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Farm to Table, What it All Means

Where does your food come from? Did you ever stop to wonder in mid January where that big plump ripe strawberry was grown? Certainly not in New England, not even in a Rimol greenhouse. It probably wasn’t grown in the Northeast, most likely not even in North America. People are starting to question where their food comes, not just that it is organic but that it is local as well. The modern term for a person interested in eating food that is locally produced is a locavore. Yes, there is a term for this type of person and the movement is very real.

Clearly the idea of locally sourced ingredients is popular and trendy, but it also makes sense. Locally grown food tastes and looks better; the food is better for you too. The shorter time table between farm and table means fewer nutrients will be lost. The economic impact is also an important reason to consider local food. Local farms are run by local families and the money spent with these families stays in the community. If a farmer has to sell to a national wholesaler the prices they get for the crops are much lower.

The home cook can visit a local farmers market, or visit one of the dozens of local farm stands; but what about the locavore that wants to venture out on a Saturday night for a little fine dining? Rest assured, the movement is alive and well in the restaurant industry. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, farm-to-table is one of today’s fastest-growing trends in food service.

A quick google search will yield several pages of local restaurants with farm-to-table menus. Many of these are smaller chef inspired establishments serving local produce, meats, shellfish, wine, and cheese. However, even the big guys are getting the hint that farm-to-fork is the wave of the future.

There are several large chain restaurants located throughout the country that are early adopters of the farm-to-table movement. Establishments such as Tender Greens, Paul Martin’s American Grill, and Farm Burger all serve locally sourced ingredients on their regular menu. This trend goes even further to the mega chains such as WalMart and McDonalds. Commercials airing on television today are touting WalMarts local produced found in their mega stores, and McDonalds is highlight stories of local potato farmers.

Additionally, Dyn, one of the largest DNS providers in the world headquartered in Manchester NH, recently opened an employee’s only farm-to-table café. This unique café is one of the first farm-to-table certified private restaurants in the state of New Hampshire.

With fuel costs on the rise, transporting food long distances has contributed higher prices for many items in the grocery store. While everything you eat can’t be grown in your backyard inside a Rimol greenhouse, those passionate about local food or the ‘locavore’ are pushing the national dialogue forward, making it easier to find fresh locally sourced options every day. Visit http://www.nhfarmtorestaurant.com/restaurant-certified-local-progra/certified-restaurants/ for a list of certified local farm-to-table restaurants in New Hampshire.