Having established itself as one of the premier destinations for Mediterranean cuisine, Labebe constantly seeks out the season’s freshest produce. Diners know they will enjoy the freshest spices, produce, and meats that are the heart of the region’s dishes. Every member of the family at Labebe places the same emphasis on the quality of the ingredients that go into their generations-old recipes. Originally, the matriarch of the family for whom the restaurant is named would have merely stepped into her own garden to prepare the dishes handed down with loving care. Today the family takes pains to find farms that meet their high standards of production.
The owners seek out farms that are as nearby as possible to ensure that the time from picking to plate is as short as possible. They are well aware that the freshest ingredients are the most nutritious and they seek to avoid a negative carbon impact from shipping in days-old produce.
Among Labebe’s providers is the historic Suydam Farms on Route 27 in Somerset. Founded in 1713, Suydam has been growing produce, plants, livestock, and more for 13 generations. Almost 300 years of care produces superior products that convey the freshness necessary for the discerning chefs at Labebe. Beyond produce, the farm provides a wide range of carefully tended fresh fruits as well as annual and perennial flowers and herbs.
Another destination for the finest flavor is VonThun’s Country Farm Market in Monmouth Junction. The family has farmed the land since 1913 and opened its farm market in 1986. Over the years it has expanded and been redesigned. Homegrown fruits and vegetables are still sold in the farm market. The farm has diversified, and the market is home base for all sales, “pick your own,” and other farm activities. VonThun’s is especially important for Labebe because it is their prize pumpkins that go into the famous Pumpkin Kibbe.
Family farms are testaments to hard work and perseverance. Only those who consistently provide superior produce boast long histories. Labebe also sources from another long-standing farm in East Brunswick. The Giamarese family has been farming for more than seven decades. Their website states proudly that they do not grow GMOs.
But the emphasis on quality ingredients at Labebe does not stop with local farmers. In fact, it literally follows family members home where they grow herbs such as mint, basil, and oregano themselves.
For items that cannot be sourced nearby, Labebe relies on Plainfield Produce, an Edison company that brings fresh products from across the tri-state region. A fleet of high-tech refrigerated trucks and a state-of-the-art facility allows them to speed seasonally appropriate produce from diverse locations.
Whether it’s from down the road or from around the corner, Labebe is dedicated to picking the finest ingredients to its tables. Diners rely on the discretion and skill of the chefs to uphold the tradition of fresh is best.
Labebe, 2150 Route 130 North, North Brunswick. 732-658-6400. www.labeberestaurant.com. See ad, page 18.