Local eating: Farm Fresh Food

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Everything old is new again. Fresh and locally sourced are the new fancy and imported. Bumper sticker lingo is the new journalism.

OK, I threw that last one in as a little joke. But the first couple T-shirt-ready slogans accurately describe one of the most encouraging restaurant trends since laundered napkins.

Consider this: In olden times, you had little choice but to eat what grew nearby. By the end of the 20th century, modern culinary sophistication meantlocal restaurant menus touted lamb from New Zealand, porcini from Italy.

Nowadays, similarly ambitious Ohioeateries are morelikely to betrumpeting organic, grass-fed beef from Johnstown, wild ramps from Hocking Hills. See, things run in cycles (and with that, I'll put the kibosh on the facile soundbites).

To the point, the local-leaning movement is the rare example of a hot trend that makeperfect sense for the wholeplanet- as well as local economies and local palates.Living in heartland Ohio means we can take abundantadvantage offresh-from-the-farm (and hencehealthier, more vibrantly flavoredand better textured) ingredients.

Now that farmers' stands, stalls and markets are seemingly popping up around town like fresh mint in a summertime backyard, this spirit of localism has grown to a barnful of impressive Columbus businesses. And that local-loving list just keeps on growing.

So to groundbreaking, taste-making pioneers like Jeni's Ice Cream and committed-to-homemade top establishments like DeepWood and Rigsby's Kitchen, you can add a brand-new bumper crop of locally concentrated startups like Knead, Middle West Spirits and several other possibly less-obvious go-localers.

I contacted a few eateries I knew to befarm-friendly and asked them to list some treasured Buckeye-State-raised ingredients and homegrown dishes. From the dabblers to the fully committed, their answers showed Columbus has a lot of fabulous, locally raised goodies making their way onto inspired localmenus.

Home grown