Now that the industrial chemical scare has been detected in pork and other human edibles many people are beginning to wonder if more food items than are being publicized have lethal tendencies. If we only knew.
As we are in the midst of spring, it may be the perfect time to begin thinking of freshening up your menu with product produced locally. Here are ten tips to consider when thinking about using fresher produce and tweaking your summer menu.
1). Plant an herb garden outside your restaurant. No space- use a few pots of basil or rosemary- both grow like weeds- to spruce up the appearance of your building and your plates.
2). Space for an herb garden, but no time to tend it. A legitimate problem. Get the garden club– every town and city has one- to tend the garden for you. Buy them lunch whenever they come over to weed and cultivate. Call it the Weed and feed program and publicize it on table tents.
3). Find a local gardener to partner with. Many gardeners plant just to plant for the pure enjoyment of the activity. They then give the tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and other vegetables away to neighbors. Make it worth the gardener’s while and offer to pay for the produce if they supply your restaurant.
4). Better yet, find a local farmer. In many areas farmers are looking for customers to sell their product. Wheat, soy and corn farmers all have smaller garden plots where they could easily produce product you need. Next time you’re driving through the countryside make a friend, stop and ask a farmer to help you with your produce supply.
5). So you live in the city…Community gardens are everywhere in many urban settings. In many cases the gardeners could use the income. Stop and see if anyone wants to sell what they are cultivating.
6). Farmers markets are everywhere. And, in many cases the produce they offer is a bit higher and a lot better than your produce vendor is supplying. Talk to the market vendors. Many deliver to restaurants and offer wholesale prices.
7). Add more salads to your menu. With an expanded salad section customers know that your food is fresh and in many cases the profit on a salad is much higher than on other entrée items.
8). Fruit for dessert. The cheesecakes, carrot cakes and mud pies are very enticing. However, fresh fruit, baked or served as shortcake makes a wonderful dessert for the summer months.
9). Fish specials sell quickly in the summer.
10). Chilled vegetables- string beans, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, and even cauliflower are the perfect items to serve with a chilled champagne poached salmon fillet.