Approximate Provisions: Finding Locally Sourced Ingredients at Local Restaurants

You know that sinking feeling you get when you discover that the orange you just bought at the local supermarket came from South Africa? Imagine how long it has been off the tree compared to that one you bypassed at the green market that same morning. The same goes for what's being served at many local restaurants.

Fortunately, many of our local restaurants subscribe to the belief that nearer is dearer when it comes to sourcing ingredients. Some have even started gardening organically on-site, pulling veggies just moments before you spear the greenery with your fork and shove it into your piehole. But since so many restaurateurs claim that they use locally sourced foods, we reached out to local farmers and slow-food gurus to dish the names of the real McCoys.
 


Swank Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee
Call 561-202-5648, or visit swankspecialtyproduce.com.
Jodi Swank works closely with chefs from the Hilton Fort Lauderdale's Ilios,
Marriott Harbor Beach's 3030 Ocean, Max's Grille in Boca Raton, and Buonasera Ristorante in Jupiter. Café Boulud has been a loyal customer since the farm's inception in 2002, and its chef, Zach Bell, communicates with her often. Reps from da Campo Osteria, Todd English's restaurant located inside the il Lugano hotel in Fort Lauderdale, said its chefs plan weekly features around product availability and conversations with Jodi and her husband, Farmer Darren.
Swank Farms provides restaurants with more than 190 varieties of produce, ranging from arugula to squash, and uses no fungicides or pesticides. "Our products are harvested to order -- harvested, packed, and delivered the same day," she reported. "All greens are living with the roots attached."  Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana, another of Swank's customers, shouts its allegiance right on the menu: "We support our local farmers, so should you!" All its herbs are grown in-house, and its prosciutto rossa is produced in Iowa and comes from domestic Berkshire pigs.

Gold and Treasure Coast Slow Food Convivium
 Visit varrigreenfarm.com/slow-web/index.html.
T.A. Wyner, a producer of green markets and leader of the Gold and Treasure Coast Slow Food Convivium, said she knew locally sourced foods were being employed often at Little Moir's Leftovers Café and Little Moir's Food Shack in Jupiter. "The menus there are practically penciled in because they change so frequently," she said of the latter.

Tomato Girl
 Call 561-281-4483, or visit tropicalpond.com.
Sure, there are obvious reasons locally sourced foods are best, but sometimes tertiary benefits make the investment even more worthwhile. When the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, buys heirloom tomatoes from Tomato Girl, a business providing at least 16 varieties for sale to local restaurants, for example, the profits support the Loxahatchee Wildlife Center and its furry, scaly, and feathered inhabitants. Who knew we could eat our way toward a greater good?

Restaurant Gardens
The Omphoy in Palm Beach has its own rooftop garden with rainwater irrigation, according to chef Michelle Bernstein. Her chefs plant everything from zucchini blossoms to beans, herbs, spinach, sorrel, and arugula. And Kyle Pintarelli, director of food and beverage for the Windsor Gardens Hotel, reported his Secret's Piano Bar also grows its own herbs and vegetables. He added, via email, "Our restaurant goes out of its way to work with local growers, vendors, and distributors. We believe in sustainable farming and 'humane harvesting' farms, such as Elysian Field's lamb out of West Virginia."

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