FARM TO TABLE - THE NEW PHILLY FOOD CRAZE
By Stu Leventhal (Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant)
CULINARY DEFINITION OF THE DAY:
Locavore – A Locavore is a diner or restaurant customer who eats out or purchases takeout food but prefers dishes made from locally grown and raised ingredients. Thus Philadelphia Locavores desire eating at Philly restaurants that purchase from Philadelphia area farms and nearby suppliers. Philly Locavores consider themselves doing their civic duty to support their local neighborhood economies which is something Philly government officials have been pushing for years.
Besides the obvious benefit eating locally grown and harvested food has for our local Philadelphia economy, farms and food companies in Philly’s immediate suburbs there are other simple pluses such as how much more delicious and healthy food is that doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles frozen, air packed and loaded with preservatives to keep it fresh before it finally hits our plates. The ecology of our planet is also spared the waste of fuel and energy sources plus the pollutants caused while transporting the food all those extra thousands of miles.
The Locavore craze has been around for a while but is suddenly gaining quickly in popularity both nationally and here on the Philadelphia dining scene as our nations younger more health conscious generation begins to earn more money and dominate the market place. As the Baby Boomer generation retires they have naturally started to look for more value in their meals they eat outside of their homes. Retires have to budget their spending and that obviously means getting a little frugal and price selective when it comes to the restaurants they choose to frequent when they do go out. But the Boomer’s kids are now moving up the ladder in the work place to take over their parent’s role dominating the Philadelphia nightlife and restaurant arena.
The difference is the Boomer’s children, now adults with kids of their own are much more nutritious minded, health aware and civic minded. The kids of the Baby Boomer generation and their families recycle, drive electric and low emission cars, workout, eat smaller, healthy portions and are ecologically in the know. This generation of diners cares about their community and the world they are going to leave their children. This generation lived through the cold war, is aware of the melting ice caps and the depleting ozone layer and they are trying to take responsible measures.
The Locavore movement is growing and everything indicates it will continue to grow. This means, more, fancy, pricy Philadelphia restaurants will have to start thinking about catering to Philly’s responsible generation that is moving into the expensive dining out arena. If Philadelphia restaurants wish to stay in business over the coming few decades they will have to start adjusting their menus to accommodate the vegans, health conscious and yes Philly’s Locavores!
*True Locavores strive to eat only foods grown and produced within 100 mile radius of their homes
*I bet you didn’t realize that most locally grown or raised food even though it may be produced here in Philadelphia can and often travels over a thousand miles because it must go to a distribution plant to get further processed and repackaged. Then it travels all the way back here before we see it on our Philly grocery shelves or in our Philadelphia restaurants. That is a lot of wasted traveling which only benefits the big food supply corporations while hurting our environment and spoiling the nutritious value and taste of our food.
Here is a list of some of my favorite Philadelphia restaurants who make a habit of supporting the local farmers in and surrounding Philly.
110 s. 16th street,
2201 Spruce St.
1713 South Street
210 W. Washington Square
White Dog Cafe
3420 Sansom St.
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