Many restaurants are looking for ways to set their business apart from the rest. This week we can help you change what goes on your ranges for cooking by investigating the popularity of the locavore movement. A unique approach to buying, preparing, and serving food, the locavore philosophy can be a way to improve your relationship with both the surrounding community and with your customers.
About the Locavore Philosophy
The term “locavore” refers to a person who is committed to eating local foods. What constitutes “local” can vary depending on who you ask to define “locavore”; it can mean keeping to foods within a 100-mile radius of your home to keep within an entire city or region of your state. The type of food available to locavores ranges from eggs from local farms and vegetables from farmers’ markets to local honey sold at a grocery store.
Why Go Locavore?
Choosing to stick to the locavore philosophy may have some drawbacks for businesses, but the benefits are great as well. The most obvious benefit of eating locally is that you and your customers know where your food comes from and what is in it. The resulting menu for your ranges, then, consists of fresher foods, opportunities for seasonal dishes, and a greater variety of foods to cook on your ranges. Patronizing local growers and vendors also puts money directly back into the local economy, avoiding the need to exact a chunk of profit for a middleman in the production or shipping process.
How to Buy and Eat Locally
Raw fruits and vegetables are main contenders in a locavore’s starting menu, but it is equally possible to find local poultry, eggs, dairy, and meats. And this philosophy doesn’t just apply to raw ingredients! The type of food you can get from local vendors ranges from the simple to the fully-finished. Locally-made jams, coffee, baked goods, paper products, and even beer can be incorporated into your restaurant’s repertoire.
How to Alter Your Menu
You may not be able to turn your whole menu into a locavore’s feast—and that’s fine! Instead, try swapping out 5 major ingredients for foods that you can easily obtain locally and use on your ranges and in your ovens. Alternately, you could choose to make 2 or 3 dishes for your ranges that you can tout as completely locavore-friendly. You should also advertise your vendors on your menu, even if only by way of a small list on its back. This lets your patrons know exactly where their food is coming from—and isn’t that the point of going local? Plus, it will help you strengthen your relationship with your vendors, who will appreciate the publicity.