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Introduction Locally grown fruits and vegetables are making their way into the kitchens of schools, universities, health care centers, and restaurants throughout Ohio. These institutions are responding to requests from their customers to make the food as wholesome and delicious as possible. Executive chefs and directors of food service institutions across the state are discovering the value that Ohio grown fruits and vegetables bring to the table. The freshness, color, and great taste make the meals prepared with fresh produce more appetizing. Recipes come to life and participation increases as food becomes more appealing. As a result, any increased costs are typically more than compensated for by increased revenue. Ohio’s Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is intended to be a resource for specialty-crop producers (individually or producers working together) who want to sell their produce to a full-service distributor (also known as a broadliner), a wholesale produce distributor, or directly to an institutional food service buyer. Farmers are encouraged to learn what they can do to meet the needs of buyers within the institutional food service supply chain. The Agroecosystems Management Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) with the support from the

Ohio Department of Agriculture and funded by the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program conducted a research project that led to this publication. Institutional food services were questioned about their interest in purchasing Ohio produced specialty crops. We wanted to find out if institutions, as a group, provided a viable marketing opportunity for Ohio specialty crop producers. We found that many institutions want to provide Ohio produced specialty crops to their clients. The institutions surveyed were candid about what they needed from producers in order to commit to purchasing local specialty crops on a significant scale. Discussions with grower groups

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revealed their concerns as well. This publication will address issues on both ends of the supply chain. Ohio’s Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is a compilation of suggestions and recommendations from a number of sources. Several profiles are included that showcase successful programs, interesting collaborations and opportunities for agricultural entrepreneurs. An advisory group made up of farmers and food service personnel provided valuable insight and advice. Many resources from other organizations and associations are referenced. Food service directors and executive chefs will find ideas on how to source healthy and fresh Ohio-grown produce

Ohio's Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus  

Ohio’s Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is intended to be a resource for specialty-crop producers (individually or producers w...

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