Lynchburg, VA - For the first year ever, there is a big push for restaurants to source products locally, including herbs, meats and vegetables. It's part of the 100 Mile Meal challenge.
The goal is to have restaurants source close to home, and Lynchburg's second ever restaurant week is helping promote that mission.
"I think there is something special about local and regionally grown foods because you know those hands have been working in the ground and watering the seed and growing it has put a lot of time and effort to make it what it is," said Leslie Hoglund with the Lynchburg Area Food Council.
It is that special touch that really makes a difference.
"It just tastes better," said Sean Meeks, Executive Chef at Isabella's Italian Restaurant.
And the difference is quality.
"As a chef, you just try to find the best food available and you try not to do as much to it," said Meeks.
Meeks says buying local helps the regional economy.
"Money goes right back into our farmers' pocket and comes right back all around so we like to try to support as much local as possible," he said.
Not to mention the food is fresher.
"It makes the most sense that you food shouldn't have to travel very far," said Johanna Calfee with Lynchburg Living.
The idea came from the Lynchburg Area Food Council. They wanted to connect restaurants with farmers.
"When you source things locally, you're not only supporting your own health, you're supporting the health of the farmer," said Hoglund.
So far, their efforts are paying off. Beginning this Saturday, look for the seal, which means the food item is part of the 100 Mile Meal. Lynchburg Area Food Council's Leslie Hoglund says the response has been terrific.
"Out of the 22, I believe there's 20 of them that have some feature of a 100 Mile Meal," said Hoglund.
"Pretty happy that 20 out of 22 restaurants are doing 100 Miles," said Meeks.
Isabella's sources food from a dozen different farms, everything from pancake mix to coffee. They say, in order to have the best food for customers, you just can't beat going local.