From the Farm to the Fork

From the Farm to the Fork, Locally Grown Food

 

According to research performed by the American Automobile Association, last year Americans traveled an average of 626 miles for their vacations. Want an interesting comparison? The food you had for dinner last night most likely traveled more than 1,000 miles before making it to your home. In a study of common food shipping practices from the farm to your fork, the United States Department of Agriculture found that food travels an average of 1,404 miles from the time it’s harvested to the time it’s eaten. One of the most egregious offenders? Lettuce! Yep, salad’s staple ingredient travels more than 2,000 miles before being dressed on your countertop.

If you are the type hoping to eat fresh foods, most grocery-store varieties will hardly meet your criteria. Raw foods are harvested weeks before they finish the processing, packaging, and shipping process. If you want fresh foods, be prepared to eat foods that are in-season and grown locally. If food only has to travel a few miles, the from farm-to-fork process is only a few days.

Here’s an example of how Heirloom Catering utilizes locally grown and processed food in order to serve the highest-quality bread:

Harvesting

Wheat is harvested from a farm in Spanish Fork where it is grown organically. Wheat grown in Utah keeps its nutrient density better than wheat grown in the Midwest and otherwise because of the time it spends being shipped.

Storage

After harvest, wheat is stored in on-site silos before being shipped to a mill. Storage is a time where wheat can lose a lot of its nutrient density if stored for a long time. Wheat from local farms spends far less time in storage than in large, commercial farms because the smaller harvest size is easier for mills to process in a timely manner and the grain doesn’t have to be released out of season either.

Processing

The wheat is sent from farm storage to a mill in Lehi where it is converted into high-quality, whole wheat flour. Large, commercial mills throughout the country can be hundreds of miles away from the farms they serve. However, by using local mills, Heirloom keep the time between harvest and milling to a minimum.

Packaging

The next step in the process is packaging, which happens on-site in the Lehi mill. Cost is reduced by not having to outsource packaging as well as travel time eliminated by packaging the flour on-site. Believe it or not, some large, commercial mills put flour into boxcars and ship it to another facility just to be packaged for distribution and sale.

Sales

The packaged flour is purchased directly from the mill to bring it to the Catering Company in as little time as possible. Other companies will purchase flour from large distributors. When this is the case, the flour is shipped from the packaging plant to a warehouse before being shipped to a distributor. The travel time makes the flour old and less robust, losing taste and nutritional value.

Consumption

Whether you like to wait weeks to eat your food or hours, the difference can be tasted when you eat at Heirloom Restaurant Group.