If you're in the food-service industry, freshness is always top of mind. Fresh food not only is more pleasing to the palate but to the eye as well. Yet the thousand or more miles that fruits and vegetables must travel to reach U.S. eateries—an average commute of seven to 10 days—oftentimes jeopardizes the good-looking, great-tasting food U.S. eateries depend on to attract customers.
And rotten produce ultimately leads to lost revenue.
"Throwing anything away is just money in the garbage. Waste is a huge issue for restaurants," said Matthew Hyland, chef-owner of Emily, a gourmet eatery in Brooklyn that serves wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, along with rustic small plates and pasta. "Everything comes out of our pizza oven with basil on it, so it has to be as fresh as possible," he said.
When Emily opened in 2014, Hyland was ordering his basil long-distance—and throwing 30 percent of it away. "Our basil was coming from all over the world, and it was going bad very quickly, he said. "So we'd be ordering basil almost every other day just to keep up a fresh supply in-house."