Three Reasons Nicola's Marketplace Celebrates Local Food
At Nicola’s Marketplace, local food is more than just a catchy buzzword to draw you in.
When we talk about local food, we are talking about the backbone of our business. Nicola’s Marketplace wouldn’t exist without the incredible farmers of New Jersey and their produce.
Our authentic Italian identity, commitment to sustainability, and amazing flavors rely on locally sourced food and local farms.
Italian Tradition Means Celebrating What’s Around You
There are no farm to table restaurants in Italy because every restaurant in Italy is farm to table. They all source ingredients from the farms in their regions.
The philosophy of Italian food is to use what’s around you. That means that a restaurant in Northern Italy is not likely to serve fresh seafood from the southern coast. And a restaurant in Sicily is unlikely to have pumpkin from Mantova on the menu.
The emphasis on local food keeps regional food traditions alive and ensures that the food is as fresh and delicious as possible.
Chef Nicola learned to appreciate and respect the food around him from his Nonna. Though she didn’t source every ingredient hyper-locally, she still emphasized the importance of celebrating food that was raised in the same place it is eaten.
Then, during his time living in Italy, Chef Nicola embraced the tradition even further. When he returned to New Jersey, he knew that to make pasta and Italian food as authentically as possible, he had to buy as many local ingredients as possible.
Locally sourced food is a necessary component of bringing authentic Italian traditions and foods straight to your home.
Buying Food From Local Farms is More Sustainable
New Jersey is a great state in which to practice local sourcing. There are many independent farmers growing high quality fruits and vegetables.
In particular, we purchase the majority of our produce from Cherry Grove Organic Farm in Princeton and Race Farm in Blairstown. Cherry Grove Organic Farm is a twenty year old organic vegetable farm and Race Farm has been raising fruits and vegetables for over seventy years.
We go directly to the farmers to make our purchases instead of relying on a middleman.
When we work directly with the farmers we are decreasing the distance that the food has to travel and keeping money in our local economy. It’s environmentally and economically sustainable.
Food straight from local farms has a lower carbon footprint than food trucked across the country or even the state. We can guarantee that it was grown the way that we want, with minimal chemicals.
Often the produce that we purchase is what’s known as “seconds” - the fruits and vegetables that are the wrong shape or size or somehow blemished. We don’t care about appearances, just flavor, which means that we can take the produce that would be hard to sell otherwise.
When we purchase seconds, we are providing an extra income source to the farmers and helping them to keep their businesses sustainable and profitable.
Local sourcing is all about sustainability. We are helping to keep our land and our community strong.
Locally Sourced Food from Local Farms Tastes Better
Maintaining Italian tradition and supporting our local farms is important, but we wouldn’t buy local if the flavor wasn’t incredible.
Fruits and vegetables that have been allowed to ripen on the vine or in the ground, instead of being artificially ripened in a truck taste better. They are full of the natural flavors that make our fresh pasta and Italian food so delicious.
We purchase produce that’s as fresh as possible. Then, we preserve it so that the flavor stays just as vibrant as the day it was picked. This is what allows us to use local foods and have a full range of products all year round.
When you start with great ingredients from local farms, making delicious food is simple.
Local food is the backbone of what we do here at Nicola’s Marketplace. We wouldn’t be able to offer an authentic Italian experience without it. And, by purchasing from many of the wonderful New Jersey farms around us, we are able to make food that is more sustainable and far more delicious than if we sourced from far away.