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Farm-to-Chef Week Starts Sunday

More than 65 eateries and farmers' markets are participating.

It doesn't get fresher than this unless you were picking the crops yourself.

Starting this Sunday, the 2012 Farm-to-Chef Week kicks into gear by offering locally-grown and produced foods at more than 65 locations in the state. An initiative of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Farm-to-Chef Week attracts a variety of restaurants, hotels, school cafeterias, university dining halls, and health care facilities that create a special farm-themed menu featuring one or more Connecticut Grown ingredients.

In a press release issued Friday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy encouraged Connecticut residents to visit participating locations.

“As well as providing nutritious, fresh food for residents, locally-grown and produced foods contribute $3.5 billion to the state economy and represent about 20,000 Connecticut jobs,” Malloy said. “Our state’s farmers produce an astoundingly wide variety of foods, and Farm-to-Chef Week is a great opportunity for people to get out there and really enjoy everything Connecticut has to offer.”

Participating locations (which you can find by clicking on that link) often create new and unusual dishes using local foods, and they all set their own prices for their Farm-to-Chef menus. Businesses that serve alcohol will also offer one or more Connecticut grown wines.

“We encourage participants to go above and beyond for Farm-to-Chef Week,” explained Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky. “Some are new to buying and using ingredients from local farms, so they might start more conservatively. Others are accustomed to working with local farm products on a daily basis. In that case, we ask them to stretch creatively, incorporating Connecticut Grown proteins, dairy, maple, honey, and more unusual produce items.”

Farm-to-Chef Week kicks off this Sunday and runs through Sept. 22. More information about Farm-to-Chef Week is available on the Department of Agriculture’s website.

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