Getting Fresh with Farm-to-Table Dining

One of the best parts of dining out is reading through a menu full of delectable dishes. Reading each description makes you hungrier and hungrier as you try to decide from a wide array of appetizing options which one you will order. But when you’re sitting there reading about the food you hope to be eating, are you wondering where that food comes from? Are you wondering if it’s fresh? If you weren’t before, I bet you are now.

Fortunately, many dining establishments are making a shift toward providing farm-to-table foods for consumption. Farm-to-table is the concept of buying food that has been locally grown direct from the source. Fresh from the farm is where your food should be coming from.

It’s old news that has been revitalized into a new, fresh concept. Our ancestors ate locally sourced foods because they were closer to the farms. Plus, back then, distribution was more of an issue because of the lack of interstate highways and overnight shipping. As modern improvements came about and we became more of an urban instead of rural society, we began to lose touch with our roots.

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And that loss of touch resulted in epidemics of obesity and hosts of health problems as we gobbled up foods that were high in preservatives and low on nutrients, not to mention foods that were not at all fresh. Somehow, this shift began to push out our local farmers because they just couldn’t compete with the big industrial farms. Additionally, refrigeration made it possible for foods to be transported from hundreds and thousands of miles away. Instead of enjoying food picked from the farm within a day or two, it was in transit for weeks. Quality was lost somewhere down the line, likely between farm and fork.

The Comeback

So now, locally sourced food is the comeback kid, and thankfully, looks like it is here to stay. Higher demand by the millennials who emphasize fresh and organic has turned something that was sadly shoved into the corner in a niche back into the mainstream.

Getting Fresh with Farm-to-Table Dining
Vendors at West Palm Beach GreenMarket selling fresh produce.

Now we’re seeing more and more restaurants across the nation turning back to the concept of farm-to-table because the fewer hands that it goes through to get from the ground to your plate, the fresher it is and the more beneficial it is to the environment and the community. That means that everyone reaps the benefits of locally sourced items.

And the benefits of going more natural with a farm-to-tale concept will indeed give you some food for thought to chew on.

When you spend your money locally, it stays within your community. This helps make it stronger for everyone that lives there. Whether you’re buying for a restaurant kitchen or your own home kitchen, you’re getting the most bang for your budget. Restaurant patrons will likely find their meals to be even more appealing if you advertise information about the farm you buy your food from. It gives the feeling of being more in touch and more involved, something today’s diners are extremely conscientious of.

The Benefits

When you purchase food directly from the farm, it will naturally last much longer on your shelf. The reason? It didn’t spend time in a processing plant, or sitting on a truck waiting to be shipped out. Farm-to-table means that the food came right out of the ground and then went home with you. Whether you go to a local grower or begin to grow your own produce, you will see that when the food is fresher, it won’t spoil. And that saves money and cuts down on waste in the long run. Waste not, want not!

Restaurants that go the farm-to-table route can easily charge more money. And patrons will gladly pay for the higher prices when they know the food they are getting is top quality. Locally sourced produce and meats are more likely to be organic. Diners today are seeking out ingredients like these because they know that fresher, organic foods are not only healthier but they also taste better.

By going with a farm-to-table concept, restaurants are able to give customers the freshest foods, elevating the flavors of the cuisine that take a chef’s creation from ordinary to extraordinary. Nothing tastes better than fresh.

The trend of farm-to-table food

An additional bonus of farm-to-table food is that because fresh food has so much of its own flavor, chefs don’t fuss over it too much. Instead of dousing them with heavy sauces, they will go the minimalist route and keep it simple to help bring out the natural flavors. A simple drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, a squeeze of lemon, or even fresh cracked pepper are all the enhancers farm-fresh food ever needs.

Of course, while there are many farm-to-table restaurants out there, there are just as many restaurants who will attempt to trick you into thinking their food is farm-fresh. When looking for a truly farm-to-table restaurant, be sure to check out the ingredients being offered in your meal. The foods they will use will be fresh, seasonal and local.

So if you live in the northeast and you see “fresh” strawberries on the menu in the winter, it’s not going to be local, or fresh. Farm-to-table restaurants succeed on being creative with the available foods during each season. Don’t be afraid to ask where the restaurant sources its food. Farm-to-table restaurants are happy to show you their own gardens if they grow on-site or to talk about the farms that they use to bring their incredible dishes to your table.

Check this link for a list of the best farm-to-table restaurants in Florida.

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