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Feed dating brings local farmers, restaurants together


AMHERST – Feed Dating creates intimate relationships between local restaurants and farmers. 

“An event like this helps restaurants know where there food comes from, how it was grown, how it was raised, and how it was treated,” said Matthew Harrison, who produces maple syrup products in Lynn Mountain. “Buying local is good for everybody.”

Harrison was one of 10 local food producers who participated in the Feed Dating event recently held at the Anglican Christ Church Hall in Amherst.

David Beattie, owner operator of the BlackRock Bistro in Parrsboro, read off a list of more than 10 local suppliers he does business with. He then talked about the importance of using local products in his restaurant and some of the challenges he faces.

“From our perspective it’s serving our customers with the freshest, best ingredients we can, and to enhance the experience of eating here in Nova Scotia,” said Beattie. “A lot of our customers are tourists and they really enjoy the fact we’re able to feature local products, be that food or beverages.”

Serving local produce also helps support the local economy and lifestyle.

“It’s very important to our business and it’s important to us philosophically because we like to support local foods and help our local economy,” added Beattie. “It’s the micro-economy in Nova Scotia that is so important. Why would we want to give up the lifestyle we have here?”

Challenges include delivery.

“There’s the time and cost of making arrangements from multiple suppliers, and driving to pick things up if they’re not delivered,” said Beattie. “Fortunately I’m not tied in the kitchen, so I have time to do those things but it’s time taken away from doing other things.

“If we were a chef-operated business a chef wouldn’t be able to do that. He has to be in the kitchen too much.”

The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and the Cumberland Health Authority hosted the Feed Dating event, with additional support from the Nova Scotia Community College.

Becky Sooksom, Agriculture Transition Officer with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture said the event is about educating both sides.

“We know restaurants are looking for local food because it’s what customers are asking for,” said Sooksom.

“This is a great way for small scale farmers and independent operations to be able to access restaurants,” she added. “And chefs are always looking for something specific and looking for high quality produce.”

Trudy Reid, public health nutritionist with the Cumberland Health Authority, says the local food movement is growing.

“People are interested in eating local produce to support the local farmer and the local economy. It does set you apart as a business if you are able to offer that,” said Reid.

Asked why the local food movement is growing, Sooksom said, “My guess is because we have a stronger sense of place and a stronger of community than some other parts of the country might have.”

Reid says work done around food security in Nova Scotia has also contributed to the growth of the local food movement.

“Public Health has been trying to raise awareness and increase strategies for policy change around local food and healthy food access for people in Nova Scotia,” said Reid. “Research, and good partnerships between agriculture, public health and farms, has also encouraged the purchase of more local food.”

Michael Adams, chef at the BlackRock Bistro, says he likes working with local produce.

Adams, who grew up in Southampton, prepared four different appetizers for the event using local products, Lobster Paté, Steak Rouland, Vegetarian Sushi, and Bacon Halibut Bites.

“I really enjoy supporting local farmers and it tastes a lot better too,” said Adams.

 

 

 

 

“An event like this helps restaurants know where there food comes from, how it was grown, how it was raised, and how it was treated,” said Matthew Harrison, who produces maple syrup products in Lynn Mountain. “Buying local is good for everybody.”

Harrison was one of 10 local food producers who participated in the Feed Dating event recently held at the Anglican Christ Church Hall in Amherst.

David Beattie, owner operator of the BlackRock Bistro in Parrsboro, read off a list of more than 10 local suppliers he does business with. He then talked about the importance of using local products in his restaurant and some of the challenges he faces.

“From our perspective it’s serving our customers with the freshest, best ingredients we can, and to enhance the experience of eating here in Nova Scotia,” said Beattie. “A lot of our customers are tourists and they really enjoy the fact we’re able to feature local products, be that food or beverages.”

Serving local produce also helps support the local economy and lifestyle.

“It’s very important to our business and it’s important to us philosophically because we like to support local foods and help our local economy,” added Beattie. “It’s the micro-economy in Nova Scotia that is so important. Why would we want to give up the lifestyle we have here?”

Challenges include delivery.

“There’s the time and cost of making arrangements from multiple suppliers, and driving to pick things up if they’re not delivered,” said Beattie. “Fortunately I’m not tied in the kitchen, so I have time to do those things but it’s time taken away from doing other things.

“If we were a chef-operated business a chef wouldn’t be able to do that. He has to be in the kitchen too much.”

The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and the Cumberland Health Authority hosted the Feed Dating event, with additional support from the Nova Scotia Community College.

Becky Sooksom, Agriculture Transition Officer with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture said the event is about educating both sides.

“We know restaurants are looking for local food because it’s what customers are asking for,” said Sooksom.

“This is a great way for small scale farmers and independent operations to be able to access restaurants,” she added. “And chefs are always looking for something specific and looking for high quality produce.”

Trudy Reid, public health nutritionist with the Cumberland Health Authority, says the local food movement is growing.

“People are interested in eating local produce to support the local farmer and the local economy. It does set you apart as a business if you are able to offer that,” said Reid.

Asked why the local food movement is growing, Sooksom said, “My guess is because we have a stronger sense of place and a stronger of community than some other parts of the country might have.”

Reid says work done around food security in Nova Scotia has also contributed to the growth of the local food movement.

“Public Health has been trying to raise awareness and increase strategies for policy change around local food and healthy food access for people in Nova Scotia,” said Reid. “Research, and good partnerships between agriculture, public health and farms, has also encouraged the purchase of more local food.”

Michael Adams, chef at the BlackRock Bistro, says he likes working with local produce.

Adams, who grew up in Southampton, prepared four different appetizers for the event using local products, Lobster Paté, Steak Rouland, Vegetarian Sushi, and Bacon Halibut Bites.

“I really enjoy supporting local farmers and it tastes a lot better too,” said Adams.

 

 

 

 

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