Provo joins farm-to-table trend

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Josh Ellis
Tables set and ready for guests at Block Restaurant in Provo. Block is a farm-to-table restaurant committed to its ingredients and community. (Josh Ellis)

One of the culinary world’s latest trends is known as the farm-to-table movement. Now, two local restaurants have brought the trend for fresh and locally sourced food to Provo.

According to a Vanity Fair article, the farm-to-table movement began with chef Alice Waters at Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkley, California.

“Waters wanted to re-establish the link between the seasons of the year and the food she served, and she wanted to credit everyone who produced every part of the meal,” the magazine says.

This is the essence of the movement: reconnecting people with their food and where it comes from.

Josh Ellis
Block Restaurant in Provo is a farm-to-table restaurant. (Josh Ellis)

But the farm-to-table trend goes far beyond a simple connection. According to a San Diego Union-Tribune article, locally-sourced foods are fresher and thereby more nutritious. Also, because consumers can only eat what’s in season, eating locally-sourced foods forces them to eat a wider variety of foods and have a more well-rounded diet.

According to a 2016 CDC report, 25.4 percent of Utah adults were obese, while a 2012 CDC report showed that only 24.4 percent of adults reported eating the recommended daily serving of vegetables.

With the rise of the farm-to-table trend, the dining world has begun to change the average person’s relationship with food.

This infographic shares some of the great reasons to choose a farm-to-table diet. Benefits of eating farm-to-table include a more well-rounded diet and an improved local economy. (Riley Waldman)

Block Restaurant co-owner Erika Orndorff said she loves feeding people. Reconnecting people with their food was one of the main reasons she decided to open Block.

“We’re just trying to bring beautiful food and a good, accepting atmosphere to Provo,” Orndorff said. “We’re a place where you can have a really good meal and a really good conversation and just connect.”

Block Restaurant opened Dec. 1, 2017, and has enjoyed a steady flow of customers since then. But Orndorff said she hopes to achieve a level of success where she can begin to give back to the community in even bigger ways. 

Orndorff said she wants to host charitable events such as hosting “a free Thanksgiving dinner for families who would otherwise not be able to have a Thanksgiving.”

Orndorff said her restaurant is more than just a place to eat until you’re all full — it’s a place to connect with people you love.

“Block is your neighborhood, your community — it’s your block. We try to keep things in this community. So it’s all fresh, and it’s made by people who are living their passion,” Orndorff said. 

A five minute drive south of Block Restaurant is Communal, another popular farm-to-table restaurant in Provo.

Communal also believes in providing the freshest food possible. On their restaurant website, Communal describes the importance of community and local contributions when it comes to a dining experience.

We recognize we come from our local community and thus are ultimately responsible to our friends, families, neighbors and associates,” the website reads. “Ours is not the job to fiddle with the bounty that our farmers and producers bring to us but rather to allow its inherent beauty to shine through.”

BYU student Destinee Arroyo recently ate at Communal for the first time and said she loved her experience.

“Literally, everything I ate tasted so fresh and so good like it was all the best homemade food you’ve ever eaten,” Arroyo said. “And I’m pretty sure even the bread and butter were made in the restaurant. But you can tell they really care about the food and how it tastes.”

Arroyo said she had a great experience at Communal even beyond her food, and she’s excited to go back.

Both Communal and Block are restaurants committed to providing fresh, sustainable and delicious meals to bring the Provo community together.

Below is a map of some of the great farm-to-table restaurants in Utah, including Block and Communal.

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