The farm-to-table movement has quickly evolved from an upscale fad to an increasingly attractive mainstream business opportunity with more and more farmers and restaurant operators enthusiastically embracing it every day. Bradenton Gulf Islands is no different. Throughout the area, you will find a variety of farm and shore fresh menu options that are sure to satisfy anyone’s need to eat like a local.
”It's being led by chefs, because they understand the benefits of freshness and the growing consumer demand for that," said John Matthews, founder and proprietor of four-year-old Bradenton-based Suncoast Food Alliance, which represents 17 farms in Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee and Sarasota counties. It sells fresh seasonal produce six days a week to 28 restaurants from Tampa to Venice.
Hands-on experience: Enjoy time at the Dakin Dairy Farm where you can feed a calf and try fresh milk, cheese and the best ice cream you’ll ever taste; or visit Mixon Fruit Farms, a working fruit grove to see where Florida oranges come from! Fresh. Local. Flavor.
Shore-To-Table, the sister of the Farm-To-Table movement, is flourishing in Cortez, Florida and Longboat Key, Florida at two historic restaurants, the Starfish Company Dockside Restaurant and the Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant. “Can’t get any fresher than this place,” CathyF252 said about Starfish Company Dockside on TripAdvisor. “The fish/shrimp boats pull right up to the dock where we eat.”
Step up to the window, order the freshest fish, shrimp or scallops then find a seat at an outdoor picnic table overlooking the mangrove islands, local keys, Bradenton Beach and the commercial fishing fleet. Your mouthwatering lunch or dinner comes from the boats you see, to the kitchen to your picnic table!
At Mar Vista, they are so passionate about their farm and shore fresh quality. The grouper sandwich is a must order! Originally built in 1912 as a fish camp, Mar Vista has been converted to a restaurant that you can visit by land or you can pull your boat up to their dock. The outdoor dining room overlooks picturesque Sarasota Bay… the perfect place to enjoy the freshest grouper grilled, blackened or fried.
Don’t forget to enjoy one of the specialty cocktails like Mar Vista Lemonade or the Longboat Key Rum Runner.
And remember, after the food, there is the view ...
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