Peppers

Not shy about a commitment to sustainability, Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced that for the second year in a row, the chain will serve more than 10 million pounds of locally sourced fruits and vegetables at its more than 1,300 U.S. locations.

The produce sourced for Chipotle restaurant locations is grown on farms within 350 miles of the restaurants where they will be served. The only national restaurant company with a significant commitment to locally grown produce says that it works directly with regional family-owned farms to source ingredients including bell peppers and jalapenos, onions, fresh herbs and lettuce. Restaurants located in California and Florida also source local tomatoes, avocados and lemons. The chain also serves organically grown beans and cilantro, working with Food Alliance certified growers to source beans from farmers that use conservation tillage methods to reduce soil erosion.

Chipotle already sources 100 percent of its meat from animals that are naturally raised without antibiotics or added hormones. The company recently announced a major overhaul to its dairy offerings, sourcing pasture-raised dairy for 100 percent of its sour cream and 65 percent of the chain’s cheese.

In a statement, Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle said, “Food that is locally grown is fresher and better tasting, and supports local farm communities around the country. Making local food accessible is an important part of our commitment to providing better food, from more sustainable sources. It is a key element in our effort to change the way people think about and eat fast food.”

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: Dennis AB