The Skinny on Fresh Produce for Garden Month

April is Garden Month, and while most kitchens aren’t going to be able to keep up with their supply through a local garden, there are several ways that you can improve the quality of the fruits and veggies that you are serving in your St. Louis restaurant. Of course, our blog wouldn’t be complete without also sharing how to keep them fresher longer by having well-maintained equipment, so stay tuned for some great info!

Choosing Fresh Produce For Your Restaurant

There are SO many labels on food now, organic, locally sourced, farm to table, and the list goes on. It can be easy to get wrapped up in all of the labels and end up just saying “forget it,” but with a little bit of research, as well as knowing what is important to you, you can choose high-quality ingredients that match your needs and your budget.

One of the first things that you may want to consider is what will be important to your customers. Certain areas (specifically college towns and bigger cities) may put a lot of importance on having organic options, or purchasing for local farmers. While other areas may not care where the ingredients come from as long as they are fresh and delicious. Take a quick inventory of your customer base to find out what they want the most.

Why Fresh Vs. Processed

Many consumers are choosing fresh ingredients over processed. This is due to consumer education, learning the difference that their choices make when grocery shopping and they are also taking those same preferences to their restaurants as well. While we will note that processed doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy, there are many processed products that are filled with useless ingredients and fillers.

The biggest difference is that fresh just tastes better. With the culture of craft hitting hard, as well as consumers sharing what fresh food are doing for them, it was only a matter of time before these fresh ingredients were going to make a comeback.

Of course, you can’t argue about the health benefits. Fresh foods are just so incredibly good for you. A huge number of restaurants are starting to make this switch, and we believe that even more will be on board as more and more consumers request freshness of their food.

Locally Sourced Vs. Farm to Table

While the phrase “locally sourced” is used quite loosely and freely lately, this term specifically indicates food that is grown, produced, and/or processed locally, and then sold within the same specific geographical area. The challenge with locally sourced is that some food manufacturers may call their products “locally sourced” just if they are sold in the same state where they were produced. The broadness of the term can make things challenging, so you’ll just have to ask plenty of questions and do your research.

Farm to Table means that the food comes from a farm and goes directly to your table or kitchen - no middleman. This means that you work directly with a local farmer to buy the produce that they have available. As a restaurant owner, you can choose specific farms that you would like to work with, which allows you to control the quality of food a bit more.

Buying, Storing, & Prepping

There really isn’t much to buying fresh produce. You want to make sure that it isn’t bruised or damaged. You will also want to bag your fruits and veggies separately from meat, poultry, and seafood.

When storing perishable fresh fruits and vegetables, you need to keep them in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40ºF or below. If you have items that are pre-cut or peeled, you’ll want to always refrigerate those.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure the thermostat on our refrigerators and freezers is accurate. Next, you'll want to make sure that the gaskets are still working properly. The key to fresh produce is to make sure that it’s kept the right temperature up until you want to use it.

Fast Fix Can Help!

We don’t sell fresh produce, but we do sell you the tools to keep it fresh. Fast Fix LLC has been providing the best commercial kitchen maintenance service in Missouri for years, and we look forward to adding you to the Fast Fix Family. Whether you need us to run out for an emergency repair, or you would like to be added to our maintenance schedule, one call does it all! Visit our website to learn more about our services, and the equipment we work on and sell. Happy Gardening Month! Even if you aren't growing your own food, we hope that you find many fresh ingredients to spruce up those delicious recipes.

Fast Fix LLC. Restaurant Equipment Service & Repair - 

One Call Does It All! 

Fast Fix LLC. Restaurant Services
3362 State Road JJ
Kingdom City, MO 65262

Columbia: 573-544-0456
St. Louis: 636-327-8349


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