Benefits of Supporting Farm-to-Table

Posted on Thursday, 1 April 2021 under Stories

Promote local businesses and support sustainable food systems by participating in the farm-to-table movement. Many restaurants and cafes around the province choose to source their ingredients directly from nearby growers. Working closely with local farmers to source fresh and seasonal produce leads to numerous environmental and economic benefits.

Farm-to-table follows farmers throughout the growing year, therefore menus are adapted to available produce. Chefs are inspired by the changing seasons and customers get to experience fresh and exciting meal options.

“The customers benefit from the quality and freshness, and they can feel good about the impacts of the choices they make. Many varieties the farm grows have been chosen for flavour, not how well they will ship.”

– Terra Park, Terra Firma’s Kitchen Co-owner

Revelstoke’s Terra Firma’s Kitchen subscribes to the farm-to-table model and attests to its benefits for both customers and farmers. Co-owner, Terra Park says growers, like herself, benefit by being able to sell produce directly to local businesses and eaters who are re-connected to where their food comes from. With these collaborative relationships, farmers have influence over menus and therefore reduce the amount of on-farm waste.

“If there is a bumper crop of a particular vegetable it will be reflected in the menu. Bumper crops happen because the conditions were favourable for that particular crop which means their quality is going to be higher. If you have a set menu you are not going to benefit from those types of things,” says Park.

wooden box of produce

Photo courtesy of Northwave Media

Chefs may also benefit from this model because they can request vegetables that may be unusual and not easily found through typical distribution methods. Unlike conventional transportation networks, farm-to-table also minimizes the distance food travels and reduces packing waste. This leads to a reduction of fossil fuel emissions and minimizes the amount of waste ending up in landfills.

Park sources her produce from Terra Firma Farms, where she is also co-owner. She says since its establishment in 2010, their production reached a threshold where they could supply a restaurant year-round if they were to create seasonally appropriate menus.

“Most restaurants have set menus and the supply would not match most restaurants’ needs. The only way we could see it working is if we were able to have a greater influence on the menu, with it changing frequently,” says Park.

Park says her team at Terra Firma Farms jumped at the opportunity to partner with restaurateur, Kevan McCroy to open Terra Firma’s Kitchen. Their team’s passion for local produce is shared and celebrated with the community.

“By purchasing locally and observing the seasons there is a story about where your meal comes from and why particular ingredients were chosen for each dish,” adds Park.