local food

Hello all! My name is Ana Bowens, and I am excited to be interning at FarmPlate for the next couple of months! I am a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover but originally from downtown Manhattan. I am an evolving foodie with particular interests in sustainable food practices and spreading knowledge about the benefits of eating locally and sustainably. Needless to say, there are many misconceptions about health and nutrition in today’s world of Big Macs and other foods that are assumed to be healthy simply because they are marketed as sugar free (which often just means “full of chemicals that make this food item taste artificially sweet!”). There is a lot of work to be done on...
Photo by Lucy Senesac Lots of tech types make the trek from San Francisco to Silicon Valley on a daily basis. While some (we’re looking at you, Googlers) enjoy world-class dining at their corporate cafeterias, some folks will undoubtedly be seeking some quality sustenance before or after a long day at work. That’s why we’ve put together our second travel guide, inspired by our commuter friends who brave California’s highways every day, in partnership with the Eat Well Guide, who also offers a trip planner tool to find good food wherever you happen to be traveling. There are lots of Chipotles along the way, so check out their site for a location finder, if you’re in a rush. Otherwise, check...
A few months ago, we wrote a brief blog post about Bright Farms, a New York-based company that produces a system of hydroponic greenhouse farms for supermarkets. They had just raised an initial round of funding for the system, which helps eliminate most of the costs and negative byproducts of food transport by growing produce for sale on-site.  Now, The New York Times reports that the company is scheduled to begin construction on the largest rooftop farm in the U.S., and possibly the world. The company is in talks with grocery stores in the five boroughs, who will agree to purchase lettuce, tomatoes, and other produce from the farm. Set to be perched above a former Navy warehouse...
New York’s ABC Kitchen, which won the 2011 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, has gone to great lengths to earn its farm-to-table reputation. The restaurant and its team of chefs have committed to sourcing 70% of its menu from within 90 miles of the restaurant between May and October but often sources up to 85% locally.  The majority of produce in the restaurant is locally grown on organic farms that do not use pesticides synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, or GMOs. The meat products are also locally sourced where possible, and the animals were treated humanely. That’s an astounding achievement for a fine dining restaurant in New York City! We at...
The Virginia Department of Agriculture promises a $1.65 billion bump to the local economy—that’s if every household in Virginia spends at least $10 per week on locally grown foods.  What a remarkably simple proposition! And unlike many government programs, the math actually checks out: a total state population of just over eight million (according to the U.S. Census) divided by the average household size of 2.5 people, times 52 weeks a year, times $10 would indeed bring in just over $1.65 billion. The “$10 Buy Local Challenge” appears to have gained support among a group of key players in Virginia’s agriculture industry, and it’s great that the VA Department of Ag. has gone to such...
A great piece on NorthJersey.com offers all sorts of advice for those of us mourning the decreased connection to our food during the winter months.  Elisa Ung, the Record’s restaurant reviewer, encourages readers to seek out a local winter farmers’ market and connect with their nearby Slow Food chapter. And instead of succumbing to the winter doldrums, it’s important to focus on finding sources of local eggs, meat, and seafood (click the links to search in your area). Even if you don’t have the time, surely some of the great local farm-to-table chefs do. Of course, we think the easiest way to find great local food is to search FarmPlate.com.   Here are a few of the specific...
Sponsored by Whole Foods Market and Gilt Taste, The 2nd Annual Good Food Awards were presented on January 18 in San Francisco. The Awards are designed to reward both the incredible tastiness of our country’s local and artisanal food products, and also those businesses that support sustainability and social good.   Winners are selected in eight categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves and spirits. Of the 99 winners designed to reward businesses in each of five geographic regions, the Northeast did a great job representing local food at this national event, particularly in the cheese, pickles and preserves categories. Click on the profiles below to...
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Manresa Restaurant’s David Kinch now calls the California coast home. Kinch, who was GQ’s Chef of the Year in 2011, is fanatical about the ingredients he uses in his cooking.   That’s why the award-winning chef struck such a unique relationship with a champion produce grower near his Los Gatos restaurant. Cynthia Sandberg and her Love Apple Farms have worked almost exclusively with Kinch and Manresa for about six years now. Sandberg owns the farm, but she and Chef Kinch work together closely to raise the best possible ingredients for Kinch’s signature style of cuisine (Kinch, a James Beard Award finalist, has serious cooking chops, having...
