Tag Archives: organic

Farm to Table_Cows

Farm to Table: What is it?

The Farm to Table concept has taken the restaurant industry by storm the last few years. But what exactly does it mean? Farm to Table is the process of purchasing food that has been locally grown directly from the farmers who grew it. The purpose is for restaurants to use fresher ingredients that are more environmentally friendly and also help the local economy at the same time.


The GoodFarm to Table_Vegetables

The Farm to Table concept has many advantages including health and local economic benefits, being environmentally friendly, and helping the restaurant’s bottom line.

Over the last few decades, there has been a growing disconnect of knowledge about where our food comes from and how it is grown. Instead, foods are losing their quality at the expense of quantity after being dosed in chemicals to make “giant” foods. Farm to table eateries are aiming to fight against this new normal in the food industry to provide great dishes made of ingredients that customers know their origins. While not all farm to table partnerships are organically grown, buying directly from local farmers allows restaurants to grow relationships directly with the growers to ensure that their produce and meats are being grown in a way they approve.

When it comes to farm to table operations, animals to be used for meat are also grown for quality instead of quantity. The meats that yield from these animals have less fat and calories and at the same time have higher amounts of fatty acids, vitamin E and other important nutrients. Farm to table restaurants also often have a greater focus on vegetables, allowing restaurants to offer more well-rounded meals between the higher quality meats and the larger focus on vegetables.

As increasingly more restaurants utilize small farmers to support their operations, those farmers are in-turn able to create sustainable operations, lowering the cost of the food and eventually helping the restaurant’s bottom line. Creating a paradox to the reason foods began to be mass produced and genetically modified in the first place.


The Bad

Farm to Table_ VegetablesWhile farm to table operations boast many wonderful benefits, there will always be challenges. Some believe that the concept, as well as the foodies supporting the concept are taking it to extremes. In fact, ads have been created to show just how extreme it has been taken.

Being dedicated to purchasing meats locally can be very limiting. The U.S. Department of Agriculture limits the amount and type of meat that can processed by small farm operations. This fact and the geographical challenges of landlocked states not being able to offer sea foods, etc. may cause headaches for restaurant owners.

An additional challenge that restaurant owners will face is being able to source their produce in the off season. It is recommended to discuss with your partnered farmer about the use of a greenhouse to be able to offer this produce in the off-season. Otherwise, it may be difficult to find Indiana sweet corn under all of that snow in the middle of January!

However, all in all, we are loving the farm to table concept.


Indianapolis Farm to Table Restaurants

Traders Point Creamery

Grilled Cheese from Traders Point Creamery

Indiana has a rich agriculture landscape, which makes it the perfect location for the farm to table concept! Are you in the Indianapolis area? Try out these fantastic farm to table restaurants!

Supplies and Equipment

Searching for the farm to table “look” to go along with your processes? We have you covered! From glasses to chairs and tables, Central Restaurant is your one-stop shop for supplies and equipment!


Where to Get in on the Farm-to-Fork Trend

Back in September of 1992, the Organic Trade Association started “Organic Harvest Month™” to promote the use of “organic food and agriculture through regional and local events,” laying down the path for what would eventually become the  Farm-to-Fork movement.   More recently the United States Department of Agriculture brought the Farm-to-Fork movement to the forefront by starting the “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food” program as a “commitment to strengthening local and regional food systems.”

FarmThe main interest for both of these programs lies in something that is quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in food, Farm-to-Fork (also sometimes referred to as Farm-to-Table).   This trend is basically defined as food coming directly from a local source.  A hundred years ago this local sourcing of  food was commonplace.   However, as more people moved away from farms and into cities, the ritual of obtaining food became something most often done within the walls of a grocery store where produce, meats and other products usually come from different states and even occasionally another country.   But within the last few decades, many people have started going back to the Farm-to-Fork way of eating both to ensure fresher (often organic) foods and to help their local farmers.

As the summer comes to an end, many Farm-to-Fork events are popping up all over the country to help get the word out about the movement.  We’ve found a few of the annual Farm-to-Fork festivals around the U.S. that may just inspire you to take the leap and join in on the trend.

Festival:  Farm to Fork Events
Where:  Oregon
When:  Various dates from June to October
What:  Every few weeks a dinner is hosted on a local Oregon farm.  Each dinner features one local winery, a producer and/or chef to create the meal from the farm’s harvest and even live music from local bands.   During the event guests are provided with a tour of the host-farm, a meal and information on the meal’s elements and any non-profit partners involved.  This year there was also a 4-day Farm to Fork Rafting adventure down Oregon’s Rogue River.

Festival:  Farm to Fork Food Invasion
Where: Alabama
When:  Dates vary from year to year.  In 2011, it will be held November 11th and 12th.
What: This two day event is put on by the Hampstead Institute, a non-profit dedicated to sustainable living and growing a healthier community.   The first night consists of a 35-seat, Farm-to-Fork Dinner.  The second day is a Farm-to-Fork festival with live music, food and drink tastings wrapping up with a pig roast.

And just in case you can’t make it to one of these festivals, we’ve also found five great restaurants across the U.S. that follow the movement and are open year-around.

1)      The Inn at Red Hills in Dundee, Oregon
2)      Husk in Charleston, South Carolina
3)      Station 220 in Bloomington, Illinois
4)      Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, Maryland
5)      Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington, Massachusetts

For more information on the benefits of the Farm-to-Fork movement or the “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food” program be sure to visit Food Insight.