Posted on 18.11.2015 / by courtadmin
What makes a fine dining experience “fine”? Is it the charm and comfort of the setting? The quality of the service? A particularly phenomenal wine? It’s all of these things, but more than anything, it’s the food. And great food begins at the source—which is why some Ottawa restaurants have taken to sourcing their food locally. There are plentiful benefits for restaurateurs, local farmers, and yes, even you, when the produce, eggs, dairy, and meats are local. Here’s why you should seek out local sourcing for your next fine dining experience.
It may sound like a pitch, but when you look at the facts, it just makes sense that local produce will be fresher and more flavourful. Produce that is grown in one place, and then shipped long distances, isn’t selected for its flavour—it’s selected for its high yield and shelf life. It’s also picked before being ripe and shipped a long way before it reaches a restaurant in Ottawa. Local produce is picked at its peak, and you’ll eat it within a few days; if you’re very lucky, the produce on your plate may have been picked in the last 24 hours, and you can taste the difference.
When you buy food, the further it travelled to you, the more of your money will go towards the costs of shipping: labour, gas, managing a fleet of trucks, and more. Not only is this more money for you—or for your chef, which essentially translates into an inflated cost for you—but also, very little is going towards the farmers that grow it. When your restaurant sources food locally, the local farmers without whom the food would not exist benefit, and are able to cycle it back into the local economy.
Remember all that food shipping we mentioned a moment ago? Well, that accounts for a significant proportion of road freight, air freight, and gas emissions. As much as a strawberry in January is a delicious treat (though not as delicious as a fresh-picked local one), it’s really not a sustainable commodity when you think about the ecological footprint that brought it to your supermarket. And speaking of eating seasonally…
This is a two-fold benefit. First off, a chef who devises an evolving menu based on seasonal growth is taking advantage of what is freshest at which point in the year, meaning your food is always fresh, and no two fine dining experiences will be identical. Also, because crops aren’t just based on high-yield produce with a long shelf life, there will be more variety in what farmers are producing, and therefore on the menu.
A fine dining restaurant in Ottawa that sources its food locally isn’t just the ethical and sustainable choice—it’s the delicious one.