September 6, 2019
SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 2019 CT FARM-TO-CHEF WEEK: SEPTEMBER 15 – 21, 2019
Bureau of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation
Farm-to-Chef Week is the perfect time for diners to enjoy local Connecticut Grown food at their favorite restaurants, schools, and on-farm dinners.
More than 30 Connecticut dining venues have signed up to take part in Farm-to-Chef Week, which begins Sunday, September 15th, by serving dishes that incorporate locally grown Connecticut ingredients.
This 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.
This years’ Farm-to-Chef Week will kick off with live music and special guests at CitySeed’s Wooster Square Farmers’ Market on Saturday, September 14, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in New Haven. The event will feature a chef demonstration by “Chopped” winner Chef Xavier Santiago of David Burke Prime and Caputo Trattoria at Foxwoods.
Participating dining venues include Plan B Burger Bar, Westport Public Schools, and Killam & Bassette Farmstead. For more information about participating venues, including menus, go to www.ctfarmtochef.com.
Visiting participating restaurants during Farm-to-Chef Week not only provides fresh, delicious lunch and dinner options like Sepe Farm Lamb Burgers and Waldingfield Farm Crispy Eggplant Napoleon, it also helps connect chefs and diners with Connecticut farm families.
Sales to restaurants can be a significant source of income for Connecticut farm businesses. Some businesses, like Connecticut’s mushroom and oyster producers, rely heavily on direct sales to restaurants.
Farm-to-Chef Week also benefits farm businesses which don’t traditionally sell direct to dining venues by highlighting how important it is for consumers to choose local food whenever possible. Choosing to buy Connecticut Grown products at restaurants and grocery stores sends a powerful message to food distributers that also purchase from local farmers.
Funding for Farm-to-Chef Week is solely contributed through sponsorships and participating venues. The following are proud sponsors of this initiative in 2019: FreshPoint CT, Bozzuto’s Inc., Highland Park Market, Farm Credit East, Connecticut Milk Promotion Board and Skyeline Studios, LLC.
For the first time, diners will be able to make their voices heard by voting for their favorite Connecticut Grown dishes in nearly two dozen categories. Voting opens on September 21 and will close September 28. Voters will also be eligible to win a Connecticut Grown prize package. Visit the CT Farm-to-Chef Facebook page for additional details and to cast your vote.
DoAg launched the Farm-to-Chef Program in 2006 to help connect foodservice professionals with Connecticut Grown farm products. There is no cost to either farmers or chefs to join.
Farm-to-Chef Week was started by DoAg in 2010 as part of its year-round Farm-to-Chef Program. This special week encourages culinary professionals to use Connecticut Grown ingredients in new ways on their menus while it also helps residents and visitors learn more about the diversity of farm products grown and raised in Connecticut.
For more information, go to www.ctfarmtochef.com, call 860-713-2543, or email Erin.Windham@ct.gov.
The following are some frequently asked questions and answers about the Farm-to-Chef.
When is Farm-to-Chef Week?
Farm-to-Chef Week occurs every September.
Where is Farm-To-Chef Week?
Farm-to-Chef week occurs in participating venues throughout Connecticut, including restaurants, campus dining halls, school and corporate cafeterias, healthcare facilities, and other foodservice institutions.
Who is eligible to participate?
Any foodservice business in Connecticut able to meet the Farm-to-Chef Week guidelines can participate, including restaurants, banquet halls, caterers, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, 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 registration fee.
How do chefs participate?
After completing and submitting the registration form, chefs and foodservice managers begin planning their special Farm-to-Chef menus. They reach out to nearby farms to see what will be available to purchase that week and can be used in the menu as a featured ingredient, and then also start planning special activities to promote those farms during Farm-to-Chef Week such as farmer appearances/talks, exhibits and displays, etc.
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.
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.