Q: “Farm-to-Table” is a current food trend.  What should you consider when deciding to purchase “Farm-to-Table” food?

A: Farm-to-Table is generally regarded as a social movement that promotes serving/consuming locally grown food at restaurants through direct procurement from the producer.  It often incorporates a form of food traceability allowing consumers to know where the food originated.

When thinking about “Farm-to-Table”, here are a couple things to keep mind:

  • All food originates from a farm, a grove, fishery, etc
  • Not all foods can be locally sourced
  • Locally sourced food may be of lesser quality due to limitations in the local growing conditions
  • Finally, a recent Tampa, Florida study found the majority of restaurants promoting “Farm-to-Table” were not actually purchasing locally sourced food

If you want to implement, consider the following options:

  • When dining out:
    • Ask the server or chef about food labeled as “Farm-to-Table”
    • Restaurants charge a premium for “Farm-to-Table” food items.  Does the menu price seem right
    • Consider the local growing season.  There are fewer “Farm-to-Table” options in winter
  • Better yet, eat at home because it is cheaper, healthier and you can dictate the source.  When dining at home
    • Shop at locally owned grocery stores, butcher shops, etc
    • Ask the store where the food actually came from and when it was purchased
    • Purchase produce that is in season
    • Limit purchases of processed and packaged food

The following website was used in answering the question: