In the early 20th century, everything was farm to table. Local restaurants bought from local farmers. People got their groceries from the local farm stand. Buying local even got support from the U.S. Post Office, which offered a program for shipping fresh food purchased from farmers.
Fast forward to the 1930s, when improvements in technologies and shipping saw the dawn of processed foods and their time saving attributes. It was all the rage. Even restaurants were proud to share that they had sourced their food from miles away.
Enter the 60s. Hippies concerned about making an impact on the world were at the forefront of a huge shift that saw the rebirth The Farm to Table movement. Buying local got a fresh start as people began to advocate for food that was acquired directly from local producers. This trend continued and gained even stronger momentum in the early 2000s when advocates wanted to develop a stronger connection between restaurants and local farmers, making it easier for restaurant owners to source organic and fresh produce.
In 2018, Farm to Table continues to be on a steady trajectory to change the entire restaurant industry and the food industry in general. According to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, local foods will climb from $11.7 billion in sales in 2014 to $20.2 billion by 2019.
Farm fresh foods ensure greater health benefits, richer flavors and an overall improved dining experience for consumers.
Working in the restaurant industry for over 20 years, Salt Craft owner and executive chef, Matt Greco shares his thoughts on the Farm to Table movement. “I had heard about the farm to table movement and how restaurants were buying vegetables at the farmer’s market or acquiring grass-fed meat from humane producers. Naturally, I was drawn to this idea, as farm fresh food was in my DNA -- I always had a passion for it.” Born in Texas, Greco was first introduced to the concept as he worked alongside his father on the farm and that included creating homemade dishes from homegrown ingredients. This initial experience helped shape his career as he went on to first work as a chef and then an executive chef in Brooklyn, NY. “In my first kitchen, I made everything with fresh quality produce,” Greco adds.
Soon he moved from the Big Apple to Pleasanton, California, where he began serving as executive chef at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards and did so for four years -- but always with the goal of bringing Farm to Table to his own digs.
A short while later, Matt saw the realization of his goal with the help of Restaurant Design Concepts in creating Salt Craft in Pleasanton, California, which incorporates farm to table dining.
Everyone he talked to seemed to have a hard time grasping his vision for a kitchen, a massive bread oven, the prep areas, an order counter, a coffee bar and restrooms, but no indoor seating. His goal of bringing true Farm to Table dining in an Alfresco environment to his patrons was a hard concept for many to buy. But they did and continue to buy into it as many new and repeat customers enjoy a small part of the Farm-to-Table movement when they dine at Salt Craft.
“Restaurant Design Concepts understood our concept for building our restaurant around the Farm-to-Table concept that we were passionate about bringing to our patrons. RDC also helped us create the perfect kitchen that made the best use of our space and enabled an efficient work environment.” Soon, Salt Craft was completed, offering outside dining reminiscent of sitting at a Piazza in Rome or at a Taverna in Santorini, and the kitchen built inside.
“Bringing Farm to Table dining to a community where quality and freshness are valued certainly helps draw in new and recurring patrons. But I think what keeps us all coming to work every day is the joy we feel in bringing the freshest, locally sourced food to our customers and that’s something they can see, taste and feel in the food, the space and the experience.