| By Laura Eng
There is a growing movement in Central Florida that involves local food, local eaters, and local doers that is called the Local Food Movement. All three of these aspects were brought together for a night of fine dining at the Homestead Harvest Event at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes benefiting our non-profit urban agriculture program, Fleet Farming. The Homestead Harvest Event held on October 26th, 2017 was a delicious showcase of local food from barbecue pulled alligator to sustainably farmed vegetables. Chefs from some of Orlando’s most renown restaurants such as The Ravenous Pig, Kevin Fonzo, The Osprey Tavern, and The Rusty Spoon provided sampling menus filled with locally sourced food grown in Central Florida. Much of the ingredients used for the Ritz Carlton Orlando’s sampling came directly from their own on-property sustainable farm called Whisper Creek. This farm is full of perennial and biennial crops that are a part of a larger movement to promote growing food in cities. Attendees, farmers, and restaurants all came together to support farm-to-table to benefit Fleet Farming and we raised $13,000 to grow our program with a greater impact to local food systems.
Peter Zampaglione is the Executive Chef at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. When he was asked why we got involved with this event, he responded “It kind of goes along with our philosophy of what we’re doing here at the hotel. As much as we can we try to use sustainable products, we work with the local farmers, also we grow a lot of our product that we try to use within our restaurants … it matched with what our philosophy is and also why our guests come to dine with us.” He continues “It really goes along with what we believe in as chefs in sustainability and really you as individuals being able to contribute what you can put towards sustainability.”
We cannot give enough thanks for the generosity and creativity of the Highball & Harvest Team, The Ritz Carlton Orlando, The Farmers at Whisper Creek, and to all the Chefs and restaurateurs of the evening. With this event representing the local food movement here in Central Florida, there will be many more events like this to come.
Interested in connecting with Fleet Farming about an upcoming event or about local food distribution? Contact us at [email protected].