FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Farm-To-Chef?
Farm-to-Chef Week is an annual showcase of Connecticut Grown ingredients featured in menus creatively developed by chefs and foodservice professionals throughout Connecticut. Each Farm-to-Chef menu includes four or more items using Connecticut Grown farm products such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs; meats, poultry; shellfish, and other proteins; dairy; eggs; maple syrup and honey; wine; and more. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture created Farm-to-Chef Week in 2010 as part of its ongoing Farm-to-Chef program to help connect local farms and foodservice professionals.
When is Farm-to-Chef Week?
Any foodservice business in Connecticut able to meet the Farm-to-Chef Week guidelines can participate, including restaurants, banquet halls, and caterers; schools, colleges, and universities; hospitals and other healthcare facilities; corporate cafeterias; etc.
How does a chef/foodservice participant sign up?
Any Connecticut foodservice establishment can sign up by completing and submitting a registration form with the small registration fee ($25/location through August 13, 2021 and $50/location from August 13-20, 2021).
How do chefs participate?
How can farmers participate?
Farmers do not officially register but participate by partnering with participating foodservice establishments, to supply Connecticut Grown ingredients and information about how they produce those ingredients. Interested farmers are encouraged to reach out to registered foodservice participants to initiate new connections and forge new business relationships.
How can diners participate?
Diners can participate by visiting one or more of the participating foodservice establishments, ordering from their Farm-to-Chef menus, and partaking in the special Farm-to-Chef Week activities offered at that venue. Find a list of participating venues at www.ctfarmtochef.com.
Will diners be able to meet with participating chefs and farmers during Farm-to-Chef week?
As part of Farm-to-Chef Week, participating venues promote the farms producing the Connecticut Grown ingredients on the Farm-to-Chef menu through special talks, exhibits, displays, and/or other means. For more information about what a specific participating venue will be offering during Farm-to-Chef Week, please contact them directly.
Why should chefs and foodservice professionals participate in Farm-to-Chef week?
Farm-to-Chef Week is an ideal opportunity to connect with the men and women who grow and raise Connecticut Grown ingredients and to build stronger relationships with them. It is also an excellent opportunity to showcase your use of Connecticut Grown ingredients, whether you already do it every day or are just getting started in sourcing more locally.
If a restaurant already sources from local farms, why should they participate?
Farm-to-Chef Week is one way for those establishments who already source most of their ingredients from local farms to further showcase the good work they are already doing, and to attract new customers who may not yet know about them. Farm-to-Chef Week provides a good opportunity to connect with additional local farms and strengthen relationships. It also encourages creativity—it is a chance to try working with a new product or an old favorite in a new way.
If a foodservice establishment does not currently source from local farms, how can they begin? The Connecticut Department of Agriculture can help to make connections with producers, please reach out. Farm listings (though not an exhaustive list) can be found at https://guide.ctnofa.org where you can reach out and see if producers are interested in selling to restaurants and other food service establishments. Call farms or stop by farmer markets in your area and ask about product availability, wholesale pricing, and any delivery options. Purchase a small amount of product to try. Soon you find some farms that are a good fit to supply your business. Then be sure to let your customers know about the producers who have grown and raised the food used in your menu.
If a restaurant or institution already has a good food supplier, why should it buy from local farms? Most chefs and foodservice professionals find connecting directly with farmers to be highly rewarding and well worth any extra effort. The freshness and quality of the ingredients cannot be matched--fruits and vegetables can be picked at the peak of ripeness because they do not have to endure a lengthy shipping and/or storage process, and unusual and more flavorful varieties that would be too fragile to ship can be enjoyed. Personally knowing the producers who grow and raise the food, and appreciating the work that goes into that process, is something many chefs also find gratifying. Diners, whether restaurant patrons, school children, or healthcare clients, enjoy not only the super-fresh, delicious ingredients, but also learning more about the farmers, the entire food chain from farm to plate, and what is involved every step of the way. Purchasing directly from farmers supports their bottom line and allows them to put a greater share of each dollar paid for their products back into their farms, enhancing long-term viability and sustainability. Supporting small, local, family-owned farm businesses and keeping more money in the local community benefits everyone involved.
How is Farm-To-Chef week promoted?
Farm-to-Chef week is promoted through a variety of avenues including media releases and subsequent articles/features, website information, email blasts, word-of-mouth, and through advertising made possible through the generous support of Farm-to-Chef Week sponsors. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, please see the 2021 Sponsorship Form.
How can someone get more information about Farm-to-Chef Week?
For more information, visit the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s website,www.CTGrown.gov, the new Farm-to-Chef website, www.CTFarmtoChef.com, call 860-895-3094, or email Cyrena.Thibodeau@ct.gov.