Choosing local food

There are restaurants and cafes around Northland that choose to support local producers, but do you know who they are? And if you did know, would you be more likely to choose them to dine with?

There are a surprising number of local restaurants and cafes that are passionate about local food, but they are not communicating their passion to their customers. Perhaps we could initiate an “eat fresh, eat local” certification that local chefs could display to communicate their love for local food. Sean Stanley of the Northland Natural Foods Coop is working on a logo. Conscious Consumer, based in Wellington, has a certification process based on a series of badges including local, recycling, organic, free range etc. But the process is expensive.

To get something going up here, I favour a single qualifier – based on the percentage of food obtained from local producers. Given that there is produce not available in sufficient volumes, such as mushrooms and bananas, what do you think would be a fair threshold to qualify – 80%? When the certification is established perhaps a badge system can be added.

Shiraz restaurants would certainly qualify. Owner Jas Singh can be seen at the Whangarei Growers Markets most Saturdays buying.


He purchases sufficient produce for the whole week and cool stores it back at his restaurant. He knows it will still be in great shape by the end of the week, because it is fresh when he buys it. If he runs short, the growers will top him up during the week.

Judy Wicks, of Philadelphia’s White Dog Café, is a pioneer of local food revival. The food in her café’s comes with a story – she knows the people that produce the veggies, fruit, meat and seafood on the menu. She articulates her vision here? We can do this too. What do you think?


1 thought on “Choosing local food

  1. Good to know about Shiraz. As you say, it would be good to know what cafes source much of their food locally. I wonder whether the slogan could be tied in with shop local? That’s really what we’re doing when we buy from local growers, but a step further back in the supply chain from retail. I think something between 60% and 80% would work.


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