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.
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.