Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, including member companies Parkhurst Dining Services and Cura Hospitality, purchased $23 million in food and beverages from local companies in 2011, a 13% increase over 2010 local purchases and a figure that represents more than 20% of its total procurement. According to Jeff Broadhurst, CEO and President of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, Eat’n Park restaurants accounted for more than $10 million in local spending while Parkhurst and Cura spent a combined $13 million.
“Our success is made possible by a commitment that Eat’n Park Hospitality Group made over 12 years ago to enhance the freshness of its food by creating an innovative local purchasing program it calls FarmSource, recognized in the industry as one of the top local purchasing programs."
“The notion of buying from the farmer down the street evolved when I attended a Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture conference where I was eager to learn more about supporting local agriculture and how to partner with local suppliers in the community we do business,” says Jamie Moore, director of sourcing and sustainability for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group.
Today, Moore helps to drive Eat’n Park Hospitality Group’s local sourcing by partnering with more than 200 farms and producers of food within a 125-mile radius of the organization’s service areas. He also sits on the PASA board of directors and has been instrumental to bridging the gap between chefs and farmers by establishing a curriculum at PASA’s annual Farming for the Future Conference where they learn and support each others business. Moore attributes the increase in local purchases to some key factors.
“The increase in awareness of how far food travels from harvest to table is certainly driving local sourcing," he says. "This decreases air pollution and the need for oil. The other is the education and training we provide to our workforce on the benefits of buying local, whether it’s through our work with PASA, Slow Food USA, tours of farms and local producers of food. We also encourage our suppliers to focus their purchasing efforts on procuring from local food producers.”