Watusi’s Secret Ingredient? Fresh and Locally Sourced
How much do you know about where your food comes from? You probably recognize some of the buzz-worthy terms being thrown around recently—”organic, fair-trade, GMO-free”. But do you know why it’s so important to eat local?
The unfortunate truth is most “fresh” produce, meat, and dairy products sold in supermarkets must undergo a surprising amount of processing in order to endure the long journey to your table.
At Watusi Cafe in Hilton Head, we understand that the most minimally processed ingredients make the most delicious dishes. It’s why we source as much as possible from our network of farmers in South and North Carolina.
But it’s not the only reason. Aside from taste, locally sourced foods also benefit our health and the environment in many other important ways.
Making our world a cleaner place
Conventional produce travels an average of 1,500 miles before hitting supermarket shelves. These long journeys across states and countries add up, contributing to an unsustainable consumption of fossil fuels and a high carbon footprint.
Long distance travel is unfortunately not the exception but the rule in the food industry, and the distance between where a food is produced and where it is consumed continues to grow. CO2 is the leading global warming gas, and shipping currently accounts for nearly 17% of all emissions. By choosing to eat food grown locally, you are doing your part in reducing the consumption of these natural resources and contributing to a cleaner world.
Avoiding Harmful Chemicals, Hormones, and Preservatives
Outside of pesticides, many people are unaware to what extent chemicals come into contact with their food before it gets to them. Have you ever wondered, for example, how an apple is picked from the tree, packaged, and shipped from a distant country or state without rotting or going bad?
In order to meet shipping demands, a simple apple must undergo a barrage of chemical treatments in order to preserve its cosmetic appeal to consumers.
The fruit’s journey begins by being harvested before it ever has a chance to ripen. Over the course of the next few months (up to 12 in some cases) it is subjected to a cocktail of preservatives used to prevent ripening, growth hormones to promote ripening, artificial colorings, insecticides, and chemicals to ward off rot.
The farther your food has to travel, the less fresh it will be. The use of artificial ripening and chemicals may allow food to appear fresh, when in reality it is anything but.
Contributing to the Local Economy
Another important benefit to eating locally grown or raised food is the contribution you are making to the local economy.
Supporting farmers who don’t export goods for large-scale profit helps keeps money in the community. It allows smaller food producers to earn a living and continue providing us with healthy, natural alternatives.
Buying local not only safeguards our access to healthier, better-tasting food—it ensures every dollar spent goes to families, neighbors, and members of your community instead of lining the pockets of multi-billion dollar corporations.
Certified SC Grown
At Watusi, we care about our community and about the quality of ingredients we put into every dish. That’s why we’re committed to sourcing certified SC grown whenever possible. Many of the fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy products you get a taste of here support nearby farms like the Big Bear Produce Company in South Carolina.
"Our menu was designed around this mission, and each dish highlights the distinct flavors of what’s in season."
Think juicy, off-the-vine tomatoes, tender spinach, and rich, flavorful fruits and berries bursting with flavor—organic, hormone-free chicken from Springer Mountain and all natural cage-free eggs brought in from North Carolina farms. (For the ultimate fresh experience we recommend giving the Farmers Market Sandwich a try— featuring locally sourced ingredients like grilled eggplant, ripe tomatoes, marinated portabella mushrooms, fresh spinach, avocado, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil served up on warm Cuban bread).
Any way you slice it, eating local is definitely worthwhile. With restaurants like Watusi, you can feel good about where your food comes from, while enjoying the freshest, most delicious offerings the region has to offer.