Chipotle announced Wednesday that it plans to double its use of local produce -- from five million pounds to 10 million pounds -- this year. That's great news for fast food consumers concerned about eating sustainably.
Of course, you've got to wonder about the timing of the announcement, which comes as the burrito chain has been making headlines for its immigration troubles. And that's not to say the company has a perfect track record -- far from it. But you know what? Who cares if it's a distraction! The fact that Chipotle, one of the only national chains to source local produce, is using even more is cause for applause and celebration!
Of course, we should clarify what Chipotle means by "local produce" -- it's produce grown within 350 miles of the restaurant where it is served. That may seem like a large radius to some (typically "local" is defined as 100 miles). But before you get huffy, consider this: sourcing locally for a national chain is difficult and lots of Chipotle's restaurants are located in areas with short growing seasons.
Suddenly 350 miles doesn't seem so awful, does it?
To compensate for the short growing seasons in some areas, Chipotle sources by region. This means that locations in states like California and Florida, which have year-round growing seasons, will source produce like lemons, cilantro, avocados, and tomatoes.
But other areas -- for example, New York -- won't necessarily get produce during the winter months. That doesn't mean you still can't feel good about eating Chipotle, though: Just make sure to order the carnitas made with free-range pork!
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