Farm-to-table or farm-to-fork is a movement which uses locally grown food and brings it right to the customer. Establishments who are considered farm-to-table buy their food from local farms or they themselves have a farm which their ingredients come from. It focuses on the stages of food production like harvesting, storage, processing, packaging, sales, and consumption. The goal is to reduce the amount of time the food stays in storage and to eliminate any genetically modified organisms which are often added in the processing stage in order to provide the most nutritious and best tasting food.
Farm-to-table restaurants are associated with organic farming, sustainable agriculture, and community based agriculture. The shift towards eating local produce can be attributed to the low nutritional integrity of processed foods, the poor flavor quality of foods shipped from afar, and the dangers of eating foods which contain genetically modified organisms(GMO).
My personal experience has led me to believe this movement is not just a gimmick or a marketing strategy trying to capitalize on consumer attitudes. Growing up in Poland my family and I would visit the local market several times a week to buy our groceries. Fresh produce, newly butchered meat, and ripe fruit were abundant and cheap, eliminating the need for us to buy packaged food or eat at restaurants. Once I arrived in the United States, one of the biggest adjustments I had to make was to acclimate myself to the food culture. There was a significant difference in the taste and freshness of the food I was used to and to what I had to start eating. Cereal, McDonalds, and any microwavable food was all new to me. Although my taste buds adjusted, I still miss and crave the food I grew up eating!
I encourage you to buy food from your local central market (Lancaster Central Market), or if you want to have a farm-to-table experience you can enjoy a meal at one of the following establishments:
1. John J.Jeffries
John J.Jeffries is committed to the local economy and healthful foods. They are a leading consumer of meats and vegetables in Central, PA.
-You can check out their menu here.
300 Harrisburg Ave,
Lancaster, PA 17603
2. Carr's Restaurant
The menu at Carr's is "simple, direct, yet fine-edged, with respect for local suppliers of fresh meats, vegetables, and fowl." Carr describes his dishes as "an eclectic combination of flavors, with regional tastes still dictating slight variations."
-The full menu can be found here.
50 West Grant Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
3. Lotus Farm to Table
With a relaxed, Asian inspired atmosphere, Lotus offers a dining experience which will indulge your senses. Healthy food fills the menu, and several varieties of tea compliment the dishes. Located on lively State Street in Media, PA, it is well worth a visit.
-Here is the link to their full menu.
112 West State Street
Media, PA 19063
4. Horn O Plenty
Horn O Plenty uses locally sourced meat and organically grown produce. The menu has a seasonal theme, relying on the current harvest of crops. They believe in "sustainability, environmental stewardship, and fresh, healthy, and delicious food.
-Visit their web site to see the complete menu.
220 Wolfsburg Road
Bedford, PA 15522
Named one of the top 105 hottest new restaurants internationally by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, Bolete has a handcrafted menu which changes daily. Their philosophy is to get back to basics, take no shortcuts, and reconnect with the local farming community.
-Visit their website for a complete menu.
1740 Seidersville Road
Bethlehem, PA 18015
6. Woodberry Kitchen
This restaurant utilizes their relationship with the growers of the Chesapeake to provide the freshest ingredients to your table. Woodberry Kitchen supports local agriculture in order to ensure its future.
-You can see the menu here.
2010 Clipper Park Road, No.126
Baltimore, MD 21211
7. Jules Thin Crust
If you prefer a more casual dining experience but still want to experience the farm to table taste, I suggest visiting Jules Think Crust pizza. All their ingredients are locally sourced from various farms. The crust comes in three organic choices(including a special gluten free crust) and is made daily along with the sauce.
-To read their complete story and see their menu click here.
5 locations in PA including Ardmore, Doylestown, Jenkintown, Newtown, and Wayne as well as two location locations in CA(Oakland and Danville).
These are not the only farm-to-table restaurants, but they are some of the best. If you have eaten at any of these establishments, please leave a comment and share your experience. Better yet, leave a comment if you have dined at a farm-to-table restaurant not mentioned above. Your input is greatly appreciated!