Eat Local – Buy Local – Grow Local – Sell Local

Advice for Culinary Buyers

Advantages of Buying Local Food

Keep up with the local food trend. More and more, consumers are searching out local food. Your business will have a market advantage by purchasing and serving food from local farms. Be sure to promote your use of local food (e.g. farm names on the menu).

Opportunity for fresher ingredients. When you purchase local ingredients, they were likely harvested within the past day or two and are therefore fresher, more nutritious and flavourful. Local food also contains fewer additives because it does not need to withstand long travel times. It will make a difference in the food you serve!

Environmental and social responsibility. Supporting a local food system enhances the sustainability of your culinary business. Both you and your customers will feel good about that!

Food with a story. Purchasing local food for your business will connect you with local farmers and give a story behind the food you serve, providing a more meaningful dining experience for your customers.

Tips of the Trade

Commitment. Buy consistently from a core group of farmers so that they know what to expect, or communicate with your producer that you may be making purchases once in a while.

Delivery. Establish a delivery schedule with your local farmer.

Buying. Expect to pay a fair price and consider that a local farmer’s cost may be more than the commercial shipped-in product. Don’t expect the farmer to be selling at a discount. Establish a predictable routine with your farmer for phone calls, orders and questions. Communicate what works for you.

Education. Continue to learn about the items your farmer grows. Inspire your co-workers and employees to do the same. Items coming directly from a farm may look different from commercial items that your employees are used to seeing, and they need to know how best to take advantage of that difference.

Talk to your farmer. Talk to them about what you plan to do with their product and what it will be paired with. Ask your farmer how they use it. If you are unhappy with something, let them know and why. It is in their interest to make you happy. Talk to your farmer about trends and request varieties you are interested in.

Cultivate trust. There is always a degree of uncertainty regarding crop size and quality. Remain flexible and patient with your farmer.

Be flexible. Use what is fresh and in season. Generalize your menus and produce departments. If certain products are fresh that day, they can be incorporated into a dish without changing the menu. Take advantage of daily specials.