SingleThread Farm is changing how restaurants source food, manage waste, and take care of employees. The Healdsburg, CA, establishment delivers award-winning farm-to-table Japanese-inspired cuisine using ingredients sourced entirely from its 24-acre farm and suppliers from the surrounding Sonoma County.
Chef-farmer, husband-wife team Kyle Connaughton’s and Katina Connaughton’s project was recently recognized as a Green Star restaurant by the Michelin Guide for its unique commitment to sustainable gastronomy — one of the first American restaurants to receive such a distinction.
SingleThread was also named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, at number 36.
The Connaughtons green collaboration is rooted in the pair’s respect for the land. Above all else, SingleThread wants to grow healthy soil to support healthy habitats. Guests can visit for dinner and may choose to stay in one of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified building’s high-end guest rooms upstairs for the evening. A visit means getting closer to the numerous gardens, orchards, chickens, cows, herbs, flowers, and bees that call the farm home, each of which plays an essential role in the 11-course seasonal tasting menu.
“Everything is based, first and foremost, on what comes from our farm,” Kyle said. “That drives the conversation here, the cuisine; it drives everything that we do.”
SingleThread has received three Michelin stars for its menu, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The farm has a well for water, sustainable greenhouses, shade structures, beehives, and livestock paddocks at the heart of its land. It is surrounded by vineyards that produce Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
The farm is also no-till, which helps the soil sequester carbon and therefore reduces the operation’s overall carbon emissions. The process also keeps the soil healthier and more productive.
The farm uses farm workers who all work by hand in the fields to minimize the impact on the land.
“There’s so much joy for me to see the dishes put out and see how deeply appreciative the kitchen is of the hard work of the farm team. It’s such a wonderful moment for me,” said Katina. “Something I love so much being both a farmer and knowing our guests are receiving these ingredients that are so nutrient-rich because we selected them in the morning. They go straight into the kitchen and into the chefs’ hands for the guests.”
SingleThread also takes care of its employees, offering health insurance, paid vacation, and a fully-livable wage. The Connaughtons hope those advantages help the team thrive. Additionally, SingleThread works with Sonoma Family Meal, a nonprofit that uses locally-sourced food to make meals for families and seniors experiencing food insecurity. The couple hopes to continue to give back to their community and help others understand sustainable farming techniques.
“My farming team and I are excited to share our knowledge of regenerative agricultural practices with other farmers, especially new farmers starting their careers. We envision a learning space for those who want to deepen their relationship with their food system and strengthen their craft,” Katina said.