Niche restaurants seek local, fresh produce - The Packer

Niche restaurants seek local, fresh produce

07/18/2014 09:45:00 AM
Melissa Shipman

Unique restaurants are popping up all over the Twin Cities, produce suppliers say.

“We see more of those niche restaurants, or specialty boutique restaurants, springing up in the Twin Cities and outlying areas,” said Arthur Quiggle, vice president of Wholesale Produce Supply, Minneapolis.

Quiggle said he’s pleased with those developments.

“It’s refreshing to see those new restaurants,” he said.

Urban OrganicsChard is harvested at Urban Organics, St. Paul., Minn., where co-founder Fred Haberman says people want to eat fresh, organic local food because they feel better when they do.Wholesale Produce doesn’t deal as much with those operations directly, however, as most of its foodservice sales go through a distribution center before arriving in restaurant kitchens.

“Demand is growing on the chain side and with the niche restaurants,” Quiggle said.

Adam Gamble, president of Russ Davis Wholesale, Wadena, Minn., said he has seen more local upscale restaurants in search of locally grown produce.

“That’s driving demand a little for locally grown, but not as much as retail because of the sheer volume,” he said.

The juicing craze is another healthy eating trend that Fred Haberman, co-founder of Urban Organics, St. Paul., Minn., said he believes will affect overall produce consumption of the area.

“I believe people are wanting to eat fresh, organic, local food because they’ve noticed they feel better when they do,” he said.

The trend also revolves around the idea of supporting the local community.

“They want to eat local to create a more secure food system and stop giving their money to large corporations,” Haberman said.

Gamble agreed that juicing is a new niche restaurant trend.

“I’ve had numerous calls from juice bars wanting to supply fruit and vegetables like kale for fresh juices or smoothie blends,” he said.



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