Restaurants that recognize trends succeed. And one of the more popular trends of the last decade is the Farm-to-Table movement. While definitions vary, it’s basically food made from locally sourced ingredients with a focus on organic. This trend, also known as Farm-to-Fork, started on the west coast. California chefs like Alice Waters tasted the local, organic difference and then celebrated it on her menu. After a slow build since its introduction in the 1970’s, this way of cooking has become even more popular. People who notice and care about the difference in flavor are willing to pay more for it.
Nutrition and health take priority over convenience. Produce also simply tastes better because it doesn’t have to be frozen to be transported or preserved to prolong its life on a longer journey to the chopping block. Food this fresh and ripe is its own joy. There’s no need for a lot of spices and sauces to enhance or uplift flavor. A tomato off the vine in summer is nothing like a winter version.
Kinder to the Community
Farm-to-Table menus directly support local farmers and the local economy. You know where your food comes from and the people who are growing it. That’s integrity. It makes farmers feel like part of the restaurant team and allows them to get the credit they deserve for their role in an exceptional dining experience. It’s also gentle on the earth with less shipping and trucking needed. This means fewer greenhouse gasses, which reduces your carbon footprint as a business.
More Say for Restaurants
You can patronize farms that are ethically responsible – those farms free from GMOs and the ranchers who allow animals to be free-range and organic. This also allows restauranteurs to have more influence over the types of foods that are grown and raised. The farm-to-fork movement is also a trend that people go out of their way to seek out, offering you a way to stand out in a crowded category. So, it can be a great marketing tool.
Creativity and Commitment
For restaurants, this dedication to local is a lot more work. Sourcing ingredients year-round can be quite a challenge. You need to continually change recipes to match what’s available that day or week. Whatever is fresh and growing is what will appear on your menu.
Food this authentic costs more to source. Animals raised locally are especially expensive. So, this makes it harder for farm-to-table restaurants to succeed in settings where consumers may be more budget-conscious. To help offset that, some restaurants are now cutting out the middle man by buying the farm. They are literally operating their own supply chain – tapping their own maple trees for syrup, raising chickens for eggs, and growing their salad mixes from seed. And yet, even with these savings, it still costs more than buying products from a commercial distributer. But at the end of the day, the food looks more attractive, the meat tastes like it was raised better, and the farmers know that the work they put into every morsel is truly being appreciated and savored.
Set the Table at the Farm
Many restaurants who commit to local menus serve their fresh creations up in a natural setting. From upcycled barns to farm house restaurants in the country, the experience gets taken to greener spaces. Even if that’s not you, it’s simple to add more green no matter where your location is. A rooftop with a dedicated garden and trees can bring that feeling home. So can a patio that offers a beautiful view of the local scene. Think about materials that bring nature to the forefront.
We’re happy to offer expert suggestions for patio enclosures that enhance your environment. Custom color choices, window size and style of shades go a long way to creating a natural look. Our earth is worth protecting. Which is why, Farm-to-Table is a genuine gift to the restaurant scene that’s here to stay.