October 11, 2011 | By: Amy Wermuth
With Fall Harvest ramping up into full swing, many of us are looking forward to baking again and cooking more of our favorite foods at home and we are preparing for the delicacies of the upcoming Holiday Season meals we so cherish.
Yes, we eat all year, but there is something magical about cooler weather and get-togethers with loved ones that are so prevalent during this time of year.
Being eco-friendly and finding high-quality organic food products has never been easier. Thanks to the burgeoning Farm to Table concept, restaurateurs and foodies alike are relishing in the selections now available at their local farm stand.
The Farm to Table movement or dining phenomenon (if you will) is the concept of providing and eating farm fresh ingredients whether at home or at a restaurant. It is about farm fresh food straight from the farm to your food plate and cutting out the middle man (your big box grocer who sits on the food until shipped all over the place), wasted time, cost and compromised freshness. This locavore eating style is quite simple and surprisingly economic. Some say the Farm to Table concept is an urban trend. I say it is a booming business that creates an economic boost for communities all over. It is great for eco-minded farmers and provides a fresh substitute to the alternative. Come on, those big box grocers are doing just fine and will continue to pray on the next guy with cheap marketing ploys once you have vacated anyway.
More than just stumbling upon your local farmer’s market, dedicating your menu to fresh unprocessed ingredients is just plain healthy and even cost effective. Whether you are cooking for clients or your family and friends, consider the importance of this fresh foodie concept. This new (oh gosh) “trend” is not about tree hugging yuppies and urbanites looking for a new dining fad to brag about, it is much deeper than this. We are talking farm stands selling food, not farmer’s markets selling everything under the sun. Don’t get me wrong, farmers markets are great for many reasons. Farm to Table is buying straight from the farmer, fishery or even dairy.
When you finally partake in buying from an actual farm stand, the customers you will brush elbows with are everyone from immigrants and wealthy individuals to foodies and poorer folks. Immigrants are drawn to this concept simply because their home countries have been practicing this concept much longer than we have in the US. Instead of buying into the highly practiced US concept of “by everything under one roof grocer”, buying directly from the source is the absolute freshest way to eat and enjoy food today.
Locally sourced food is swiftly becoming a big deal, especially in communities that are already in an eco-friendly, healthful state of mind. Take Seattle and Oregon for instance. This region of the US is responsible for many things eco-mined, least of which is quality food fare. Not too long ago I wrote an article about the amazing open air food markets, farm vendors and markets that actually accept food assistance programs (food stamps) in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in general. Heck, even fast-food vendors such as Chipotle in the Seattle area purchase many ingredients extensively from local purveyors.
This concept is catching on folks. Ohio, Vermont, California and others boast many amazing Farm to Table followers and many successful Farm to Table restaurants as well. Look close enough, many of these places are hiding in plain sight and in your neck of the woods indeed.
Think the locavore eating concept doesn’t have legs to stand on? Consider this before you decide:
In King County located in Washington State (Seattle area), farm stand style markets produce a minimum of $30 million annually. This touchstone has produced many new farms that have been raking in up to a million dollars annually without selling to the big grocers. Just from farm stand income. Couple this small region’s statistics with the restaurant revenue and there you have it. What’s more, this concept is not limited to produce. We are talking fish farms, and dairies and the like.