Farm to Fork Week San Diego began in January 2017, when restauranteur and food activist, Trish Watlington, saw the need to connect her community with restaurants that are committed to our local farmers, ranchers and fishermen. The week aims to put a spotlight on local food producers and the restaurants that source from them with events and affordable restaurant specials.  

It’s a great excuse to eat at some of the most exciting restaurants in the county, but it’s also more than that. Here are five reasons why Farm to Fork Week is so important for all San Diegans.

Illustration by Sarah Quatrano

Get to Know and Celebrate our Unique Growing Region

We have farms with ocean views, some tucked-away right inside our urban neighborhoods, and acres inland set between rolling hills. With a vast variety of microclimates, the opportunity to have a diverse bounty of locally grown food is at our fingertips. No matter where you live, someone is growing something within 15 miles of you (Don’t believe me? Google: “Farm near me”). San Diego’s county lines span far and wide, and we are lucky to call this agriculture-driven land our home, so let’s celebrate it!  

Support Local Farms with Your Dining Dollars

Farm to Fork Week puts verified restaurants in front of us as establishments who have earned our business even before we’ve stepped foot in the door. These restaurants have been verified by at least one farmer who they buy direct from. That’s no small feat, which is probably why that list is relatively small (but hopefully it will continue to grow). We have a community of rock star restaurants committed to our local farmers, and that is a good enough reason for me to try a new one out. The farmers cultivating our region have a tough job, so take this opportunity to support the restaurants that support them through sourcing, and get out to some events for the chance to meet the people growing your food!

Credit: CSA-Archive
Credit: CSA-Archive

Experience Seasonality in a New Way

We are blessed with a year-round growing season, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have seasonal harvests. If this is your first Farm to Fork Week, you’ll get to taste the bounty of our winter crops, prepared by the experts. If you’re a Farm to Fork Week vet, this week we’ll be celebrating a whole new set of flavors than we did in September.

Join Chefs and Restaurants Committed to Sourcing Local

Local, seasonal sourcing can mean working with multiple purveyors, which means more work for bookkeeping. It can mean multiple trips to the farmers market, early mornings at the dockside fish market, extra time menu planning. It’s far easier for busy chefs and restaurateurs to order from national suppliers that are one-stop-shops, but the chefs and restaurants participating in Farm to Fork Week have made it a priority to buy from our local farmers, cook with the seasons, and do their part to help keep our agriculture community sustainable. As consumers, it is our responsibility to support their efforts. Find a restaurant you love or a menu item that makes your mouth water, and then make a commitment to go back and show your love. Being a “regular” at a restaurant is a very real way of becoming part of our local food community.

Be a Part of the Solution: Economically, Environmentally, and Socially,

Participating in Farm to Fork Week is a way to become a more active and supportive member of our local food community. Money talks. You are voting with your dollars when you make the decision to dine local. Choosing food that has been grown and sourced locally, means less food miles and less of an environmental impact. But, it all starts with human connections: gathering over good food, meeting new neighbors, and spreading the word about your favorite dishes, restaurants, and farms. Start this week.

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