What’s Local – Restaurant Supply House

January 14, 2010 at 9:12 am

Rob Gardner

The Local Family has an in to go shop at the giant cash n’ carry restaurant supply shop across the street from Goose Island Shrimp (yes, the place where they go once a season on Top Chef when Whole Foods won’t cut it).  We cannot necessarily get you in too, but we can share what we see there.  And why share what cannot be had?  If it’s at Restaurant Depot, it will, it can show up at your local coffee shop or neighborhood bodega.  If we see local behind these closed doors, we can expect to find local out in the public too.  We were pleasantly pleased with the local we saw when shopping yesterday.

How about beets, pleasantly plump purple beets.  There were 25 lb bags of Michigan beets for around $5.  Or turnips.  Now, Melissa argues that we should avoid turnips come winter, noting they can be past their prime, even as they keep, yet sometimes locavores have to take what they can.  Pickle them if you have to.  I’m forever advocating the need to have more stored local crops in the market.  It turns there have been farmer’s doing just that.  Just farmers serving the trade not the public.  Still, if you find a turnip or beet on a menu, know that you are probably still eating local.

Another big local stock, Wisconsin potatoes.  As noted in the Local Calendar, local potatoes, Wisconsin potatoes, can be found around town.  Some of the places you may frequent may use Idaho potatoes [ed. looking at your Five Guys habit?] because, well they look nicer–they make a better looking baked potato if you are Morton’s.  We find Wisconsin russet potatoes sweeter and more flavorful, and we enjoy their smaller carbon footprint.  Besides, at half the price, your local local should be passing along the savings to you for eating local.

Thing is, before hitting the restaurant supply house yesterday, the prettier half and  the chubbier half of the Local Family parental unit argued over the amount of local that would be there.  One of us thought he’d go to pick up a bottle of sherry vinegar; the other thought she’d find local for sure.  And while Dad made do by looking at his Twitter friends, Mom examined all the labels.  She loves local and she loves being right.  She wants you to know that there is more local than you may think out there.