Garden to Table

Good morning chefs and cooks! Carrying on from my last post, “foraging”, I would like to suggest another way to bring excellent food to the table. This is not a new concept by any means, but the concept has evolved. Read on below for more information.

FARM TO TABLE DEFINITION

Farm-to-table (or farm-to-fork, and in some cases farm-to-school) is a social movement which promotes serving local food at restaurants and school cafeterias, preferably through direct acquisition from the producer (which might be a winery, brewery, ranch, fishery, or other type of food producer which is not strictly a “farm”). This might be accomplished by a direct sales relationship, a community-supported agriculture arrangement, a farmer’s market, a local distributor or by the restaurant or school raising its own food. Farm-to-table often incorporates a form of food traceability (celebrated as “knowing where your food comes from”) where the origin of the food is identified to consumers. Often restaurants cannot source all the food they need for dishes locally, so only some dishes or only some ingredients are labelled as local.

GARDEN TO TABLE

Used to be a big deal when a restaurant grew a few herbs and edible flowers. In some cases its no more than a smoke screen to give the illusion of “farm fresh”, when in fact it’s not really all that. Today, the consumer expectation is much higher, and I would add, supported! In addition to growing herbs and flowers, consider the following. Rooftop or patio gardens, planters and pots, raised beds, vertical garden kits or a small greenhouse. It is quite possible for a small restaurant to be almost sustainable with the inclusion of a few of these ideas. At the other end of the spectrum, larger restaurants or hotels can still implement these principles with the addition of a few caveats. One property I worked at a number of years ago had beautiful gardens kept by a professional gardener, thus providing fresh produce throughout the Spring to Fall season. If this might not be in your budget, here is another idea. In addition to daily visits to your local farmers market, you may be able to source someone to grow specific specialty items for you. While working in the Quinte region of Ontario, I discovered what is called an urban farmer. Click on the following image for a short wiki explanation.

CONCLUSION

There are many resources out there, take the time to investigate your options. feel free to contact me if you would like a little help in your area, you might be surprised at what’s available. In addition to providing your customers with a superior product, you are also contributing to the fast emerging trend of sustainability!

Cheers, and happy gardening!