Posted on May 06 2019
In light of recent attention on issues like climate change and healthy eating, locally grown produce has become a leading trend in the foodservice industry. There are many assets of using locally sourced food including nutritional, environmental and economic benefits. Less travel of produce means less gasoline utilization and also means freshly picked, ripe, nutrient packed fruits and vegetables.
Seasonal ingredients similarly provide a great excuse for using fresh produce at cost-effective prices and create an enhanced dining experience for guests. Take a look at our Seasonal Ingredients by Region Guide for tips on what ingredients are in season in your area.
See below for ways to incorporate Garden-to-Table practices in your restaurant that make a positive impression on your customers, the community and the environment.
On-Site Gardens: There’s nothing better than freshly handpicked produce straight from your garden located on-site. Whether your restaurant is on a large plot of land or on a high rise in the city, on-site gardens are a possibility for everyone.
If you don’t have the room or climate for a full-fledged garden behind your restaurant, opt for an aeroponic garden that doesn’t require the use of soil, consumes less water and needs minimal space.
Urban gardens are another option for locations without land to till. Earth Boxes are a maintenance-free way to grow healthy, organic food indoors or outdoors by way of a portable self-watering container or gardening system.
Collaborate with Local Farms or Join a CSA: Creating relationships with local farms enable you to get a higher quality of produce, more variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as an opportunity for buying at discounts.
CSAs or Community Supported Agriculture is essentially a farm share, where local farmers offer certain numbers of “shares” to the public and local consumers buy into the farm, supporting the year’s crop with money up front for their membership. Included in membership is a weekly box of fresh and seasonal produce straight from the farm.
Farmers Markets: Farmers markets aren’t only for individuals. Now more and more chefs are turning to local community driven markets for their fruits and vegetables. It’s a great way to build relationships with farmers, spend time with other chefs in the community and share tips about working with different ingredients.
Chefs have also started bringing their staff out to give them exposure to the process and people growing their ingredients. This keeps your staff engaged and more knowledgeable about the source of the foods served daily to guests.