From Farm to Table: How Restaurants Source Their Ingredients

Farm-to-table restaurants are establishments that prioritize the use of local, seasonal ingredients in their menus. These restaurants source their ingredients directly from local farms and producers, rather than relying on mass-produced products. This ensures that the food they serve to customers is always fresh and full of nutrients. From carrots and fennel to potatoes and radishes, you can prepare these spring vegetables in a variety of styles while creating delicious purees. These direct relationships between restaurants and farms are often motivated by the quality and freshness of the food they obtain from farms, which is usually delivered directly to the restaurant a few hours after being harvested.

Additionally, these relationships allow restaurants to purchase special products that are not grown by many people in their area. For example, San Francisco's Fish and Farm restaurant is a great example of a successful farm-to-table establishment. When opening a farm-to-table restaurant, it is important to provide customers with consistent and excellent experiences at every touchpoint. With a little effort and dedication, you can create a successful farm-to-table restaurant that offers fresh, local food to your community. If your restaurant or grocery store is in the Southwest, you won't need to import much, which will help you budget and keep your inventory stocked.

Getting Started with Farm-to-Table

If you're a restaurant owner and you're interested in serving fresh local food, you might be wondering how to get started.

Incorporating hyperlocal products into your restaurant can take a bit of time and experimentation, but many environmentally friendly restaurants find it to be a sustainable and popular option. A tour of the farm is often offered, in which the farmer shows and describes the methods used to raise meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables. In some cases, restaurants and farms may have a fairly deep or serious commitment to each other, since the farm that grows the products specifically requested by the chef or the restaurant guarantees to purchase a certain percentage (or even the entirety) of the harvest. Because the products are often very tasty, many farm-to-table companies don't dress their food with complex sauces and overwhelming flavors, but prefer to let the freshness and flavor of the food speak for itself. Locally produced fruits and vegetables can be a tasty addition to meals that diners are sure to notice.

The History of Farm-to-Table

The farm-to-table movement has been around for decades.

One of its most famous proponents was chef Alice Waters who managed Chez Panisse in San Francisco. She wanted to use products from local organic farms because they were tastier and fresher than the products used in other restaurants. The farm-to-table movement isn't perfect, and in recent years, people have become increasingly skeptical of establishments that claim to serve farm-to-table food. If your restaurant is located in the Northeast during winter months, you'll have to import all your winter fruits and vegetables except mushrooms and parsnips due to snow and low temperatures.