Farm to Restaurant program grows in 6th year

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Illinois Stewardship Alliance is partnering with local restaurants throughout central Illinois to put on the Local Flavors meal series for the sixth year in a row.

Restaurants participating in the program agree to use local produce and other products during their Local Flavors meal. For some restaurants that means a special of the day, for others it means a complete menu that is comprised entirely of local fare.

“Local Flavors was initiated because of interest from farmers but it has been successful because of the support from both chefs and diners” Lindsay Record, program director for Illinois Stewardship Alliance, said. “Local Flavors has been a very rewarding program because everyone wins.  Farmers can tap into a new market, chefs receive fresh, high quality produce, and diners get some of the best food central Illinois has to offer.”

This year Local Flavors is bringing back lunches, which have been very popular in the past, after their absence from the program last year. Lunches are on the first Tuesday of the month from June to October, while dinners are on the third Thursday of the month from June to October.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for another season of Local Flavors. We are grateful to the restaurants who participate and afford the local growers and producers this opportunity,” Marisa Brooks, events, outreach and marketing coordinator for the Downtown Bloomington Association, said. “We hope that these events will help forge a stronger relationship between farmers and all components of the community and create a stronger appreciation of where individuals and groups source their food.”

Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal will Join Springfield in participating in Local Flavors again this year. Also, for the first time in the history of the series, Peoria restaurants will be part of Local Flavors.

“We are thrilled to have the Local Flavors Meal Series come to the Peoria Area.  What could be more healthy and delicious than experienced local chefs using locally grown foods from farmers we know and trust?” Sharon Gramm, Peoria Riverfront Association executive director, said. “It is a natural fit with what will hopefully be extraordinary results.”

In addition to the Peoria Riverfront Association, and Bloomington Downtown Association, Illinois Stewardship Alliance is partnering with the Heart of Illinois Professional Chef’s Association and Urbana Market on the Square to promote the events.

CLICK HERE for more information, including dates and restaurants, and to sign up for email alerts regarding Local Flavors.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just local food systems through policy development, advocacy and education.