When people think of Americans, they often think of fast food. While it’s true that fast food concepts are prevalent in American culture, the more environmentally-conscious generations of late look for food options that make them feel good about the choices they are making. Many consumers feel more connected to restaurants and brands that promise to do their part to help the environment and support local small businesses. Some of the hardest working small businesses are community farms, who depend on the support of their communities to be successful. This is where the farm to table concept comes into play. Farm to table cuisine not only ensures fresh produce, meat and dairy, but creates positive symbiotic relationships between the restaurant and farming communities.
For example, restaurants who buy directly from local farms eliminate the middle man. In these instances, middle men could include packers, shippers, freezing processes and long transports on multiple trucks. While there are ways to do these things successfully, eliminating the need for freezing food and shipping it long distances provides chefs with the freshest ingredients possible.
The freshness of food is a huge contributor to a diner’s experience at a farm to table restaurant. Particularly concerning foods that spoil quickly such as fish, meat, dairy and eggs. When diners know they are eating food at it’s peak of freshness, they will think favorably of the restaurant and of course, enjoy their food more. Fresh fruits have a sweeter taste and brighter, more beautiful colors. Vegetables at peak freshness are crisp and flavorful and can positively enhance any dish.
Fresh dishes give restaurants a good reputation and an increased customer base. This high demand means the restaurant will continue to order food from local farms, keeping them active and in business. Additionally, these farms feel like they are even more integrated into the community. This cycle continues on, increasing sustainability from both an environmental and business perspective. Less use of big trucks for shipping reduces carbon emissions and protects the ozone layer. Local farms who will deliver food quickly have no need for additional preservatives that could be harmful to the environment and the community. Restaurants who buy direct from farms can pay cheaper wholesale prices rather than pay extra for imported goods with high markup that have been flown or trucked in from much further away. The money restaurants pay to farmers goes directly back into the farm to help it continue to produce regularly.
More and more types of cuisine are jumping in on the farm to table trend, so much so that it seems it is less of a trend and more of a new norm. Everything from burger joints to Thai food takeout concepts have committed to the movement, much to the pleasure of communities like Denver, who strongly value environmental sustainability and buying local. Denver is one of the top cities for millenials, who are particular about the businesses they frequent. Restaurants with a farm to table mentality have a greater chance of securing this important customer base and keeping them around.
When restaurants can support local farmers, both industries can thrive, which will ultimately lead to a happier, healthier, more connected community.