When the basil in that pasta or salad hits differently, it’s fun to find out why.
Leading restaurants are proud these days to show off their herb gardens, or signify on menus how produce comes from local farms within a certain radius. Many restaurants actually insist on growing their own vegetables, to ensure quality.
It all gives great food a uniquely individual joy, knowing that the tastes can’t identically be recreated elsewhere. Kinda like the concept of travel, right? Just ask any winemaker how different a vine from one side of the road can be from one on the other.
And by now, you’re probably wondering where airports, or British Airways tie into this. In a really cool move, British Airways is starting to grow its own ingredients for lounge food in lounges and airports themselves, using revolutionary new sustainable growing techniques.
British Airways Launching Airport Farms?
I recently watched Stanley Tucci’s incredible television series “Searching For Italy”, which chronicles his quest for absolute knowledge on Italian food and its historical origins through war, famine, volcanic eruptions and more.
One thing I found highly amusing, was that the “true” San Marzano tomatoes which are famous around the world for their place on Margherita pizzas, are grown under an overpass next to a busy highway.
The setting for these world famous tomatoes is less rolling hills, more screeching tires.
That’s kind of why I think British Airways lounge farming concept is so cool.
It’s taking a place — the airport — not at all known for sustainability, deliciousness or food farming, and putting those two things at the very forefront of the proposition.
By doing so, the airline could be the first in history to introduce “locally sourced” menu items, with local meaning a few feet away. Of course, over time, ingredient costs could drop as a result, with quality going up too. To an airline, that’s a winning combination. Big time.
Instead of a bunch of herbs and vegetables being loaded onto a truck many hundreds of miles away, then being driven by a series of companies, the food is already there. A watchful eye can ensure best practices, rather than relying on partners.
It’s better for the environment and for chefs who care about little details. I believe, to the best of my knowledge, this is a world first for an airport.
British Airways JFK Farm Already In Place
Speaking to teams at JFK and browsing LinkedIn updates, I found that British Airways has already installed a micro-farm at New York JFK Airport! British Airways is already using this farm to help supply elements of dishes.
At London Heathrow, a new market table dining concept has also been introduced in the Galleries First Lounge.
Think fresh, Ottolenghi style dishes for all tastes. Word is that a substantial Heathrow farm is on the way and if that proves true, British Airways will instantly be among the most progressive airlines in the lounge hospitality game.
That’s not something anyone would’ve been caught dead saying just 5 years ago.
Better, Sustainable Food Coming Soon?
Details are scarce so far, but it appears British Airways is making good on promises to push sustainability. With food, that doesn’t mean compromising taste or quality.
It’s often the opposite actually, with better ingredients served with greater freshness thanks to a lack of transportation tim, or adverse conditions en route. Think heat, or freeze along the way.
The more British Airways can repurpose spaces for vertical farming or other indoor and outdoor methods, the more it can do to eliminate transportation elements which make food less sustainable and often, less tasty too.
If you’re telling me British Airways can become more sustainable, while making lounge food taste better, I really can’t argue with that. Plus, anything to freshen airport air.