Braise Restaurant Supported Agriculture

I.Q. [Innovation Quotient] Award winners

David Swanson
David Swanson

Braise Restaurant Supported Agriculture

Sustainable farm-to-table program

When David Swanson launched his Milwaukee restaurant, Braise, in 2006, he did so with a motive to return to slow natural foods and bring awareness to where food comes from.

Swanson knew there was a disconnect between the chefs in the community who wanted fresh ingredients and the local farmers supplying them.

He set out to change that.

In 2008, Swanson formed the Braise Restaurant Supported Agriculture program.

The RSA uses a custom online ordering program with weekly delivery and flexible options for restaurants and consumers. It addresses the obstacles that have prohibited restaurants from using local products in the past, primarily time and cost.

Braise RSA is free for farmers, and member restaurants pay a nominal fee to have access to locally-sourced produce.

Braise purchases products directly from farmers and producers and then resells them to members of Braise RSA and Braise on the Go, the consumer retail side of the business.

Farmers are able to use a centrally-located food hub to drop off all their produce. The RSA has three dedicated employees and two trucks it uses to pick up, package and deliver the products to area restaurants and consumers.

Braise is working on developing several more food hubs, and plans to have those operational by summer.

Braise RSA has relationships with more than 400 farms in Wisconsin, using 120 to 140 on a continual basis to provide a wide variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats, cheeses and dried goods.

Producers are able to set the prices, and chefs will purchase the food at a markup to support Braise RSA’s facilitation of the sale.

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