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Much of Kenyon’s local food supply comes from a nearby produce auction from the county’s Amish community Courtesy the Rural Life Center, Kenyon College

for their kitchens. This can be done by buying directly off the farm and through existing distribution networks which include auctions, wholesalers, and brokers. Understanding the supply chain, knowing how a specific product is grown and when it is ready to harvest are all important. This allows the kitchen to plan seasonal menus, optimize purchasing during peak production, and share their commitment to local sourcing. The interest in sourcing locally by all types of institutions and businesses is based on some basic benefits that result in strengthening local food systems and building local economies. These benefits include:

• increasing jobs and food related entrepreneurial opportunities for Ohioans; • circulating food dollars locally; • maintaining a rural landscape with prosperous and productive farms of all sizes, capable of supporting future generations of food producers; • building relationships within the community for mutual support; • in the case of colleges and universities—satisfying student advocates and improving compliance with administrative directives for sustainability. • creating enjoyment for Ohioans with fresh fruits and vegetables harvested at their delicious and healthful peak. Ohio has ideal soils, climate, and growing conditions to produce a variety of fruits and vegetables. Farm operations throughout the state have the ability to produce, harvest, and deliver these fresh crops by developing local supply chains. Ohio specialty crop farmers are using low cost hoop houses and high tunnels to extend the growing season and produce crops throughout the year. Expanding market opportunities beyond the farmers’ market helps producers build their operations. A 2

broader customer base increases marketing options. Operational efficiencies can improve. The farmer can better plan, prepare, and optimize farm income. To serve Ohio fruits and vegetables at Ohio’s institutions, a few demands are placed on Ohio farmers. Relationships need to be established and links within the supply chain need to be strengthened. Issues of supply, consistency, convenience, and cost must be addressed. Food safety assurances join such practical issues as delivery schedules and menu creation. The farmer needs to know the level of quality, consistency, and efficiency expected by institutional food-service administrators. Food service directors and executive chefs need to know the uncertainty of farming and allow for flexibility. We hope this guide furthers these understandings. Institutions are also encouraged to consider other Ohio produced farm products as they increase their commitment to local sources. These products could include fresh or processed meats, eggs, cheese, dairy, or grains. The basic considerations in this publication will still apply. s

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