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Local Flavors Meal Series Returns
Local farmers are teaming up with local chefs for the sixth annual Local Flavors Meal Series.
This year, Local Flavors will have a variety of times and locations for you to get a taste of what's grown in central Illinois.
From the fields straight to the frying pan, the Local Flavors Meal Series partners up local farmers with local restaurants to create a meal made entirely from Illinois scratch.
"We support them, they support us, and that way, we can support other businesses and restaurants in the central Illinois area," farmer Garrick Veenstra said.
Veenstra, of Veenstra's Vegetables and Heck's Harvest, runs a four-acre vegetable produce farm. He said it's not just about keeping it local--it's about giving residents fresh, high-quality produce.
"Anything that is harvested, we are getting it into a chef's hand, a customer's hand, withing 24 hours of it being harvested," Veenstra said. "So it is staying fresh much, much longer."
Staying fresh longer is one of the main reasons Cafe Brio Executive Chef Ryan Lewis buys local produce.
"The flavor profile alone is night and day," Lewis said. "I mean, if you have a tomato coming from Mexico that's been off the vine for two weeks, as compared to something that has been off the vine this morning, there is no comparison, even in the colors, even in the textures, even in the flavors."
That's why the Illinois Stewardship Alliance started the Local Flavors Meal Series--in hopes of creating a strong relationship between local farmers and their communities.
"You'll hear a lot of chefs say that they really get a higher-quality, great flavor product when they go to the farmer's market, so we'd really like to see more and more restaurants adopt this practice of buying more locally, supporting the local farmers, and getting a great-quality product," alliance representative Lindsay Record said.
The Local Flavors Meal Series will take place at participating restaurants. Click here for a complete list.