Restaurant owner in Charlotte creates dishes with locally grown ingredients at their peak.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Andres Kaifer said one of the reasons he moved to Charlotte from Miami, Florida, is due to the accessibility to North Carolina’s agriculture.
Kaifer said he sources about 60% of his restaurant’s produce from farms within a 30-mile radius. He said he receives the rest from local purveyors.
“With produce grown that close, obviously it comes out of the soil and comes to the restaurant much faster so it’s just more fresh,” Kaifer, the owner and executive chef of Customshop said. “All that makes my life easier as a chef. I don’t have to do a lot to the stuff because it’s already that good. So, I would hope people would be able to taste that.”
With a farm-to-table or farm-to-fork concept, Kaifer explained what happens in the kitchen depends on what’s happening with partners like Seven Sisters Farms in the central part of the state.
“I have to plan a couple of weeks ahead,” Kaifer said. That can be a challenge for farmers sometimes because they deal with things like today, the weather.”
Kaifer added another reason to support local farmers is to help the local economy.
The chef said it’s hard to describe the difference between store-bought and farm-fresh food, only that there is one.
“North Carolina tomatoes are fantastic,” said Kaifer. “Eating a tomato that was grown locally in North Carolina versus an heirloom tomato that was shipped from California across the country, you’re going to be able to taste the difference.”