Cedar’s chef keeps menu fresh with rooftop garden

WASHINGTON – How fresh is the produce at your favorite restaurant?

Probably not as fresh as the produce on the menu at Cedar in Northwest D.C.

Owner and Executive Chef Aaron McCloud picks his restaurant’s produce from the rooftop garden he created on top of the building at 8th and E streets in Penn Quarter.

But it’s not just tomatoes and squash. McCloud even has edible flowers.

“I’m not much into just sticking something on a plate because it looks nice, but they look nice and they taste great,” says McCloud of marigolds.

“Marigolds are really pretty, but they have this nice little aromatic bite that I think enhance a salad or a garnish – that works really well.”

McCloud says he’s dedicated to sustainability and seasonal cuisines and says he feels it’s important for those in the restaurant business to understand food.

“If you work with food for a living, you’ve got to at least know a little bit about where it comes from and how to do it.”

While not everyone has a rooftop or a patch of land, McCloud says anyone can work with growing his own food.

“It doesn’t matter if you live in a rural environment or within the city. Just, you know, make a little garden on your balcony, or even on your window ledge.”

And, while McCloud grows much of his produce, he still frequents the Penn Quarter FRESHFARM Market, a Thursday afternoon farmers’ market.

Cedar is located at 822 E St. NW, between 8th and 9th streets.

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WTOP’s Bob Madigan contributed to this report. Follow @BobMadiganWTOP, @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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