I have immense respect for the people who make up the Atlanta food scene. Not only are they talented and passionate about what they do with the food and drinks they serve, but they are also committed to supporting the local economy. These days, it’s more common than not to see local meats and produce make their way onto menus and supermarket shelves. It’s also easier than ever to support local farmers and businesses through services like Garnish and Gather. The community pride that our city is overwhelming and something to be proud of.
Chef Hugh Acheson reminded me of how great this city is at a recent brunch at Empire State South. In his past 20 years in the South, he has cultivated a nationwide following, created an adoring fan base by his food and supported local businesses through his restaurants. Despite all of this, he has committed to creating places where people can continue to come back frequently, not just once a year for a special occasion.
And much like many other chefs in Atlanta, he is driven to finding and using food from local farms. He also noted an important point we easily forget: we are blessed to have many farms in Georgia growing lots of good food. From Vidalia onions and berries to peaches and pork, we have an array of ways to support local farmers and help them put food on their tables by putting food on our tables. He also mentioned the idea of “reducing the number of hands that come between you and your food” a notion I think everyone should abide by.
As we dined on a curated menu of breakfast and brunch items from Empire State South and listened to Hugh, I began reflecting on my thoughts on community. I couldn’t help but to think of all of the farmers we’re supporting by the food at brunch or the families of the waiters and bartenders who made the event happen.
In the same respect, YP (formerly known as Yellow Pages) is focusing more on connecting the community and introducing people to local businesses and restaurants that they may not have supported before. But is this something I do often? Though I’ve visited several farmers’ markets in the city, the last time I’ve shopped at one was more than a year ago. I dine at farm-to-table restaurants, but sometimes I settle for fast-food options. Even though I know of some amazing coffee shops steps away from my office building, I still resort to Starbucks sometimes. Hey, it happens to the best of us.
What’s an important next step? How can we build up our community through food? We could all do a better job with frequenting local farmer’s markets, visiting neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops and purchasing goods that will greatly impact the food cycle for the better, rather than the worse. We have an obligation to help support our neighbors and continue to build upon this amazing food scene in Atlanta. Because like it or not, we all play a significant part in uplifting the city and making this the best place to dine in the U.S.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a fun giveaway with you all! I have an autographed copy of Hugh Acheson’s new cookbook, The Broad Fork, where he “helps you discover food again and try new things.” This book is chock full of recipes that will give you all the inspiration on your next farmer’s market visit. Interested in winning the book? Follow the giveaway instructions below!
How do you support your local community?
Disclosure: Thanks YP for inviting me to your blogger brunch at Empire State South!