Photo: Erin Alexander Photography
If delicious food is near the top of your priority list for your wedding, you have probably chosen a fantastic caterer, who is probably already using many seasonal, local, fair trade and/or organic ingredients, for several reasons. First of all, these ingredients taste better. Free range chicken tastes better than factory chicken. Locally grown berries taste better than those flown in from thousands of miles away. Wild shrimp has less of a fishy smell and a better texture than farmed shrimp. And for a good chef, that’s great motivation on its own. Besides that, chefs have often built relationships with local farmers and make it a priority to support the local economy.
Your caterer will be able to give you a great idea of what they can get that is certified fair trade, organic, sustainable, local, and in-season. Here’s a few tips for the following foods:
Meat. Request meat that is grown in your area, free range and organic.
Fish. David Suzuki has a list of the best sustainable fish, and what to look for and what to avoid.
Fruit. Bananas, avocados, oranges, grapes, mango and grapefruit can be purchased fair trade. I’ve seen bananas, but never anything else fresh, so for your wedding you could request to stick with locally grown berries and fruits (seasonally, of course).
Vegetables. Guidelines for veggies are similar to fruit – ask for locally grown, in season, organic vegetables.
Coffee. Coffee is one of the easiest things to buy fair trade, and your caterer will likely be willing to make the switch for you if they don’t use fair trade coffee normally. You may have to pay a bit extra but it is well worth it.
Tea. Same goes for tea. This is an easy thing to offer to purchase yourself and drop off for the caterer to use.
And finally, my top 3 tips for talking to your caterer:
1. Be respectful of their professional opinion. They’ve been at this a lot longer than you have and understand the background information that consumers don’t know about.
2. Do a bit of research ahead of time. It can be frustrating to be on the receiving line of suggestions, no matter how well-meaning.
3. Just ask. Even if there are no options for what you are looking for, your caterer will know that you are interested.