Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced it expects to use millions of pounds of produce grown at local farms in its restaurants this year.
The program isn't new. The chain began serving locally grown produce back in 2008.
However, it has increased the amount being served from five million pounds last year to ten million pounds this year.
The vegetables are all being grown at farms within 350 miles of the Chipotle locations where they will be served.
"Not only does local produce taste better, it obviously travels a much shorter distance," Chipotle Marketing Manager Nicole West told 9NEWS. "We're supporting our rural economies, we're reducing the amount of emissions required to move produce from farm to our restaurants, and we think it just tastes better."
Here in Colorado, the chain is currently getting lettuce from Petrroco Farms and Grant Family Farms. Locally grown jalapeno peppers from Petrroco farms will also begin making their way into metro area Chipotle locations next week, and red onion from both farms will be served at the restaurants later this summer.
Chipotle says they are making the effort to work with local growers because it makes the chain's food better and is greener than bringing in produce from out of state.
The farmers working with Chipotle agree the chain's decision to use local produce has a positive environmental impact.
"The produce that we're sourcing for Chipotle stretches over about 25 or 30 weeks out of the year. So, we're talking about literally hundreds-of-thousands of pounds of food that's being supplied locally. Were that food to be sourced from out of state, there would be a tremendous fuel consumption cost associated with that," Kate Petrroco of Petrroco Farms said. "Not only is the program with Chipotle allowing consumers to have the freshest possible produce, it's also making a tremendous positive impact in terms of reduction of fuel consumption and supporting the local economy directly."
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