Review by Karla Oliveira Silva, Alma Limon, Nicole Fish, Allison McKone
Eating local was not always something people sought out. It was all we had, in the beginning of civilization. What seems like privilege now used to be the way of life. Eat what you grow, grow the foods and vegetables that work best in your regio n and tada, it’s dinner. There was no other option. But we have come a long way since then. Now, processed foods are everywhere, it has become a standard way of food making, surrounding us in every restaurant chain we eat at or pass by. It so submerged into our culture that “natural food” seems like a delicacy.
Tuscany is known for its natural foods, especially Florence, what is known as their “farm to table” philosophy, which seems like a token of sunshine for those of us who live in areas surrounded by processed foods. Tuscans are very attune to what is fresh and is in season. Fresh food marks is a regular reality in Florence. There are so many places that embrace the farm to table philosophy that makes Florence one of the top places to eat locally.
Farm to table is a social media movement which promotes serving local foods at a restaurant. The produce is grown and delivered by the producer themselves. Restaurants use this philosophy to give their customers the freshest of foods. This idea is popular because it is deemed healthy and good not only for your body, but also for the environment.
These are some of the restaurants which embrace the Farm to table philosophy in Florence:
San Michele All’Arco
This Restaurant has a garden that provides them with genuine and fresh products. Their farm applies a deep understanding of the cycle of the seasons in order to operate concordantly with the Farm to the table philosophy. One well known product of this restaurant it is their very own home made bread with organic flour which results in an excellent traditional and intense flavored bread.
Also, all the meat you can eat in San Michelle All Arco , comes from their farm and it is processed by Lucca Magazzini, their pork butcher who said: “Our animals are raised in a semi-wild state and fed with grass and corn or beans, we believe animals have the right to a good life even though you know they are intended to slaughter”
Adresse: Via dell’Oriuolo n.3/r
Tel. 055 245626
Hours: Monday Dinner only 6:30-10:30pm. Tuesday-Sunday Lunch 11:30am-3:30pm; Dinner 6:30-10:30pm
This little purple place, located near Piazza Beccaria not only a restaurant perfect for dinner or lunch, but it has its own market with their organic products, and a cafeteria with the best organic cafe.
Their dinner and lunch dishes are born from the Farm to table philosophy since you can only find biological products that bring the best nutrients that the body needs, However you shouldn’t feel too attached to any of the dishes since their menu changes daily, “As we follow the rhythms of nature and use only what it offers spontaneously we can’t have the same dishes all the time” said Veronica, one of the waitress.
This Philosophy however, does not stop them to create original and sophisticated dishes with a beautiful presentation that not only satisfy the taste but the sight.
Addresse: Via G. Leopoardi, 2r
Tel. 055 2479068
Hours: Mondays 7:30am-7:30pm; Tuesday-Saturday; 7:30am-11:00pm. Closed Sundays
La Leggenda dei Frati
If you want to have a fine gourmet dinner without giving up the Farm to table philosophy, this restaurant will suffice your needs. Not only is La Leggenda del Fratti privileged by an amazing location, within the museum complex of Villa Bardini in Florence and a great view of the city from its terrace.
Villa Bardini is surrounded by a beautiful garden which contains ancient olive and fruit trees, among other agricultural properties which remain at the disposal of the restaurant. The kitchen is innovative, the presentation of the dishes is flawless, and always with particular attention to the search for raw materials.
Costa S. Giorgio, 6/a
Tel. 055 0680545
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday Lunch 12:30–2:00pm; Dinner 7:30–10:00pm. Closed Mondays
Questions of Quality
Some say farm to table restaurants put too much focus on the food’s origin and not enough focus on the food itself, ie, the dishes. The label itself justifies charging more for the food, regardless of its quality.
Customers are always looking for transparency in their products’ origins, but this can sacrifice transparency of cooking and originality. With so much focus on the farming aspect of F2T, much of the focus is removed from the actual value of the food. This concept is called “ farmwashing ,” which is a marketing technique that idealizes farm-fresh food to sell products.
Restaurants in Florence fight to defy this stereotype. Instead of using a misguided focus on organic food in order to sell to customers, they use a mixture of new and traditional cooking techniques to deliver their diners both the freshest and tastiest options.
Eating properly does not need to be difficult, as the Italians have taught us. It does not have to be something you go out of your way to do, or find. Eating well shouldn’t have to be a difficult task, something left for only the rich or food connoisseurs. You don’t need to be anything specific to appreciate food and where it comes from. The idea of growing and eating your own produce is so simple, anyone can do it. And with enough perseverance, you can have your own vegetable garden in your own backyard. You know what they say, don’t you? Keep your friends close, and your farmers closer.