Providing Fresh Produce with Innovative Partnerships
Dream Dinners produce is supplied by Sysco, the largest foodservice distributor in North America. Sysco endeavors to use region-specific local growers for their produce whenever possible. What does that mean for you as a Dream Dinners guest? The produce that the Dream Dinners in Framingham, Massachusetts uses may not be the same produce the Dream Dinners in Carlsbad, California uses. It’s the same high quality, but it often is grown in the region where it is sold.
Produce is at its peak nutritional value when it is fully ripe. But fruits and vegetables that will be packed to travel long distances to the market point aren’t picked when they are ripe, but instead before ripeness. While the produce may gain color and softness on its journey to the wholesaler, nutritional value comes directly through the stem from the living plant. Once harvested, a vegetable is as nutritious as it is going to get. Furthermore, nutritional value actually decreases every day past the point of harvest. So, when the item comes off the tree or vine, it has a set amount of nutritional value, and the clock starts ticking as it loses a little bit each day. Buying local produce you’ll find that it’s fresher, crisper and more flavorful.
Fewer than one million Americans now claim farming as their primary occupation (less than 1%). Farming is a vanishing lifestyle. And no wonder: the farmer today gets less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar. Local farmers who sell directly to consumers cut out the many middlemen and get full retail price for their food — which means farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.
An innovative partnership between the Produce Marketing Association and Sysco is providing much-needed produce food safety training to small growers across America to help them increase their produce sales. Local growers can receive training via a series of workshops held around the country. The workshops are designed to help growers understand current food safety demands, how to meet them and how to navigate food safety requirements.
As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops that prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture emissions and help combat global warming. In addition, the patchwork of fields, hedgerows, ponds and buildings is the perfect environment for many beloved species of wildlife. That landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.
Sysco also has a code of conduct with suppliers which requires that all facilities where goods are produced for Sysco must provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. When housing is provided, it should also be clean and safe.
Sysco has a commitment to the communities in which it operates and a responsibility for the environment it impacts, and they seek to work with suppliers that share this commitment.
Dream Dinners is proud to be serving you local produce when and where available!