Preparing a menu can be an overwhelming task depending on your restaurant and cooking style, but with a little helpful insight into the availability of seasonal produce items – you can plan for the perfectly unique menu every season.
Here are a few helpful tips to make your planning easier:
1. What Produce Is Seasonal?
The first is to see what is seasonally available which can be done by visiting the Foodland Ontario Availability Guide. Here you’ll find all of the items that should be seasonally available.
Another way to check on local product is with a quick trip to your local grocer who should feature local and seasonal product when it is available. Once you’ve noted some of the interesting items in season, give us a call so we can source the best product at the most affordable rate in larger pack sizes.
The last way to check on seasonal product is to ask! Call or Email Andrew Demers, our Business Development Manager who can fill you in on any new or exciting items.
2. Have Fun With It
The best way to make a menu that has some soul is to take from your experience. Incorporate flavours from your childhood that mean something to you. Inspiration can come from anywhere, a dish that reminds you of a certain type of weather, a vacation spot your visited once, or what your mom would cook for Sunday dinner. The possibilities are endless, but when you have clear inspiration, the menu will come to life.
3. What To Watch For
One of the biggest issues we see when someone is planning and sourcing for their seasonal fresh produce are ‘hot items’, ‘deals’, or limited quantity items that won’t last your menus duration.
When purchasing a deal, be wary of older product people are looking to move as this may be the end of a lot, or product that’s just not good.
The other issue to consider with seasonal items, are their availability throughout the duration of your menu. If you’re looking to renew your menu quarterly, you’ll need to consider what products will be available for this length of time so you’re not finding gaps in the marketplace where product may become very expensive to source, or impossible to find.
4. Where To Source
Quality is the number one focus which narrows where you can purchase from. It’s always safe to go with reputable organizations or companies in order to get the best product, at the best price, with the best service.
We deal with a number of reputable local farmers who provide incredible local product, at rock bottom pricing. We’re able to get this pricing because of our centralized location to the Norfolk growing region.
What we can’t source local and farm fresh is sourced from the Ontario Food Terminal (OFT). These are reputable growers and importers who provide the best variety, the best quality, and the best price. If you ever need something specialty, chances are we can find it here.
5. How Will The Menu Come Together?
The goal for every dish the kitchen puts out is quality and synergy among the flavours. Are you looking for something hearty and thick like a root vegetable soup, or perhaps something lighter like a caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil?
By planning out the type of menu you want to showcase, you can get a precise idea of the types of products you’ll need. With our extensive list of standard products, we can help source anything you’ll need to compliment your starters, mains, and even desserts.
When you’ve planned your menu and are ready to begin placing orders for fresh produce, help is just a click away!