Some of you may have fond memories of sitting around Grandma's big farmhouse table eating a delicious meal that was made with farm-fresh ingredients – chicken or beef raised on the farm, green beans and potatoes grown in the garden and apple pie made with fruit from the orchard. Okay, the majority of you probably don't have those fond memories, but that doesn't mean you can't start having memorable farm-fresh meals now!

The South Shore is filled with an abundance of farm-to-table dining options, which include not only fantastic restaurants, but also farms where, in addition to being able to purchase incredibly fresh ingredients to make your own culinary creations, you can learn about the farming processes and practices that go into raising your food.

The South Shore CVA recently wrote an article for the newest issue of Food & Travel magazine, which comes out on newsstands Tuesday, Feb. 17, highlighting three of our favorite farm-to-fork venues: 54 Main Bistro in Hobart, The Farmhouse Restaurant at Fair Oaks Farms in Newton County and Chesterton's Third Coast Spice Café. Pick up a copy at your local bookstore or grocery store and read all about these amazing restaurants!

In addition to those wonderful restaurants, the South Shore also features these fine farm-to-fork eateries:

  • Sage Restaurant in Valparaiso (formerly in Chesterton) features the freshest local ingredients in their fusion of American and Italian cuisine.

  • Fair Oaks Farms Café is the perfect spot for a farm-fresh breakfast or lunch featuring Fair Oaks Farms' award-winning cheeses. Don't forget to get some of their creamy, delicious ice cream or handmade chocolates while you're there!

  • Lemon Tree Mediterranean Grill in Chesterton is the sister restaurant to Third Coast Spice Café and also features farm-fresh ingredients that are locally grown whenever possible.
  • Octave Grill in Chesterton features burgers of the month made with tallgrass beef, homemade desserts and craft beers from local breweries.

  • Spire Farm-to-Fork Cuisine in LaPorte changes their menu regularly to include the freshest local food available, working with numerous local farmers to bring the best sustainable ingredients to their customers.

  • Valley Kitchen & Bar in Valparaiso prides itself on fresh local food, which promotes a healthy, prosperous community. Their seasonal menus focus on simple and sustainable ingredients.

If you like knowing exactly where your food comes from, visit one of these great attractions, take a tour to learn what it takes to raise farm-fresh products and bring home some deliciousness to prepare in your own kitchen. Check out:

  • Broken Wagon Bison Ranch in Hobart, where you can be "surrounded" by bison in the summer and take home heart-healthy bison meat any time of year.

  • JT Shrimp LLC in Wheatfield, where you can take a tour, see live shrimp and learn about the aquaculture process, and bring home sweet, succulent shrimp that have been raised without hormones, antibiotics or chemicals.

  • Fair Oaks Farms, which will enthrall you with numerous fun and educational activities, such as The Pig Adventure, The Dairy Adventure, the Birthing Barn, the Cheese Factory, Green Gate Garden and the soon-to-be-opening Pork Education Center. Take home farm-fresh goodness from The Market and Fair Oaks Farms Café, or stop by The Farmhouse Restaurant for a delicious meal.

  • County Line Orchard, which features amazing u-pick apple orchards in the fall, corn mazes, the Kids' Farm, campfires and a bakery. It's sure to please the apple lover in anyone!

In addition to these great attractions, there are an abundance of farm-to-fork events, as well as seasonal farmers markets and u-pick farms and orchards. For a complete inventory of all things farm-to-fork, check out our farm-to-fork listings.

Contributing Editor: Amy Van Soest
Former communications coordinator with the South Shore CVA.