Feature

Is Local Farming Still Popular in 2012? More Than Ever

Food Trends 2012 Header

PBS shines a light on latest food trends in 2012 thus far. We set out to see what is new in the culinary world and what the near future looks like for foodies, so we spoke with esteemed chefs and culinary professionals across the country to get their insight on this phenomenon.

Spring Produce

Local farming continues to build upon itself, and more restaurants are looking to local farms for ingredients. Photo Credit: Jenna Weber, eatliverun.com

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By Alex Fishler

The local food movement trend is carrying over from 2011 because chefs argue that locally-grown food tastes better.

Sean Brock, executive chef of McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C., said that his restaurant appreciates local farming and now only uses ingredients from these farms.

“After six years in Charleston we are at a point where we only buy from farms,” he said. “I could talk about the importance for hours. It all boils down to two very important facts: the food tastes better because it travels a shorter distance, therefore making it fresher, and the money stays in your community. It’s a win-win,” he added.

Brock also says that this trend is going beyond restaurant kitchens and making its way into people’s homes.

“This idea can also be utilized by people at home. There are several CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] programs across America,” said Brock.

Even being based in New York City, Eduard Frauneder, chef and owner of Edi & the Wolf, said that local farming is still something that can be supported.

“We have very close ties to Union Square Market, [in New York City], which is open four days a week and [someone] drops off produce or grains at the restaurant before they go to [work at] the market,” he said.

The local farming movement is not confined to the East Coast. Chef Paul Kulik in Omaha, Neb., relies on local farming for his restaurant as well. Kulik said that from the moment his restaurant started, he began cultivating relationships with local farmers.

“A lot of farmers looked at us with some suspicion in the early days. Local buying was very uncommon. Soon after we opened we met a lot of new and spectacular producers,” he said.

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Markets are a great source of local produce. Chefs and healthy eaters alike are visiting in droves. Photo Credit: Jenna Weber, eatliverun.com

Kulik relies so heavily on local farming for his restaurant, The Boiler Room because he said, “I am of the belief that Nebraska produces some of the best asparagus, pork, beef, radishes and sunchokes anywhere. It’s fun to learn what works here.”

Chef Clayton Chapman, also from Omaha, agreed that local farming plays a large role in his restaurant, The Grey Plume, as well.

“Our whole business model is dependent upon [local farming]. We work with over 50 local growers on a daily basis. This includes sourcing proteins, produce, dairy, flour, and vinegar among others,” he said.
Chapman said that one of the main benefits from the partnership is being fully transparent with the customers about where they get their food.

“We have the ability to share with our guests where there food is coming from and how it was produced. We can work with local growers to help plan for the growing season ahead and plant items that we would like to incorporate into our menu,” he said.

Chefs Featured in This Article

Chef Sean BrockChef Sean Brock is the executive chef at McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a 2012 nominee for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. Chef Eduard FraunederChef Eduard Frauneder is the chef and owner of Edi and the Wolf in New York City. He is one of the youngest Michelin star recipients from Austria.
Chef Paul KulikChef Paul Kulik is the chef and owner of The Boiler Room in Omaha, Nebraska. He was nominated for the 2012 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest. Chef Clayton ChapmanChef Clayton Chapman is the chef owner of The Grey Plume in Omaha, Nebraska. It was named “The Greenest Restaurant in the Country” in 2010.