FarmSource

To enhance the freshness of our food offerings without compromising our commitment to quality, Parkhurst maintains an innovative local purchasing program we call FarmSource™. It is an initiative to find and partner with some of the finest local growers, family-owned farms and producers of food in our communities.

The notion of buying from the farmer “down the street” was pioneered in 2002 during a conference that the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) sponsored. At the conference, Parkhurst representatives reached out to farmers by distributing information about our desire to support local agriculture. The interest from the farming community was overwhelming. Members of the Parkhurst purchasing team got to work by studying, analyzing and getting to know farmers and what each one does. Parkhurst later became a member of PASA and continues to be active in promoting profitable farms that produce healthy food while respecting the natural environment.

Through FarmSource, we have created the infrastructure to get local products into the hands of our suppliers and onto the plates of our guests. This program greatly reduces the distance food travels from harvest to table. We also encourage our suppliers to focus their purchasing efforts on procuring from local food producers.

Today, we work with more than 250 local farmers and producers, all within a 150-mile radius of our locations. We are proud to source more than 20% of our food locally, which represents $23.6 million in local purchases.

Our Farm Partnerships and Alliances:

Farm Alliances
Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, Pittsburgh, PA

Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance in Pittsburgh, PA, helps to support more than 30 member farms.  Our local partnership with Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance supports fresh fruit, vegetables and other farm-fresh food grown in Southwestern Pennsylvania, all while we receive fresh and local products that Parkhurst chefs prepare at our dining venues in Pittsburgh and surrounding regions.  

Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, Lancaster County, PA

Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative is a non-profit, organic farmers cooperative of 75 farms in Lancaster County, PA.  We support their organic farmers who create healthy, high-quality foods from highly maintained and enriched soils on small scale farms.

Common Market, Philadelphia, PA

Common Market of Philadelphia, whose mission is to strengthen regional farms while making the local bounty accessible to the community and the institutions that serve them. We help to support local farmers and to make local food affordable and accessible on the wholesale level.

College Farms
Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, WV

A community garden on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) is proving to be educational and bountiful - with its fruits and vegetables feeding students and university staff!   The campus garden took off because of the interest of Parkhurst's General Manager Courtney Blood and Executive Chef Jackie Crider Harris. A plan was put into place to buy materials, build the garden, begin harvesting organic produce and use the garden for educational activities for the university and beyond.  Parkhurst currently purchases 800 pounds of produce as it ripens and is promoting any of the vegetables grown in the garden with “HomeGrown” signage on its menu.

Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA

Produce is grown on four acres of land owned and farmed by Mercyhurst University.  This small parcel produces 60% of Parkhurst’s produce during the summer and fall months.  Students enjoy fresh broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, yellow onions, squash, zucchini, green beans, egg plant, yellow peppers, red potatoes and all kinds of herbs.  Most of our fall produce is picked from the farm and delivered fresh to our tables in less than 12 hours! 

Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, PA

Delaware Valley College (DelVal) offers 60 acres of land used by students studying horticulture.   What’s beneficial is that Parkhurst can purchase produce from student gardens including apples, peaches, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, and sweet corn from the farm, while they enjoy the fruits of their labor in our cafés!

Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA

A greenhouse is as good as a grocery store for Parkhurst chefs at Saint Francis University.  Chefs have been growing lettuce, parsley, thyme, sweet basil, stevia, cilantro, rosemary and cosmos, which are edible flowers, in the campus greenhouse.  The Parkhurt dining team takes pride in the sustainability movement by composting, growing their own and recycling, partnering with Saint Francis to promote a farm-to-table experience. In addition to reconstructing planting beds, professional grade soil-less mix was purchased from a local purveyor and an irrigation system was installed.  

Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Parkhurst chefs purchase shares of honey as part of a community-supported agriculture (CSA) relationship at Chatham University.  The honey is harvested from apiaries installed at Chatham’s sustainable 388-acre Eden Hall Campus in Richland Township, about 18 miles north of the University’s 39-acre Shadyside Campus.  Parkhurst chefs use CSA shares of honey to prepare baked goods like baklava, use as a marinade for grilling chicken and even incorporate with a fresh variety of herbs like basil, chives and oregano grown in the campus greenhouse, to make a honey Dijon vinaigrette. 

Allegheny College, Meadville, PA

At Allegheny College more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff attend the “DeHart” Local Foods Dinner, a sustainable event showcasing locally grown foods and providing members of the campus community with an opportunity to celebrate the farmers and growers in our region on the Allegheny College Brooks/Bentley lawns. A bountiful of farm-fresh produce, herbs and proteins will be prepared by Parkhurst executive chefs.  Our goal is to celebrate and carry on the sustainable vision of the late Professor Jennifer DeHart.

Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, PA

Chef Malcolm O. Whitaker at the Curtis Institute of Music in downtown Philadelphia uses fresh eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, and variety of herbs planted on the rooftop terrace in center-city Philadelphia.  The rooftop terrace seats 40, where students, faculty and guests use the space as a lounge and enjoy a meal prepared with fresh vegetables which are harvested up to three times per week.

Capital University, Columbus, OH

At Capital University, Shane Green, general manager, tends to five large 3 x 3 pots, where he plants a variety of herbs which are harvested in the fall semester to add fresh flavor to meals, and used to garnish meals for catered events.  The dining team is currently working with the school’s sustainability council to create a section in the on-campus greenhouse for edible growing.  

Rooftop Farms And Corporate Gardens
Google, Pittsburgh, PA

Viewed as employee perk, Googlers are treated to fresh herbs and produce grown on the terrace garden, not far from where a hive of 40,000 bees are working hard on June's honey harvest.  The rooftop gardens are fertilized with compost made from uneaten food that Googlers toss in designated receptacles.  Cooking with fresh herbs not only enhances flavor and enlivens the palate, it can also compensate for salt reductions without compromising taste!  

Reed Smith, Pittsburgh, PA

This isn’t your typical garden.  It’s the Lion’s Den Rooftop Terrace of Reed Smith, a Pittsburgh global relationship law firm, where Parkhurst grows four different kinds of tomatoes including beefsteak, speckled Roma, tigerella, and banana legs. Fresh tomatoes are a “pick” away for our chef, who uses the popular garden plant in everything from fresh mozzarella (that he makes from fresh mozzarella curds) and heirloom tomato salads, as a white pizza topping, to a healthy condiment in the deli and grill for the 200 guests he serves lunch to daily.

Bayer Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA

At Freddies' Café located on the Bayer Corporation campus in Pittsburgh, you might notice that the planters to the right of the building look a little different. Upon closer inspection you will notice that these saucers don't contain ornamental plants, but rather a variety of freshly-planted herbs including basil, rosemary, tarragon, chives, parsley and cilantro. Bayer’s herb garden is collaboration between the Parkhurst dining team, the Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) Sustainability Community Council and site maintenance. 

Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh, PA

Even professional athletic organizations like the Pittsburgh Steelers get a dose of “urban” gardening from Parkhurst Chef Kevin Blinn, who grows sage, basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, oregano, thyme, and purple basil.  “Everything that I grow is used in the preparation of fresh food for the players,” says Chef Blinn.