The Local Flavors farm-to-table restaurant series, now in its 9th season, will kick off this June, highlighting locally-owned restaurants across central Illinois with a commitment to sourcing from central Illinois farmers. The series takes place in four cities, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, and Springfield, and provides residents with the opportunity to experience the true flavors of Illinois while also supporting local businesses, sustainable farming, and locally-grown products.
Local Flavors events will take place on the third Thursday each month, June – October, and will rotate to a different restaurant within each city each month. Chefs from participating restaurants will create a special Local Flavors menu of three or more items featuring almost entirely seasonal produce and proteins sourced directly from central Illinois farmers. Customers can stop by any participating restaurant on their scheduled date during their regular business hours to order from the Local Flavors menu. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by contacting participating restaurants directly. The schedule of events for each city can be seen below:
The full schedule of events in all cities can be viewed on the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois website: www.buyfreshbuylocalcentralillinois.org Menus for each event can be found on the Buy Fresh Buy Local website and facebook page, up to two weeks before each event. To stay up to date on the latest Local Flavors menus as well as other local food and farm happenings in the area, sign up for the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois newsletter.
The Local Flavors series is organized by Illinois Stewardship Alliance in conjunction with local partners. These events are designed to support small-scale farmers, promote restaurants with a commitment to sustainable sourcing, and raise awareness for the importance of buying locally. According to a 2011 Ken Meter Study, if Central Illinois shoppers bought 15% of their food directly from their local farmers it would generate $639 million in new income annually for the region. Restaurants buying direct from local farmers stand to create an even larger impact.
“The Local Flavors series gives our community a chance to support local farms and businesses and get a fantastic meal at the same time,” says Molly Gleason, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Communications Director. “This year we’ve made some changes to the series to really focus on highlighting those restaurants that buy locally on a regular basis. Dining out for a Local Flavors event lets those restaurants know that the community is behind them and supports their good business practices.”
In addition to the Local Flavors series held in Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Bloomington-Normal, a new spin-off series this year, called Local Flavors Week, will also bring farm-to-table meals to smaller communities in central Illinois for week long events. Learn more at Local Flavors Week.