People are beginning to thoughtfully consider what they choose to eat and restaurants and markets are transforming themselves in order to meet those demands from discerning customers.
Organic simply means that fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats are grown or raised without high amounts of artificial means, such as antibiotics, growth hormones or pesticides. Farm-to-table refers to the practice of the commitment by chefs and restaurateurs to locally source all of their ingredients directly from the growers. This ensures that their customers are receiving the best quality products throughout the year.
One part of the United States and Canada that has embraced this healthy movement is the Niagara Falls area. Straddling the border between the two countries, Niagara is a prime agricultural region for two countries. This part of both countries has become a hotspot for the local foodie movement. As you plan your Niagara Falls visit, consult your source for everything Niagara Falls, and learn more about the delightful and healthy food you can enjoy during your stay.
The farm to table movement has grown by leaps and bounds around the world, and the Niagara area is no exception. Sometimes referred to as the 100-Mile Diet, the farm-to-table concept allows chefs and other food service workers to source only those meats, fruits and vegetables grown in the area within the region of the restaurant and in season at the time of purchase and preparation. Many chefs will, however, make exceptions for the items produced in greenhouses that are within the restaurant's vicinity.
Famed Canadian chef Jamie Kennedy has brought his unique take on the movement to Niagara Falls. His restaurant, Windows, offers the best of the area, from food to service staff. Located at the Sheraton on the Falls hotel, Windows presents a sumptuous menu that is rustic and hearty, but that also speaks volumes about Chef Kennedy’s experience and mission.
The menu highlights locally sourced meats and offers sumptuous dishes such as pork shoulder, roast beef and braised short ribs. The restaurant delights its fish-eating guests with salmon and whitefish dishes as well as a mushroom and goat cheese risotto that has received rave reviews. Vegans are not forgotten, as Chef Kennedy prepares a roasted beet and cider soup and a salad featuring locally grown, organic lettuces, tomatoes and mushrooms.
The organic food movement is not just confined to the upscale restaurants. Many of the smaller places, such as sandwich shops and diners, have long given their patronage to local growers, and they continue to do so today. If a fancy dining establishment is not your thing, check one of the local, artisanal eateries for a similar taste experience without the hype.
The Niagara College Canadian Food and Wine Institute is grooming the next crop of great local chefs. The college instructs its students in the finer points of product sourcing and preparation, all within the farm to table concept. The college’s restaurant, Benchmark, allows the students to hone and showcase their skills under the tutelage of their chef instructors. The college also offers brew master and sommelier courses, so guests can learn more about local beers and wines, as well.
Organic Foods Markets
The ability to purchase organic and locally grown products isn’t limited to the chefs in the area. Residents and visitors alike have several options for their shopping needs. Farmer’s markets abound in the area, and everyone is invited to visit the market and sample the local wares.
The Niagara Falls Farmers’ Market on the Canadian side boasts fresh produce vendors and an on-site butcher who can cut local meats to order. The array of purveyors varies throughout the year, which means that farmers and growers only sell what they’ve recently grown and harvested.
Visitors can simply take a drive outside of town and meet the agricultural community face to face. Many of the local farms offer tours and opportunities for guests to pick their own fruits and vegetables. Consequently, many farmers and other growers set up shop on the roadsides and visitors can simply pull over and purchase as much of the produce as they’d like.
While you may not go to Niagara Falls simply for the food, it can be one of the things you rave about after you leave. This unique, fertile and vibrant part of the United States and Canada is uniquely located to make the most of the farm to table movement, and it’s obvious that they’ve wasted no time in doing so.
Niagara Falls image by moarplease on Flickr’s Creative Commons.
Farmer’s Market image by Marc_Smith on Flickr’s Creative Commons.