Tom Sawyer’s original plans were to start a café with his wife after she graduated from Metro’s culinary program in 2005. However, she began battling breast cancer and lost her fight in 2010. Tom opened Harvest this year as a dedication to her and the dream they shared. Harvest Cafe & Wine Bar is a concept he developed with his wife a few years ago that focuses on clean eating. They use natural ingredients which are free from preservatives or additives and also focus on locally grown and organic produce whenever it is economically practical and available.
Tell us a little about your family.
My father was a hard man, but he taught me how to work for a living. My mom did the company’s books and held everyone together. My wife had a passion for food and for people. When my father retired I took over his role in the family business and my wife did all of the accounting and office work. We sold the family business after my father passed so we could do Harvest. My wife got shortchanged in the deal when cancer struck. Our son Jake got my wife’s study habits and my street smarts. He is an honor roll student at Creighton Prep. He also helps out with Harvest’s books and POS system.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
My wife’s breast cancer was definitely the biggest turning point. I went from being the alpha male provider to primary caregiver and stay at home dad.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
We’re closed on Sunday and I have a very active spiritual life. It’s not uncommon for me to get around to several different churches to meet up with all the people I’ve met over the years.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I participate in the sport of racing homing pigeons.
What are you the most proud of?
I’m the most proud of wife, she has taught me how to live, how to love, and how to survive. Through her entire battle with cancer she never complained about the card she was dealt. She took a day to cry about it, and then with renewed vigor she would fight even harder as things got worse. She was determined to participate in a triathlon while fighting her cancer.
Watching her take her last breath was devastating but I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My father told me when I was a young man; “Never do anything that you will be ashamed of, and if you make a mistake, admit it right away and make amends.”
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
The gift of healing people, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
What are your plans after retirement?
I was retired for five years – it’s over rated.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life?
I’m an avid acoustic guitarist and protest singer.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
The Book of Matthew
What is your favorite movie?
Rustler’s Rhapsody with Tom Berringer.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Harvest, or more specifically Chef Robert (our chef).
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?
It would be cool to have dinner with President Obama.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
Come on up to the restaurant, I love talking to people. You can also visit www.harvestcafeomaha.com.