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• contact a produce auction barn to find out their schedule and plan to attend an auction. • utilize one of the many online marketing tools to find a local grower that is advertising the product you want to buy. • contact the local Cooperative Extension Service and ask for a list of local specialty-crop producers in your area. • local farmers’ markets are a great way to find local producers as well as getting a sense of what is in season. • discuss with your existing broadline supplier or produce distributor about their local-product sourcing network.

The long-term success of your program to work with locally-produced food sources will depend on the support of your institution’s administration and your customers. Plan to share the story of locally-grown food and local farmers, and tell your customers what these sources mean to you as a chef by using newsletters, blogs, and other promotional material. Tabletop tents and signage can also get the message across and make for interesting reading. Special events

After you have identified a convenient source for local produce or have begun building relationships with local farmers, evaluate how you can use local products within the many considerations you may have to juggle. Here are some questions to think about: • Are you currently obligated to purchase certain products under existing contracts or buying programs? • Do you have sufficient staff training and the space in the kitchen to do more “from scratch” food preparation? • Do you have the facilities to store products under the right temperature and holding requirements? • Do you have the flexibility to work within the dietary requirements of certain federal or state funding programs? • Can existing menus be adapted to utilize and feature more locally sourced products? • Can new menu items be developed to take advantage of the seasonality of locally sourced products? • Is your accounting system set up to accommodate the payment terms of local farmers? 7

can highlight seasonal harvests. Serving local foods can be an opportunity for creativity and it will keep your customers excited about the food you prepare and present. Please use the field-fresh fruits and vegetables Produce Availability Chart found at the center of this booklet to help plan menus. s

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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...

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