Local Sourcing Is Gaining Popularity
According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, consumers are showing a growing interest in where their food comes from. The What’s Hot culinary forecast for 2014 predicts that local sourcing will be one of the major trends.
The top ten
Local, healthy and sustainable eating topped the list of What’s Hot. The top ten featured:
Locally sourced meats and seafood
Locally grown produce
Healthful kids’ meals
Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
Farm/estate branded items
Clearly, the closer the food is grown, the more popular it will be. As an aspiring chef earning an online culinary arts certificate, you should be able to implement culinary trends in your cooking. That means cooking with local, sustainable and organic ingredients. You may not be entirely sure how to find these items, especially if you live in an urban area. Fortunately, you don’t have to live on a farm to get the freshest of produce.
Farmers markets are a great place to find local ingredients. Most towns and cities host them.The sellers are often small farms or businesses, and many grow or raise animals organically. Ask your vendors a few questions when you visit a market: Where you based? Is your food organic? What do you feed your animals?
You can find things other than meat and produce as well. Look for local honey and spices as well as homemade products like soap and decor items.
Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs operate in shares. If you buy a share in a local group, you are essentially helping to pay for the farmer’s expenses to grow or raise food. You get a portion of the food produced in return for your investment. Check into the farm’s practices – whether or not they are organic – when investigating local CSA programs.
U-pick and on-the-farm stands
Head to a local farm – there are online services that help you locate one – to buy directly from the grower. Not only will this help you find local, organic ingredients, but you will also ensure that 100 percent of the profits go to the producer. U-pick farms allow you to wander the orchards and grab the food you need. Many orchards work this way. Both of these methods provide you with the opportunity to get seasonal produce.
Food buying clubs are made up of individuals who order wholesale food together. They then distribute these mass orders amongst themselves. They are usually run by volunteer members who organize, order and keep the books.