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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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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."