DC Adopts Farm-to-Table Trend
In recent years, “farm to table” has become an unavoidable buzz word in the Washington, D.C. food scene. Emphasizing their fresh ingredients, farm-to-table restaurants aim to give diners a feeling of community and connection to the ingredients’ origins. While the high quality of fresh ingredients means that some of these restaurants are on the pricier end, the tastes of locally sourced vegetables, dairy and meats cannot be found in any other types of eateries.
Since 1999, Restaurant Nora, a New American restaurant, became known by many as the founder of the farm-to-table trend in D.C. Located on Florida Avenue, Restaurant Nora was the first organic certified restaurant in the United States. Sourcing ingredients throughout neighboring states, such as Virginia and Maryland, chef Nora Poullion has been awarded many times for her dedication and success in serving up wholesome and sustainable meals.
Since then, many restaurants in D.C. have followed Restaurant Nora’s farm-to-table model. A favorite among Georgetown students, Founding Farmers has demonstrated its dedication to the fresh produce movement, putting the American farmer at the heart of its restaurant. The restaurant, which is jointly owned by over 400,000 family farmers of the North Dakota Farmer’s Union, serves food made with pure ingredients that honors the farmers and customers alike. A noticeable element of farm-to-table restaurants like Founding Farmers is the positive effect that eating locally sourced foods has on the local economy. As Founding Farmers’ motto explains, connecting with your food sources makes the meal so much more satisfying.
Even the ever-growing fast-casual scene in D.C. has been affected by this movement. Many chains, such as Sweetgreen, pride themselves on providing high-quality ingredients both economically and efficiently. These chains also promote nutrition as the key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. Every location of Sweetgreen, which was founded by graduates Nicolas Jammet (MSB ’07), Jonathan Neman (MSB ’07) and Nathaniel Ru (MSB ’07), boasts a giant sign identifying where each of the ingredients is sourced. At the core of the chain’s values is a mission to source local and organic ingredients in an effort to support the community for future generations to come. Sweetgreen has redefined fast food by offering an appealing and healthy option that accommodates the busy life of the urban American. Recently, Business Insider even referred to the chain as the single leader in the growing farm-to-table fast-food movement.
Undoubtedly, one of the most appealing aspects of the farm-to-table trend is its health benefits. Little Beet, the city’s newest farm-fresh fast-casual restaurant, aims to serve wholesome, nutritious foods. Franklin Becker, the restaurant’s head chef, conceived the idea for Little Beet after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He decided to transform his cooking style to be healthier. The menu rotates seasonally based on what ingredients are the most fresh. As is so aptly mentioned in the restaurant’s mission statement, “What grows together, goes together.”
While the farm-to-table movement may have originated as a trendy marketing ploy to attract health-conscious customers, it has grown enormously popular througout the past decades in D.C. With almost every restaurant boasting about its high-quality ingredients, diners are almost guaranteed to find a nutritious meal just about anywhere.