We all know that gettin’ a good sweat sesh in is one of the ways we can lead the healthiest + happiest life possible — BUT, there’s another piece of the puzzle that determines an even larger chunk of the quality of our life: #eeeeeeats.
You may be thinking, “Well yeah, I already know this! I eat plenty of fruits, veggies + avocado [or guac…] — I’m all set.” You may even feel like you make great decisions when eating out the majority of the time, whether it be a salad, chicken tacos or just skipping out on dessert. While this may be the healthier way to go while dining out, you may be overlooking one very simple + important question to ask: Where did this food come from?
The source of my food at a restaurant wasn’t something I ever really considered until this year, when I started working at my current job + learned more about one of our clients, a restaurant group with emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine. As I learned more, the importance of eating food made with locally sourced, organic ingredients became infinitely more important to me. Choosing local, farm-to-table restaurants over chains is one of the healthiest things we can do for so many reasons!
MEALS ARE MADE WITH INGREDIENTS THAT ARE SAFER TO EAT
Because farm-to-table restaurants receive their ingredients from local growers with smaller farms [unlike corporate farms, like Tyson or Bolthouse], chemicals + non-organic pesticides that make food more unsafe to eat aren’t used to preserve produce + meats. Travel time is shortened [deliveries are made weekly + sometimes even daily], so you can guarantee your dish will be made with fresh + high quality ingredients.
MORE NUTRIENTS ARE RETAINED IN THE INGREIDENTS
When fruits, veggies + meats have to travel across the country to get from a farm to a restaurant or grocery store, it usually entails having to freeze these items + package them up in plastic wrapping. With all of the effort just to keep produce + meats preserved, much of the nutritional value becomes depleted. If you order a salad filled with fruits + veggies, your body may only be receiving a fraction of the nutritional value that it should, as well as absorbing chemicals + preservatives instead! Ingredients delivered to farm-to-table restaurants retain their nutritional value + are more beneficial to our bodies when consumed.
FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANTS ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT + LOCAL ECONOMY
Farm-to-table restaurants positively impact our local economies + the environment in several ways. Because ingredients come from farms located usually no more than an hour away, less gas//carbon dioxide is emitted into the air during travel time. Farm-to-table restaurants are generally more environmentally conscious as a whole, as well: smaller [+ proper!] portion sizes eliminating food waste, composting + recycling, + even growing some of their own produce are common practices for these types of restaurants. Also, purchasing their ingredients from local farmers supports local business + fuels the local economy, which is an investment in where you live, essentially putting dollars back into your wallet. You can help by supporting these farm-to-table restaurants + also shopping at your local farmers market!
THE FOOD TASTES WAY BETTER!
Now this is a no-brainer! Food made with fresh, seasonal ingredients that were just hand-picked by your amazing local farmers beats any meal ordered at a chain restaurant. You can easily taste the difference! Another added bonus: farm-to-table restaurants change their menu weekly or even daily. That means there’s always something new to experience every time you dine + the specials are always delicious. ; )
Now that we’ve dished out why we love farm-to-table dining + the benefits of supporting these restaurants, of course we had to do some research + find our fav farm-to-table restaurants in a city near you! Whether a restaurant is near your hometown or your college town, these places are a must!
BATON ROUGE, LA
Table Kitchen and Wine Bar: Southern cuisine done locally.
Post 390: Lots of yummy, freshly caught seafood.
Gather: Their brunch menu includes jelly donuts.
COLLEGE PARK, MD
Fishnet Restaurant: Customers swear they serve the best fish sammie ever.
Till Dynamic Fare: Featuring an Ohio Lamb burger topped with local goat cheese.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI
Grove: An ever-changing menu with special monthly cocktails.
Terra Cafe: Open for breakfast + lunch with tons of desserts baked fresh daily.
Barn Brasserie: All their drool-worthy food photog on their Facebook makes it nearly impossible to decide what to order.
STATE COLLEGE, PA
Gigi’s Restaurant and Wine Lounge: With a special menu for graduation weekend, make sure to stop there after graduating from Penn! ; )
Union Market: You can take a Barre class + then enjoy any of the local #CHAARGeats available at the market!
Next time you eat out or plan a #CHAARGmeetup, do some research + pick a local, farm-to-table restaurant to try out rather than your typical pick. Support your community + enjoy some amazing eats! Have you ever experienced farm-to-table cuisine? Share with us your fav restaurant + a pic of your meal on insta! Make sure to tag @CHAARG + #CHAARGEats ; ) Always remember: #EATLOCAL.
+xo Natalie [@natalie_inchaarg], VirtCHAARG girl from Grand Rapids