Real Farm-Local Restaurant Network
It would be nice if we all had the time, ability and desire to cook every meal at home, but the reality is, we don't. 'Real farming', must not only be thought of in the past, because it is critical for the future. 'Real agriculture' takes the best from our past, and in conjunction with appropriate technologies, can create a more hopeful, healthy and sustainable future - conveniently!
We prefer food from local farmers! But...
-it's not consistent (out of season)
-it's not enough (one farm can't provide for one restaurant)
-we can't find them (no online presence or marketing)
We might sell to local restaurants but..
-they're inconsistent buyers
-they buy at lower prices
-it takes too much time to transport every week
Restaurants are in the business of selling delicious food, and every chef knows that food that is sourced locally has a dramatically better flavor profile, stores longer, and will ultimately lead to a better dining experience. Restaurant owners want to support their local community and are starting to realize how powerfully people want to support local farmer in the farm-to-table movement. But they can't waste time searching for farmers that may only be able to provide 1% of their food needs, and can't negotiate weekly with every farmer that walks through the door. HOWEVER, a group of real farmers able to supply one local restaurant can meet the needs of a portion of the restaurant food requirements.
A large portion of real farmers' produce that isn't picture-perfect (has cracks, bruising, deformations, etc..) isn't fit to sell at farmer's markets or in CSA's, even though it is still nutrient dense and delicious. HOWEVER restaurants chop, slice and puree our food for us to serve us meals, so instead of composting the cracked tomatoes for $0, a real farmer can sell them to a restaurant to increase his/her overall sales.
A continued series of unexpected events at the weekly farmer's market (think inclement weather, heat waves, Covid, etc...) can severely cut into a farmer's monthly income. By allowing each farmer to decide what potion of produce he/she can plan on selling to restaurants, the farmer is able to better diversify his/her revenue streams and be able to plan on at least a chuck of consistent weekly income from restaurant sales.
Real American Roots is finding real farmers within local regions that agree to sell a portion of their crop projections for the upcoming year to one local restaurant. Collectively, those famers are able to sell a more significant portion of produce to restaurants which restaurants at prices agreed upon by all parties, which allow restaurants to fit local, real produce into their food budget.
In regards to transporting the selected weekly produce to the restaurant, let us use an example of ten real farmers. The first week, farmer 1 collects the produce from the nine other local farms and brings it to the restaurant. The second week, farmer 2 does the same task. This would require that out of ten weeks (or 70 days), each farmer would only have to spend a few hours collecting and transporting that produce to the restaurant. Additionally, the volume each farmer would need be selling to the restaurant is already known, eliminating extra work or futile sales trips.
Restaurants now will not only have better tasting meals, but also be able to draw in more diverse customer base. We envision one day being able to provide tax breaks to restaurants that participate in this program (possibly by redirecting a bit of that subsidy money Big Ag is thriving on...).