A new program aimed at getting Mississippi produce straight from the farm to restaurant tables has kicked off in the state.

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New Effort Aims to Get Produce From Mississippi Farms to Restaurant Tables

By Daniel Cherry | Published 25 Jan 2012 06:44pm | comments

Restaurant goers could soon notice more Mississippi flavor when they dine out. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on a new statewide effort to get fresh local produce, straight from the farm to the table.

At Nick's restaurant in Jackson, chef's are prepping for the dinner rush. Soon much of the produce used in the restaurant could come straight from local farms. That's something owner Nick Apostle thinks may bring a fresh appeal to his menu.

"Vine ripened products are just going to taste better than products that have been pulled early, stored, and then have been going through processes to induce ripening. There's a flavor profile that can't be replaced doing that."

The Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association is asking restaurants to get on board with their Eat Healthy Mississippi campaign. It's a way to get farm fresh, Mississippi grown produce, served in restaurants. The idea is: it's healthier, it would support Mississippi farmers, and most times, local produce just tastes better. Mike Cashion is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Restaurant Association.

"We know that's a growing trend in the country. The farm to table...consume local. So it's a perfect time to capitalize on that state and national trend."

The added benefit is, money spent on the food will stay in Mississippi rather than support growers elsewhere. Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith says with the state's obesity epidemic, it makes sense to tap into Mississippi's farm fresh resources.

"That's what we should have been doing probably for a long time. People just didn't take the time to say, 'Ok. We can give advice all day long that you need to eat healthy.' Let's provide a way for them to do it, and a way that's easy and accessible to the consumer that's looking for it."

Mississippi is the first state to implement a statewide restaurant nutrition program.

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