If you asked a hundred chefs what was the most important factor in providing a good meal, I’m betting they’d all say you have to start with the right ingredients. And in the world of sustainable cooking, having the perfect ingredients no longer means importing from Italy or Asia - it means sourcing the very best from your local farmers.
While the concept of working with local farmers is hardly new, here are some ways to help keep it fresh, sustainable and interesting for your guests.
There are many who believe beef is the culprit for a wide range of health problems, but truth is, beef is a good source of iron, vitamin B, zinc and other minerals. Promote your use of sourced, local grass-grazing beef, which contains less fat, fewer calories and delivers higher levels of omega-3, along with B12, Iron and Vitamin C, than the factory-raised variety – and you’ll win the hearts and stomachs of health-minded customers.
And don’t forget to promote your meat choice as a way to market your eco-conscious actions. When guests realize that the average grain-fed cow needs to eat eight pounds of grain to produce each pound of meat – and the water to produce the grain to feed the is over 440 gallons of water for just one pound of meat – you’ll be their conservation hero!
But even if your guests care nothing about health benefits or even the green attributes of a free-range, grass-fed piece of meat – they will definitely notice the superior taste delivered to their plates. And in the end – that’s what it’s all about.
Locally grown produce is all the buzz now, and if you’re NOT doing this, you stand to lose out to those who are. And let’s not forget that all important issue of starting with the finest of ingredients. By working with your local farmers you’ll using the very best in fresh farm-to -plate ingredients. If your access to local farmers is not that easy, consider working with a distributor who can organize the local growers for food purchase.
Far from farmland? Think about starting your own rooftop garden. The benefits are multiple: lower food costs, quality control and menu variety. And let us not forget all the additional sustainable benefits; green roofs act as a great storm water management system and actually protect and insulate buildings; helping reduce energy costs for both heating and cooling. In addition, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the carbon spent in transporting food and help reduce urban pollution.
At the end of the day, you’ll be providing a great green point of differentiation as to why your guests should choose you over the competition, and establishing yourself as a sustainable food leader!
What are you doing in sustainable food choices?
Contributor: Wen-D Kersten is the editor and contributor to a number of green blogs and websites including GreenBuildTV, GreeningtheInn and theGreenLeafInn.
This article first appeared on GreeningtheInn.com.
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