Approximate Provisions: Finding Locally Sourced Ingredients at Local Restaurants | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Approximate Provisions: Finding Locally Sourced Ingredients at Local Restaurants

You know that sinking feeling you get when you discover that the orange you just bought at the local supermarket came from South Africa? Imagine how long it has been off the tree compared to that one you bypassed at the green market that same morning. The same goes for what's being served at many local restaurants.

Fortunately, many of our local restaurants subscribe to the belief that nearer is dearer when it comes to sourcing ingredients. Some have even started gardening organically on-site, pulling veggies just moments before you spear the greenery with your fork and shove it into your piehole. But since so many restaurateurs claim that they use locally sourced foods, we reached out to local farmers and slow-food gurus to dish the names of the real McCoys.

Swank Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee
Call 561-202-5648, or visit
Jodi Swank works closely with chefs from the Hilton Fort Lauderdale's Ilios,

Marriott Harbor Beach's 3030 Ocean, Max's Grille in Boca Raton, and

Buonasera Ristorante in Jupiter. Café Boulud has been a loyal customer

since the farm's inception in 2002, and its chef, Zach Bell,

communicates with her often. Reps from da Campo Osteria, Todd English's

restaurant located inside the il Lugano hotel in Fort Lauderdale, said

its chefs plan weekly features around product availability and

conversations with Jodi and her husband, Farmer Darren.
Swank Farms

provides restaurants with more than 190 varieties of produce, ranging

from arugula to squash, and uses no fungicides or pesticides. "Our

products are harvested to order -- harvested, packed, and delivered the

same day," she reported. "All greens are living with the roots

attached."  Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana, another of Swank's customers,

shouts its allegiance right on the menu: "We support our local farmers,

so should you!" All its herbs are grown in-house, and its prosciutto

rossa is produced in Iowa and comes from domestic Berkshire pigs.

Gold and Treasure Coast Slow Food Convivium

Wyner, a producer of green markets and leader of the Gold and Treasure

Coast Slow Food Convivium, said she knew locally sourced foods were

being employed often at Little Moir's Leftovers Café and Little Moir's

Food Shack in Jupiter. "The menus there are practically penciled in

because they change so frequently," she said of the latter.

Tomato Girl
 Call 561-281-4483, or visit

there are obvious reasons locally sourced foods are best, but sometimes

tertiary benefits make the investment even more worthwhile. When the

Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, buys heirloom tomatoes from Tomato Girl, a

business providing at least 16 varieties for sale to local restaurants,

for example, the profits support the Loxahatchee Wildlife Center and

its furry, scaly, and feathered inhabitants. Who knew we could eat our

way toward a greater good?

Restaurant Gardens

Omphoy in Palm Beach has its own rooftop garden with rainwater

irrigation, according to chef Michelle Bernstein. Her chefs plant

everything from zucchini blossoms to beans, herbs, spinach, sorrel, and

arugula. And Kyle Pintarelli, director of food and beverage for the

Windsor Gardens Hotel, reported his Secret's Piano Bar also grows its

own herbs and vegetables. He added, via email, "Our restaurant goes out

of its way to work with local growers, vendors, and distributors. We

believe in sustainable farming and 'humane harvesting' farms, such as

Elysian Field's lamb out of West Virginia."

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Riki Altman

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