Sourcing Local Tomatoes to Minimize Food Loss
Team: John Evans, Randi Meyer, and Audrey Sherk / Spring 2018
In most locations, the availability of a fresh local vegetable or fruit is limited to a few weeks. Yet the demand for local lasts all year. Couple this with the fact that within those few weeks there can be an oversupply of product, which often goes to waste. This team worked with the Ashley Christensen Restaurants’ commissary kitchen in Raleigh, NC, to examine the economics of sourcing all the tomatoes for cooked products needed by the restaurants from 100% North Carolina sources.
The team created a cost model to examine the effectiveness of purchasing, preparing, and storing the tomatoes for use during the year. Purchasing 100% seasonal North Carolina tomatoes in season reduces the restaurants’ cost by nearly one-half, will likely reduce on-farm food loss, and keeps their purchasing local.