How to Start Sourcing Local Ingredients


Restaurant operators who want to dip their toes into locally sourcing ingredients don’t have to do it whole hog, a foraging authority advised.

Valerie Broussard, forager for the W Austin hotel’s Trace restaurant, told attendees at the recent Southwest Foodservice Expo that operators can start small.

“The great thing about local sourcing is that it’s not all or nothing,” Broussard said. “You can gradually add. You can start with the menu you have now and then familiarize yourself with what’s in season. You can gradually swap out one ingredient. You can maybe start with one farmer who delivers during the week. … Don’t be intimidated by it.”

Local sourcing of ingredients hovers as a big goal for many in the restaurant industry. The National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2012” survey of about 1,800 American Culinary Federation chefs found that local sourcing dominated the Top 10 trends for this year.

The “What’s Hot” survey put locally sourced meats and seafood as the No. 1 trend and locally grown produce at No. 2. Also in the Top 10 trends were sustainability in general and sustainable seafood in particular, as well as a high interest in locally produced wine and beer and “hyper-local items.”

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