(jumps onto soapbox)

Pop into your local supermarket or wholesaler tomorrow and you'll find strawberries or tomatoes. But have you thought how they got there? Did you know that most produce grown in the US travels an average of 1,500 miles before it arrives at your shop or supplier?


Shipping our food from around the world has a huge impact on the environment and the health of the planet. Think of all the CO2 produced to fly those strawberries in from Holland. Not only that but did you realise that there is now only a few varieties of strawberries to choose from, not grown for how great they taste, but how well they travel?

If you source your produce locally you'll not only reduce your businesses' carbon footprint, you'll also being supporting local producers, who not only have fresher, tastier food, but also a greater variety too.

Why not go one further and grow what you serve? Raymond Blanc's restaurant La Manoir does just that, growing 90 types of vegetables on his 2 acre site - the gardens supply his kitchens for nearly 8 months of the year!

Views: 3

Tags: Environment, Food, Miles

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Phillip on January 3, 2008 at 6:54pm
I think by just being aware of the imprint your restaurant leaves as well as the lineage of the food you serve is a great step towards conscientious cooking. Buying local for a smaller restaurant or a fine dining establishment which can afford to pay the premium for these quality goods is easy...and often required these days with the general public so enthralled with cooking and dining. It is much harder for large corporations. Companies such as fast food restaurants and large chains can hardly succeed in the battle of buying local when they use so much product and have such a rigid corporate hierarchy.

One of the biggest things MacDonald's did when they opened their first store in Russia was to start farming and sourcing many of the ingredients for their operation locally (locally being a very vague term in this case). They helped bring money into the economy though farming and cattle in addition to their retail stores.

There have to be lines drawn somewhere in the battle to buy and serve local food. Some people take a zealous pride in being a nearly entirely local operations (or local organic). This shouldn't be shunned but should be taken as it is. The food should be exciting and flavorful whether it is the peak of summer or the dead of winter, but the local restaurant will not have such opulent fare in the dead of winter as the restaurant across town who is flying in the finest "in season" ingredients from the southern hemisphere. It was a sad sight to see our gardens in the winter, mostly bare with braising greens and herbs in the greenhouse. It was also the most beautiful sight to behold when the spring came and the garden was filled with fragrant flowers and produce to use in the kitchen just a short walk (or even sunny stroll) away.

I don't mean this to be a rant and do appreciate and seek out the interesting menus crafted by chefs who use only the finest ingredients and oftentimes local products. Not all operations are set up to embrace the local food economy. I wish that more restaurants could afford to. In Michael Ruhlman's "The Reach of a Chef" He writes about a restaurant somewhere in the northeast United States (I forget where and don't have the book in front of me) that uses food grown entirely from it's local gardens with local meats and they change the menu daily to use what they have on hand to the greatest effect. I know I always have more confidence and pride in my food when I can tell a guest exactly who grew the produce they are eating and which small farm nearby the lamb came from.
Comment by Mark McKellier on January 2, 2008 at 6:06am
Oxford University Press USA have made 'locavore' their Word of the Year 2007 . Let's all become locavores!
Comment by Mark McKellier on January 2, 2008 at 3:11am
Hi Phillip, thanks for the recommendation. There is of course a dilemma with suddenly changing to local suppliers - a lot of developing countries rely on supplying their produce to developed countries - the FairTrade (www.fairtrade.org.uk) scheme will help address this, but is there a way to overcome this ethical drawback?
Comment by Mark McKellier on January 2, 2008 at 2:46am
Ciao Ascanio!
The '30-mile menu' concept sounds a great idea - restaurants would by default have some unique dishes, which they could expand on as the seasons change.
The other advantage to using locally produce is the quality - meat will be better as the animals will have been less stressed by travelling, and vegetables and fruit will have had less handling.
Comment by Ascanio on December 30, 2007 at 7:06pm
Ciao Mark i like you to read this:
THE OWNER of a restaurant in Marsh Benham has said that restaurateurs would earn more respect from their communities if they sourced food locally.
Xavier Le-Bellego, who owns The Red House, believes that buying locally produced food to put on the menu cuts his business’ carbon footprint, bolsters the local economy and ensures that his customers are fed fresh ingredients.
“We need to use produce which reflects the season. It’s no good using strawberries in the winter. And what is the point of buying things that come from miles away and travelling miles when you have the food right on your doorstep,” he said
Mr Le-Bellego’s turkeys and lambs come from Benham Stud, a farm 300 yards down the road from his restaurant, his beef comes from Highclere, and his pork and chicken is all locally sourced.
“Only restaurants with a bit of personality can sustain this. Others do not have the demand or the skill to do it,” he said.
The Red House is on the verge of introducing a “30-mile menu”, which will only use food bought within a 30-mile radius of the restaurant.
Mr Le-Bellego wants other restaurants to follow suit and said more should be done to support local food producers.
The avian flu outbreak in Norfolk and the foot-and-mouth scare in Surrey were additional reasons for buying local produce, he added.
Comment by Phillip on December 30, 2007 at 4:21pm
I'd like to recommend the book "Omnivore's Dilemna" to anyone interested in the true environmental and ethical impact of differing food chains.

He'll take you from a midwestern corn farm through processing and travel to an intimate albeit disturbing look at the feedlot and finally to the end destination for all that corn. The book also examines true sustainable organic and industrial organic farms, their impact on the land and health and the differences in marketing organic products. Finally the author explores the foraging food chain which involves him finding or hunting his entire meal.

Ah the rambling again. I'd recommend that book to anyone interested in food or farming and would also ask others to check out their local certified organic farmer's markets on the internet. At my last job there was a local market nearly every day of the week and the farmer's were happy to sell and deliver the quantities we were purchasing. The winter became a more sparse, but warmer menu and time when we adapted to what the farmers were able to grow for us in those times. We were blessed by a location filled with much rain and cold but no snow during the winter.

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

The Sip

The Sip: Stay up-to-date on the beer, wine and spirits category with original content from SmartBrief -More

New food offerings helped Starbucks boost sales

Baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and the first price increases in nearly four years helped lead Starbucks to a 7% same-store -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service