Looking for a way to eat more local produce and meat without doing all the work? the Illinois Stewardship Alliance is sponsoring The Local Flavors series in which local restaurants develop special menu items at lunch or dinner (on a specific day). These lunches and dinners take place now through October.
From the City of Urbana:
Farm to Table Events Raise Awareness for Local Food
Now consumers can find farm-fresh meals at even more of their favorite restaurants across Central Illinois. Local Flavors, a farm-to-table event series highlighting seasonal, locally grown and produced food, is adding new restaurants and new venues in its 7th year.
The Local Flavors series, an Illinois Stewardship Alliance sponsored event, brings together restaurant owners and Central Illinois farmers to provide monthly lunch and dinner events to the public. The series began in Springfield seven years ago and is now held in four cities across Central Illinois: Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, and Peoria. Chefs from participating restaurants source locally grown, seasonal products to create special Local Flavors dishes to add to their regular menu for the day of the event. Lunches are held the first Tuesday of each month and dinners are held the third Thursday of each month, June through October.
Natalie Kenny-Marquez, market manager of Urbana’s market at the Square, says of the event, “It’s great to see the produce, meat, dairy, cheese, and more that you can find out at the Market more readily available in our local restaurants. It’s just another way that we can support our farmers and our local businesses. It’s a win for everyone and a great dining experience for the customers.”
The event is designed to grow a market for Illinois’ small farms and specialty crop producers, to cultivate relationships between local farmers and chefs, and to raise awareness about how eating local food is not only healthy and delicious, but is also better for the environment and the local economy.
“We are excited to have new restaurants participating in the Local Flavors series this year and are looking forward to seeing what creative dishes the chefs will invent. We hope the addition of these new venues will reach more consumers and generate more interest in local food,” said Lindsay Record, program director at Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
Dates and Locations for Local Flavors events in Champaign-Urbana are:
June 3: Milo’s Restaurant
July 1: Pizza M.
Aug 5: Pekara Bakery and Bistro
Sept 2: Common Ground Food Co-op
Oct 7: The Urbana Butcher Shop
June 19: Escobar’s Restaurant
July 17: Piato Cafe
Aug 14: Bacaro Wine Lounge
Sept 18: Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works
Oct 16: Big Grove Tavern
Reservations are encouraged and can be made by contacting participating restaurants directly. The full schedule of events in all four cities can be viewed on Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s website at www.ilstewards.org. Menus can be found on the ISA Facebook page www.facebook.com/ilstewards up to two weeks before each event, or in the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois newsletter. Interested parties can sign up for the newsletter on the ISA website.
Local Flavors 2014 is hosted by Illinois Stewardship Alliance in partnership with Urbana’s Market at the Square.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) is a non-profit organization that promotes local food and farm systems that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just through policy development, advocacy and education. ISA is also host of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois chapter which connects citizens to Central Illinois’ freshest locally grown and produced food. Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois consists of 140 members throughout the region including farmers, restaurants, retailers and markets.