YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Friends Specialty at the Garden Café prides itself in serving locally-sourced food and coffee to customers at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park.
Once a week, local farmers deliver freshly-grown produce to the café.
“You’re supporting your local farms, which keeps it beautiful around your city. You’re supporting your local people and you have a better product,” Mitch Lynch said. “Normally, there’s not as many pesticides and in fact, most of the [farmers] we are using are organic or organic certified.”
Jodi Yencik of Iron Roots Farms says with a better product, comes better flavor.
“We harvest our stuff first thing in the morning and Mitch gets it that afternoon, so the taste, you can’t compare it to anything in the grocery store.”
All the produce sold at the café, from lettuce to mushrooms, is grown in the Valley.
Currently, the café teams up with about ten local farmers, including Iron Roots, White House Fruit Farm and Zaney Pearl.
“Our list grows as the produce grows so on our menu…we have a list of the farmers,” Lynch said.
The menu is always changing depending on the produce that’s in season. Lynch says the biggest ingredient this time of year is strawberries.
“As the berries are coming into season, what you try to do is pair them with something they really do well with.”
Using locally-grown produce is not just supporting farmers, it also keeps money in the area.
“The value of your dollar when you come into a local business just goes so much farther,” Yencik said.
Lynch says the café is also focused on employing locally. Right now, it employs about 15 people.
Friends Specialty at the Garden Café is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.