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The Lonely Locavore


Boris Akimov is a type familiar to Brooklyn but virtually unseen in Moscow: the woodsman hipster. He paints a little, bangs on pots and pans in an avant-garde rock group, edits magazines, grows and slaughters his own food, and blogs about it. And if he doesn’t stray or sell out, he might single-handedly save Russian food culture. Two years ago, fed up with this town’s retrograde food ways—tomatoes proudly flown in from Italy, etc.—Akimov ventured outside the city into what he calls “scorched earth,” and organized a produce-pickup route from the few still-functioning farms. The service became Lavka (“Shoppe”), Moscow’s first farm-to-table grocery. “The main thing is to connect the farmer and the customer,” says Akimov, who has gradually let all his other pursuits drop to concentrate on Lavka. “To let one develop and the other eat good food.” Like everything in Moscow, its offerings—ranging from fresh dill to whole geese of a unique heritage breed—are hellishly expensive. But as the project grows, economies of scale are kicking in. Restaurants have begun using Akimov as their wholesaler, and Lavka’s own restaurant is set to open this fall (5 Nizhnii Susalnyi Sidestreet, Building 10).


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