Autumn is in full swing and that means that restaurants who buy locally or from farm to table are tweaking their menus to reflect seasonal options. Restaurants who buy from local farms and use ingredients that are in season (not frozen) are not only serving the freshest food possible, but they are also contributing to the local economy by doing business with area farmers.
Alice Waters, the executive chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California has been at the forefront of the Farm-to-Table movement. Since Chez Panisse opened its doors in 1971 Waters and her team have been cultivating relationships with local farmers because she is convinced the best meals contain ingredients that are fresh.
This philosophy is paying off, Chez Panisse has been recognized as
one of the world’s best restaurants since 2002, and there are other Farm-to-Table restaurants that have earned similar kudos. The Herbfarm, located in Washington State began as a nursery but in 1986 converted the farm garage into a restaurant. Owners Ron Zimmerman and his wife Carrie Van Dyck say their fresh ingredients helped earn The Herbfarm the prestigious AAA 5-diamond award. For a list of recognized Farm-to-Table restaurants in your state check out the American Farm to Table Restaurant Guide.
Not all restaurants are able to be 100% committed to the locally grown mission like Chez Panisse and The Herbfarm, but some do make efforts where they can. For instance, have you ever noticed the some restaurants have “seasonal vegetables” listed as a side option? When available chose the seasonal veggies over your usual mashed potatoes or string beans, they are going to be the freshest. Also Seasons 52 is a high end restaurant chain where the menus are inspired by the season and guarantee fresh healthy food, oh and their wine lists aren’t bad either!
- Chez Panisse: Embracing 40 Years of Marriage With Local and Organic Meals (friendseat.com)
- Edible Selby | Chez Panisse Turns 40 (tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com)