Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Restaurants Are Returning to The Farm

What was once a necessity has become a trendy luxury.

"Farm to table" is a popular catchphrase in today's fine dining. But it's actually the way that many of our grandparents or great-grandparents ate in their day.

Rural folk ate fruits and vegetables in season, because that's what was growing in their back yard. They didn't run to the grocery store every time they had an urge for grapes or asparagus. Even non-farmers often raised a few hens in their back yard to provide eggs and occasional chicken dinners. Those who had cows or pigs used as much of the animal as possible. You couldn't buy cellophane-wrapped packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or ready-cooked strips of bacon.

Now the culinary world is moving back to the concept of "knowing where your food comes from." Chefs are developing "relationships" with local producers and food artisans. Farmers are no longer anonymous suppliers but are gaining brand recognition in the same way that people think of Nike or Apple: Copper Moose Farms, High Star Farm, Bell Organic Gardens and so on. Menus proudly list items such as Morgan Valley lamb, Pleasant Creek Ranch beef, Colosimo sausage or Beehive cheddar cheese, which all come from right here in Utah.

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