Tuesday, January 24, 2017

'Speed dating' event lets farmers pitch products to restaurants

"Speed dating" event for farmers and chefs.
(NPR photo by Dan Charles)
Farmers last week descended on Washington, not for the presidential inauguration, but for a "speed dating" event where they can pitch products to chefs to get local foods on restaurant tables, Dan Charles reports for NPR

Pamela Hess, founder of the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, has put on the event the past five years, Charles writes. Hess, who said she "makes sure that each farmer or chef who shows up gets a card with a list of potential matches," told Charles, "We connected folks based on where they're located, what they grow, what they want to buy."

Charles writes, "Plenty of farmers and chefs are looking for these relationships, she says, but they don't happen naturally. Farmers and chefs generally live in different places. They work on different schedules. And according to the executive chef at Blue Jacket, Marcelle Afram, they're often very different people." Afram told Charles, "We have these stereotypes in the industry, the farmer is shy and the chef is ferocious. So some mitigation with a couple of beers might help."

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