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10 Restaurant Secrets to Creating an Incredible Meal

Fresh is Best
Fresh ingredients always yield better quality food.
Fresh ingredients always yield better quality food.
Photo courtesy of Heather Kolich, 2009

The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, N.Y., built its 30-plus year reputation on the wholesome goodness of fresh vegetables and herbs grown in the Moosewood Restaurant kitchen gardens. The owners of Magnolia Grill in Durham, N.C., believe that the success of their restaurant lies squarely in the freshness of their ingredients, purchased at the local farmer's market from reputable growers within a 50-mile (80.47-kilometer) radius of the market.

If you can't grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs at home, your next best bet is to find a local farmer's market. How does locally grown produce differ from what you can buy at the supermarket? Produce grown for sale in grocery stores is often bred for its ability to withstand the rigors of shipping rather than for its flavor. It might be picked before it's ripe so that it doesn't spoil in transit. The folks who grow food to sell at farmer's markets can wait until the produce is fully ripe before picking it. This ensures that it has full flavor as well as better vitamin and nutrient content than produce picked before its peak. Local growers also offer regional and seasonal items that aren't available at chain stores.