Project Green Leaf

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Farm To Restaurant


tomatoes Information For Farmers
tomatoes Information For Restaurants
tomatoes Participating Restaurants

The goal of Project Green Leaf's Farm-to-Restaurant program is to make more local farm products available at area restaurants.  This not only provides consumers another way to support local agriculture, but also provides farmers with a valuable direct marketing outlet.  Restaurants that use local farm products have a competitive edge as more consumers seek out restaurants that are committed to serving quality, flavorful, food, while supporting local agriculture.

North Carolina is rich in agriculture, supporting a number of small, medium and large-scale farmers.  Locally produced food items include: vegetables, fruits, honey, poultry, pork, beef and dairy cattle, goats, sheep, ostrich and fish.  A number of small-scale producers focus on artisan cheeses, baked goods, and heirloom varieties of produce. 

Project Green Leaf works with farmers and restaurant staff to identify and overcome obstacles.  We help to make it easier for restaurants and farmers to receive and sell farm products.

tomatoes Information For Farmers

Selling your farm products to restaurants can be a valuable direct marketing method. Many chefs and restaurant owners realize the benefits of using the freshest ingredients in their recipes.  Chefs are aware of the public's interest in gourmet foods and eating healthy.  The public (or eaters) is  aware that fresh, local food tastes better and many are eager to support their local farmers.

Advantages
Like other direct marketing methods, selling to restaurants allows you to have direct contact with the person buying, and often cooking, your product. 

heirloom tomatoes
  • Offers an outlet throughout the growing season
  • Chef provide feedback about your product and service
  • Some restaurants pay a premium price for quality products
  • Some restaurants advertise "locally grown" on their menus, including the name of the farm 
  • Advertising for your farm; a bonus if your have other direct marketing outlets such as farmers markets, roadside stands or a CSA arrangement
Things to Consider:
  • Consistency in quality and reliability of service and delivery
  • Restaurants have limited cooler space, requiring frequent deliveries of small quantities
  • Restaurants accept deliveries only at certain hours of the day 
  • Multiple restaurant delivery arrangements may be needed to justify time and costs
  • Proper packaging of products, easily stored in coolers or on shelves
  • Clean, sanitary, fresh, quality products (no seconds!)

Chatham County Cooperative Extension has compiled a very helpful list of tips for selling and marketing to retail stores and restaurants- click here

Click here to see list of participating restaurants in the Triad area

If you are interested in finding out more information about establishing a restaurant agreement, contact Project Green Leaf at (336)256-0439 or s_andrea@uncg.edu

tomatoesInformation for Restaurants

Advantages
Not many people will disagree that you can't beat local produce for freshness and taste.  Fresh produce that has traveled ten to thirty miles is going to taste better than produce that has traveled thousands of miles over several days.   Local farmers often harvest that day or the day before to deliver fresh, quality produce.  Increasingly, customers are conscious of where their food comes and choose to support local agriculture by eating at places that provide it.

Working directly with farmers keeps you up to date on growing conditions and seasonal availability. Planning ahead, you can tell them about upcoming menu ideas, storage tips, and business fluctuations. Farmers make their farm plan in November, December and January.  Planning with them will make things smoother during the growing season.

Things to Consider:

chefs
  • Plan with a number of farmers
  • Keep track of whom you have verbal or written agreenments
  • Make farmer and chef expectations clear from the beginning
  • Agree on variety, size, color, quantity and packaging
  • Inform the farmer on how you plan to use the product (sauces, sandwiches, garnishes)
  • Get entire kitchen staff on board to receive farmers' products
  • Be clear on method and frequency of payment

Note: In order for these agreements to work smoothly,  farmers, chefs,  sous-chefs and wait staff need to be committed to the process.  These agreements may involve news ways of receiving, handling, storing and preparing products.  Frequent communication among each of these groups is important. When one group is dissatisfied, rest assured the others will be too.

tomatoesParticipating Restaurants & Bakeries

Listed below are local restaurants which make efforts to provide local farm products on their menus.  Consumers should inquire whether food on the menus at their favorite restaurants is locally produced.  If it isn't, suggest that they make efforts to do so!

Greensboro:

Winston-Salem:

Durham:

Others interested in listing on this website please contact Project Green Leaf at (336) 256-1164 or email, Project Green Leaf