We’re willing to bet that sometime in the last few weeks you heard the phrase “farm-to-table.” One of the country’s current culinary buzzwords, the farm-to-table movement emphasizes buying locally sourced food, usually from smaller-scale producers.
Farm-to-table restaurants are popping up across the country with chefs devoting their menus to local, sustainable ingredients. Our three-part series explores the best places for farm-to-table dining across the continental United States — starting with the West Coast.
Well known for its farmers markets, Seattle is a city that takes locally sourced food seriously. All kinds of restaurants, from mom-and-pop shops to fast casual chain Chipotle, buy ingredients from local farms, with positive economic repercussions for the area.
Local dining options abound for visitors to Seattle — take your pick of farm-to-table focused restaurants or farms that host their own dinners. As an added bonus, spruce up your dining table by purchasing flowers at the famous Pike Place Market, where tons of vendors sell bouquets at rock-bottom prices.
Portland, with a well-earned reputation as one of country’s most alternative cities, thrives on farm-to-table dining. The region’s vast natural resources enable local production of fruits, veggies, seafood, wild game and wine, among other foods, making it a veritable playground for chefs who like to source locally.
Check out Travel Portland for a listing of the city’s farm-to-table dining options. Willamette Valley wine country also boasts a number of farm-to-table dining operations — don’t leave without trying a few of the region’s renowned pinot noirs.
It’s virtually impossible to read an article about the farm-to-table movement that doesn’t reference chef Alice Waters and her iconic Berkeley restaurant Chef Panisse. More than 40 years later, the Bay Area remains one of the country’s foremost food regions, emphasizing seasonal, sustainable ingredients.
If you seek a more innovative farm-to-table experience, look no further than San Francisco’s molecular gastronomy movement, where chefs experiment with the chemical transformations that take place during cooking.
With near-perfect weather year-round, it shouldn’t be surprising that San Diego hosts an abundance of small farms growing everything from greens to melons to beans. Somewhat overlooked on the national culinary scene, this city doesn’t yet have the reputation of more established slow food cities like San Francisco or Seattle.
This central Texas enclave has become one of the country’s emerging food cities, thanks to its diverse population and young, risk-taking chefs. Farm-to-table is a popular concept in this liberal, politically conscious city, with local farmers providing all kinds of products, from goats to cheese to veggies.
Just how serious do Texans take their farm-to-table dining? In 2012, State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D), co-founded the country’s first Farm-to-Table Caucus, aimed at promoting and educating lawmakers on issues related to growing and consuming Texas foods. We wholeheartedly expect other states to follow suit.
Next week: Don’t miss our coverage of the best farm-to-table destinations in the Midwest.