a Cardio-Pulmonary Specialist, and Ahilia, a Registered Nurse. They wanted to provide their community with preventive medicine through education and healthy and sustainable food.
Our meals arrived quickly, and they looked delicious! We took our first few bites and I could instantly tell the difference between the taste and quality of this food compared to other restaurants we had visited. The chicken was so fresh, it fell right off the bone! The meal was filling, but didn’t leave us feeling uncomfortable, which is something we were used to after a dinner out. I couldn’t believe how amazing the food was, and to think it was all made fresh right there! This soon became one of our new favorite spots in Des Moines.
I wanted to learn more about the history of LT’s Farm, especially the medical benefits of growing and buying local. I contacted Ahilia to see if she would be open to meeting with me and sharing their story. She graciously accepted and scheduled a time for us to meet at the farm. When I arrived, Ahilia and her daughter welcomed me with big smiles. We found a spot at the U shaped table, and Ahilia began to share the story of how LT’s Organic Farm came to be.
Ahilia Bhramdat and LT Bhramdat are originally from Guyana, a small country on South America’s North Atlantic coast. When Ahilia was just a child, her family moved to Chicago, where she attended school and eventually met LT. After Ahilia and LT got married, they decided they wanted to move to a quieter town. They drove and drove until they found little to no traffic, stumbling upon Des Moines, IA, where they chose to stay and soon call home.
One of the things about Iowa that surprised LT and Ahilia was the lack of fresh culinary options. There was little to no healthy meal options, and the variety of organic and fresh vegetables were scarce. Their oldest son, Capil, had a heart condition which led LT and Ahilia to become more aware and conscious of what they were eating and feeding their family. Because of Capil, they decided to learn more about the health industry. They wanted to understand how the food we eat directly correlates with our health and well being. They wondered how many other people faced this same issue. LT and Ahilia saw a void, and decided to open LT Organic Farm / Clinic / Institute of Preventive Medicine.
LT Organic Farm’s CSA program is comprised of, seasonally grown and freshly harvested produce daily, raised free-range poultry, pasturized grazed goats and lamb, cooking classes for all members, and nutrition workshops daily during summer for all members, just to name a few. In addition to the CSA program, LT Organic Farm also serves as a restaurant, and is open daily to the public from May until mid-November.
If you have not been to LT’s farm, I would recommend trying it out! It’s a great date night spot, and would be the perfect place to take a group of friends for a unique dining experience.
When I asked Ahilia if she had a recipe she’d like to share, she nodded and pulled out a piece of paper with the ingredients and directions listed for, “Coconut Cream Rice.” She informed me that the recipe wasn’t a dessert, but it was a traditional Sunday lunch dish that came from their home country of Guyana. I could tell Ahilia and her daughter were excited to share this special recipe with me. It is fairly easy to make and you can get creative with adding or substituting certain ingredients.
I couldn’t wait to try out this recipe! A few weeks after meeting with Ahilia, I called my good friend Kenzie and asked her if she’d like to join me for a Sunday meal at my place. She came right over, bringing a bottle of red wine with her. We sat at the table for hours, catching up and reminiscing some of our favorite memories together. The meal was delicious, with both of us having second servings, I barely had any leftovers! I know Ahilia said the coconut cream rice wasn’t a dessert, but sharing a home cooked meal with the people you love, well I’d call that a treat. :)
LT's Coconut Cream Rice
1 TBS Oil
½ Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic
1 C Jasmine Rice (uncooked)
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Can of Coconut Cream Unsweetened
Handful of Swiss Chard, Finely Chopped
2 C Water
Salt to Taste
On low heat, add oil and rice
Cook stirring occasionally until light brown
Add all other ingredients and mix well
Increase heat to high until boiling
reduce to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes
Fluff rice and serve
* You may add meat or seafood to this recipe. I added chicken, and it tasted delicious!