A fresh idea for bringing local produce to Cleveland restaurants

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Last August, five future entrepreneurs from Case Western were tossing around ideas on how to become rich. One happened to strike up a conversation with the owner of Crop Bistro, a restaurant on on West 6th. They got to talking about how hard it is for Cleveland eateries to buy local produce. Freshforkmarket.com was born. The five students contacted area farmers and restaurants about participating in a program that would bring fresh produce to the doorsteps of kitchens. The group set up a website whereby farmers could upload pictures and detailed reports of their freshest crops. Restaurateurs could then peruse the inventory and order online. A messenger would deliver the vegetables within 24 hours... The problem with most produce, says student Bob Gavlak, is that “it comes from California and Mexico,” where food is “grown to be shipped 1,500 miles” and the fruit is “stripped off the vine when it’s not yet ripe.” Local produce, however, comes “straight from the farm to the plate. It doesn’t sit around and the emphasis is on the flavor.” Restaurants like The Flying Fig have already expressed interest in the program. The students expect it to be up and running by mid-spring. – Rebecca Meiser

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