MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Owner and Head Chef Jake Reed is a regular at the Morgan County Farmers Market. That's because he goes after local fruits and vegetables for his Albany Bistro restaurant. He is a big believer in the farm to table concept. "It's basically about bringing the freshest ingredients from a local place to your table. That sums it up right there. It's basically putting you in contact with the people who are growing your food," he said.
Reed said it's a "win/win" situation. "It benefits the entire community. Not only are you getting to know the person growing your food, you're also helping your neighbor out, economically."
Registered Dietician Jessie Simmons agrees, and said you can maximize your nutritional benefits. "If you buy local, fresh produce you get more vitamins, minerals and fiber from this. Because your foods aren't traveling a long distance to get to you."
In fact, Simmons said some vitamins will actually break down during long travel times. "Some vitamins and minerals you can get from fresh fruits and vegetables include Vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and magnesium."
The farm to table concept is something that's sweeping the nation. The idea behind it is something that not only benefits a healthier you, but also farmers in your area.
"We're actually coming to the Farmers Market pretty much 4 or 5 days a week. My favorite day is Saturday, but I think we buy the most on Tuesday, kinda gearing up for the week. We use everything from fresh tomatoes, blueberries, black berries, strawberries which just went out of season, and we're coming up on watermelon season which I'm very excited about that," added Reed.
Reed said you can't beat the flavor. "We're actually stewing the blackberries with some balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to make a reduction to go on one of our duck sandwiches."
He says Champion Farms is a one stop shop for a lot of produce you will find on his menu. "We're using their tomatoes, their peaches and cream corn. We pick up zucchini pretty much 2 to 3 times a week. And if you like onions, look down there at these white gems. These are some candy sweet onions and they are the best you can get in these parts."