Blame (or thank) the still-crippled housing market for our renewed commitment to our local communities.  Americans aren’t moving as much, which may be one reason the locavore movement is spreading as quickly as it is.  For the first time in generations, we’re putting down roots again. A great article by NPR examines the impacts not just on the way we eat, but also on the way we do finance, gather and consume news and information, and support causes. Staying put also affects how we behave online, and how we get around – and stay around – town. The results of all of this inertia are anything but small and humdrum, but often innovative and nourishing in very real ways. “You can...
On December 7, Liza De Guia, the woman behind the Food. Curated. video series was awarded The Village Voice Web Award for Best Use of Video in Food Blogging. De Guia’s video Hurricane Irene Aftermath: The Story of Maple Downs Farm was a featured video in the series.  Even though De Guia has achieved praise and garnered awards for her work, she is still a one-woman operation. She does all of her own writing, shooting and editing, booking, producing, marketing and social media.  De Guia sees herself as a storyteller, and her work as helping both consumers and the food artisans she’s profiling. “I love telling stories, helping people eat better, make better choices and better connect...
The FoodCorps MissionGetting local food into local schools is not impossible. In fact, on November 22nd — for the first time since anyone can remember — my county school system will be serving local sweet potatoes. I am a young farmer and cook who is taking a year to serve with FoodCorps, a great new national nonprofit made up of fifty leaders who are trying to foster some much-needed change in our nation’s school food system.  One of the ways we do this is through getting local produce into our school cafeterias. Our goal is to make a big impact on the health of our nation’s kids, while making a smaller impact on the health of our nation’s environment. Side effects include stronger...
Denise Breyley has one of the most coveted jobs in the local food world. As Whole Foods’ Local Forager in the Pacific Northwest and a 17-year veteran of the company, it’s her job to travel around Washington, Oregon and British Columbia in search of the next great local food products to sell at Whole Foods Market.  Breyley sees it as her mission to learn about the local community, find great local producers, and bring those products into Whole Foods’ stores. But more than that, she is dedicated to making food entrepreneurs successful. “Anyone can throw a local item on their shelf. My job is to make sure people have a good shot at being successful, that their products are actually going...
New analysis by the USDA says the local food market is bigger than previously expected — $4.8 billion in 2008. That includes “sales to intermediaries, such as local grocers and restaurants, as well as directly to consumers through farmers markets, roadside stands and the like." The real story, though, is the continued growth expected to achieve. Between 1998 and 2009, the number of farmers’ markets doubled, and growth in total sales of local food is expected to top $7 billion this year, a 46% increase between 2008 and 2011. The bulk of the new sales came from supermarkets and restaurants, and the USDA analysis didn’t include sales to schools and other institutions. Take a look at this...
In a few short years, Burlington’s Skinny Pancake creperie has become something of an institution. Co-founder Benjy Adler started his business in 2003 as a two-man operation with his brother Jonny. Together, they manned a cart on the main pedestrian walking mall in Burlington, making sweet and savory crepes for hungry passers-by. In 2007, they opened a full-fledged restaurant on Burlington’s waterfront. Benjy later launched a second Skinny Pancake location in Montpelier, and in 2010, he launched The Chubby Muffin in the Old North End of Burlington. All three locations – along with the still-running food cart – source a majority of their food locally from a group of about 30 farms and...
The large snowfall over much of the northeast at the end of October did more than just knock out power and disrupt trick-or-treating—it left many farmers scrambling to finish up their usual fall clean-up and get ready for winter. Jeff and Renee Cantara of New Roots Farm in Newmarket, New Hampshire, put out a call for help from their local community by organizing a crop mob last weekend. With the promise of a beautiful fall day and some farm-raised BBQ for lunch, about ten volunteers gathered at the farm on Sunday morning. "Organic farming on the seacoast isn't all just gorgeous people standing around munching brocolli rabe and meditating on the relative merits of green manure. There's a...