Local restaurants like the use of locally grown food
In a time where more attention is paid to the origin of our food, more local eateries strive to serve locally sourced meals.
Farm to table is a culinary movement focused on supporting locally grown food, which is sold to and prepared by restaurants, according to Ashley Shaffer, associate of The Brickyard in downtown Williamsport. This is not only exclusive to livestock, however; producers of the food can be in the winery, fishery, ranch or other industries.
A major draw of the farm to table movement is the process in procuring the products from producers. While all food still must be inspected at a federally licensed facility, the process is more streamlined as producers take the food to them themselves, then present their goods for purchase to eateries, according to Ned Wroush II, owner of Moon and Raven in downtown Williamsport.
“The food comes from farmers, who raise and harvest their food. They then take that food and it goes through an inspection facility,” said Wroush.
Another positive of offering farm to table options is it supports the local area, according to Wroush.
“It supports the local community, and it supports our neighbors. While quality is always our first priority, we like that farm to table food is more community friendly,” said Wroush.
Kelli McCloskey, manager of Barrel 135, agrees, saying that its important to her business that the food come from a familiar place.
“We like local. Not only do we buy and use local food, it’s a priority for us. It’s more important to have something we know than a cheaper price,” said McCloskey.
While the community aspect of farm to table food is a positive for restaurants and foodies alike, customers certainly will notice a price difference. However, restaurateurs will quickly explain the higher prices are well worth it, for producers of the food they purchase, as well as their employees and themselves, according to Wroush.
“I think it is important for the customer to know that the reason that some of our prices are the way they are is because we are paying fair, living wages. Not only to our team, but to fellow community members,” explains Wroush.
“Nowadays not all about the cheaper price, its more about the quality and where it comes from. People want to know. It’s kind of like a tattoo; you get what you pay for,” says McCloskey.
The price is well worth it, according those in the restaurant industry. Wroush, McCloskey, and Shaffer all notice a significant increase in
quality when using food products sourced from a local farm instead of a major food distributor such as Costco or Sam’s Club.
“As long as the quality is at a point that meets our standards, we’ll continue to do business with a farmer, as long as the price is at a point we think the market will bear,” explains Wroush.
Shaffer believes the draw of customers to farm to table supporting businesses stems from customers looking for less worry when dining.
“People prefer (farm to table), they know it doesn’t have any additives or hormones. It adds a piece of mind when it comes to quality.”