Heidi Strawn
July 22, 2011

Photo courtesy Comstock/Thinkstock

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Travelers can now purchase locally grown food at Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport.

San Francisco International Airport’s newly renovated Terminal 2 is bringing the hustle and bustle of an international airport and the quiet life of the farm together.

SFO is the first airport terminal looking solely for vendors who sell local, healthy food. So far, three quarters of the food sold in Terminal 2 are made up of local fare. Included in this area is Napa Farms Market, a 5,000-square-foot marketplace featuring products from Bay Area farms.

The farm-to-flight idea fits perfectly in an airport situated in California, home of the food belt and the United States’ largest agricultural producer. According to American Farmland Trust, the San Francisco Bay Area produces $1.8 billion of food a year.

Launched in February, the Silver Diner at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall airport has a similar farm-to-flight program on a smaller scale. The retro, neon-lit restaurant’s burgers and buns are purchased from sustainable, local sources. Everything from local milk to bread to eggs fill the menu throughout the year.

There are many initiatives to bring local foods into international travel hubs and seek to offer alternative food choices. In return, they expose visitors — whether stopping in on a short layover or on an extended stay — to unique elements of local culture and history. Los Angeles International Airport’s newly renovated Terminal 5 is planning to bring a version of the farmers market on Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles. Former dairy farmer and now oil tycoon Arthur Fremont Gilmore started the famous market to help farmers during the Great Depression, and it has been serving the city every since.

Napa Farms Market offers the “farm-to-flight” concept where you can pick up prepared meals and bring them onboard your flight. Included are salads and sandwiches and Cowgirl Creamery cheese.

SFO is encouraging all food vendors to use sustainable seafood, cage-free and antibiotic eggs, organic produce and meats, non-hydrogenated oils, fair trade coffee and milk free of rBST hormones.

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