As the name implies, farm to table means that the ingredients went straight from a farmer’s field to a plate. Farm to table is a carrot, for example, that is pulled from the dirt, hand-delivered by the farmer to a restaurant, roasted and served to you. It isn’t buying a carrot from another country in a grocery store.
This is because farm to table ingredients, whether fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy or grains, skipped the usual distribution methods, avoiding stores, distributors, markets, refrigerated trucks, borders, extended travel and so on that non-local food so often has. We wrote a blog post on why eating local food is good for you, your community, and your planet if you’re interested in learning more about local food.
Let’s learn more about what makes farm to table so awesome, from the relationship it creates between producers, makers and consumers to tangible examples of farm to table restaurants in action.
When it comes to farm to table restaurants, the chefs, owners and staff have a close and trusting relationship with the local farmers who they get their produce from. It’s a symbiotic relationship that both the farmer’s and the restaurant team’s livelihoods depend on in order to be successful. They even sometimes guarantee a percentage of the farm’s crops for their menus.
Local farmers oftentimes deliver their produce, meats, cheeses, grains and other ingredients in-person directly to the farm to table restaurants. In turn, the restaurant staff have a chance to get educated on how the food was farmed, produced and processed—and know exactly how it got to be in their kitchen (and on your plate). The restaurant team may even visit the farm and try farm-fresh and seasonal produce straight from the source.
The best-case scenario for consumers like ourselves is to visit, try or order in from the farm to table restaurant menus. Chomping into a local, farm-fresh tomato in its prime and drizzled in olive oil and vinegar is something your taste buds will never forget.
But another great opportunity to get the farm to table experience, without going to or ordering from a farm to table restaurant, is by going to a farmer’s market. We wrote a blog post in the past on why farmer’s markets are so popular in North America, and it’s because:
- Farm-fresh produce is often better for you
- Farm fresh produce tastes better
- Gives you the opportunity to support local communities
- Eat what’s in season (and what your body needs, seasonally, such as hearty carbs in the winter)
- Support local farmers, producers and eco-friendly processors
- Reduce your carbon footprint
Examples of great local farm to table restaurants
(Source: Instagram @farmrvan)
One great example of a farm to table restaurant (and one that Foodee delivers to modern offices) is Toronto’s Farm’r catering and eatery restaurant. Farm’r boasts that some of their producers and vendors are:
- Within 100km of the restaurant: They partner with local farmers across Ontario and work with an award-winning local food distributor.
- VG Meats: Fully-traceable family-owned company that has been producing high-quality meat since the 1970s.
- Organic Ocean: Their sustainable seafood supplier provides wild-caught tuna from the BC.
- JBR Farms: Local vegetable grower delivers fresh produce from the local Holland Marsh.
These are just a few examples of the lengths that Farm’r goes to in order to ensure that they maintain their farm to table status and quality.
(Source: Instagram @arborvancouver)
Another example of a restaurant that Foodee partners with that has many farm to table aspects is Arbor. This local Vancouver restaurant works with local farmers to bring seasonal produce into their kitchen and make nearly everything in-house—from the ketchup and mustard to their award-winning vegan and gluten-free burger patty.