Local Flavors Week comes to C&C Kitchen, Rantoul
Local Flavors Week, a new program of Illinois Stewardship Alliance, kicked off this June, giving residents of rural central Illinois communities a chance to purchase a farm-to-table meal from favorite hometown restaurants. Local Flavors Week is a spin-off of the popular Local Flavors series that has taken place in larger communities in central Illinois for the past eight years, including Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Peoria. This new series aims to reach more restaurants and smaller communities with the “buy local” message.
Local Flavors Week events will take place the third week each month, June - October and will rotate to a different restaurant in a different central Illinois community each month. Chefs from participating restaurants will create a “Local Flavors Special” featuring almost entirely seasonal produce and proteins sourced directly from central Illinois farmers and will offer this special for the entire week. Customers can stop by any participating restaurant on their scheduled week during their regular business hours to order the “Local Flavors Special.”
The second Local Flavors Week event will take place at C & C Kitchen in Rantoul between July 17th and 23rd. As their Local Flavors Special they will be offering:
Marinated pulled pork or brick and mortar chicken from Bane Family Meats in Sidney, Illinois, served with roasted root vegetables from the Rantoul High School FFA chapter and a balsamic reduction, all for $12.
The Local Flavors Week series is organized by Illinois Stewardship Alliance in conjunction with local partners including the Rantoul Farmers Market. The series is designed to provide small farmers with an opportunity to increase sales locally, give restaurants an opportunity to make connections with local farmers, and give central Illinois residents the opportunity to experience the true flavors of Illinois while also supporting local businesses and locally-grown products.
According the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Council, over the last 50 years the decline of rural towns and villages parallels the decline of the farmers’ share of the dollar that consumers spend on food from over 40 percent to less than 20 percent. Restaurants and residents that buy direct from local farmers in place of distributors or chain stores return 100 percent of the dollar back to local farmers and re-invest in their local economy.
“We really wanted to foster connections between local farmers and local restaurants in central Illinois, says Molly Gleason, Communications Director at Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “Larger communities like Springfield and Bloomington have already started to catch onto the local food trend, but it’s the smaller communities that stand to gain the most from buying locally. When a person goes to a restaurant and can see that the lettuce came from their neighbor down the way or the hamburger came from the farmer that they go to church with, it makes a real impact. They know that they’re purchasing a meal that directly puts money back in their community.”
Dates and Locations for Local Flavors Week events are as follows:
June 19 - 25th: Joe Sippers Cafe, Effingham
July 17th - 23rd: C & C Kitchen, Rantoul
August 14th - 205h: Bidwell’s Bistro, Mattoon
September 18th - 24th: Flesor’s Candy Kitchen, Tuscola
October 16th - 22nd: The Gin Mill, Decatur
“Sourcing locally brings us closer together as a community,” says Chef McGee about his decision to participate in this year’s Local Flavors Week series.
The Local Flavors Week series is a spin-off of the Local Flavors Series, now in its 9th season, which operates in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, and Peoria. The Local Flavors series consists of special one-day farm-to-table events that rotate to different restaurants within each city. Both series were created by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, a statewide non-profit organization that supports local food and sustainable farming through policy advocacy, conservation education, and local food programs. The full schedule of events in all cities can be viewed on the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois website: www.buyfreshbuylocalcentralillinois.org. Menus can be found on the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois website and facebook page, up to two weeks before each event, or in the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois newsletter. Interested parties can sign up for the newsletter on the website.