Traditionally, most people dining in a restaurant didn't really give a lot of thought about the quality and kind of produce and meat that went into making their food. Frankly, in the past, it was taken for granted what you were getting or where it came from. If you were eating fast food, you assumed you were getting a base quality product. If you were out at a fine dining establishment you assumed that you were getting top quality produce. That was probably never always true but it was probably right that the exception to these assumptions proved the rule more often than not.
Today, however, diners are waking up and starting to ask questions about their food and where it comes from. Why? Due to massive leaps in technology (e.g. genetic modifcations) combined with corporate consolidation of our food chain, the American consuming public has uncovered serious threats to their health that are not being regulated or even disclosed by the FDA. And thanks to books and movies such as Fast Food Nation, Food, Inc., King Corn, and Super-Size Me, the dangers within the system as well as the impact to quality are becoming well known.
The Wilmington is committed to serving all-natural food that is as local and grown from small family farms as is possible. We believe that we live in one of the last best farm belts left in America. While the great farm belt of yore has become the province of corporate mega-farms who have to raise their animals in squalid conditions that are fed corn and other unnatural foods that their bodies are not meant to consume, the farms here in Vermont have land a-plenty which allows farmers to raise their herds using traditional, natural methods and in conditions that are not only humane but often remarkable.
There is a cost to buying local and natural and we pay it so that you don't have to. To follow is an anecdotal explanation of what the cost of buying local food is and how it works.
Consider a $30 filet mignon entree. Using round numbers, but in proper relation, the costs and uses that go into each dish at our restaurant versus a competitor who purchases their filet from a national distributor would look something like this:
The difference might not seem like much but that $8 cut of tenderloin stays here in Vermont. Moreover, it stays in the town and funds schools visavis property taxes, employs local farm hands and workers, and promotes small town busiensses that support agriculture. However, notice that it comes at the expense of "house profit". This is the primary reason why there aren't more localvore restaurants; so long as diners continue to not care about where their meats come from and remain unwilling to pay an extra $4.50 for a filet, restraunts will continue to be financially incentivized to go with corn-fed corporate beef. Buy local or not, but at least understand that your food dollars matter.
Black Watch Farm, Weathersfield, VT
The Economics of Eating Locally Farmed Food