People worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of buying and eating local produce and restaurant businesses in Northampton and Northamptonshire are no exception. It is a trend that is becoming more and more fashionable and Northampton restaurants are proudly displaying the origin of their produce to potential customers as a unique selling point to either draw in more customers or satisfy their existing customer base that have already stepped into the restaurant.
Local produce should be more than just a fashion or a fad that restaurants and other eateries enter and should be the mantle by which all restaurants trade. Supporting the local farmer or local fruit and vegetable supplier is important for Northamptonshire and the UK economy as a whole; Green house gasses and ensures the freshest and best seasonal produce on offer. If all Northampton restaurants used exclusively local produce the local Northamptonshire economy would benefit immensely as the money generated and profits therein are kept within the region instead of being fed to either corporations overseas or suppliers abroad and this point is most prevalent at this stage in the UK economy.
Green house gases would also be reduced too. If a restaurant sources their produce from the farmer 5 miles away of course travel times in big heavy and refrigerated lorries is drastically reduced and a perfect example of this is Cameron’s Restaurant in Cosgrove who walk across the road to source a lot of their steaks and beef cuts, and this is well received by their diners.
Using exclusively local produce would also guarantee fresh produce due to the amount of time it takes the produce to arrive at the restaurant and also ensure that seasonal vegetables and such like are used such as root vegetables and salads.
So why don’t all restaurants use exclusively local produce if the win list is so long? The simple answer is that it is not that easy!
The cost of using local produce in restaurants is usually more expensive than sourcing from the wholesaler and in some cases by up to 50%. The simple reason for this is abroad farming can be on epic scales using employment on reduced wages, in an environment that doesn’t have our strict health and safety red tape therefore reducing costs even further. Despite increased transportation costs these are more than offset by the reduced price of the raw ingredients themselves.
Not all produce can be sourced through the year unfortunately and although there are many parts of the country that are using polythene green houses including in Kent not all produce can be sourced all year round.
Diners are also becoming more aware of differing cultures and ever expanding food tastes. This of course means that some countries have the environments to grow certain produce such as chillies in your noodle dishes, and to a certain extent the wine you see on the wine lists, (although there are some suppliers of fine wines in the UK that would disagree).
So what is the answer to get Northampton restaurants interested in serving as much local produce as they possibly can? Well it is difficult and filters through a wide area of politics and economics that can be solved over night. Perhaps governments should look at reducing taxes on “green produce sourcing”, increasing import taxes on produce that can be grown in the UK and using local public organisations to promote restaurants that use local produce. Ultimately it is down to the consumer. If a diner is happy walking into a restaurant and happy to eat chicken or lamb from across the globe then restaurants will continue to serve it. However, if demand was such that diners preferred to pay a little extra for local produce then this would sure change every restaurants mind set; and the simple fact of the matter is that the public are not going out enough to eat as it is let alone willing to pay more for restaurant meals.
So here it is, our contribution to the use of local produce restaurants in Northampton! The county boasts a wealth of award winning, tasty, local delights and wherever you see the tractor symbol you can be safe in the knowledge that this dining establishment supports local producers.