This question was poised by blogger Sarah Deseran in an article of the same name. Read it at http://ow.ly/1cYw7
Thanks to Tracy Ryder of Edible Communities for tipping me off to it.
Do they have to? Well, no… they don’t have to. But it does help to establish their credentials. If they are marketing to customers who want the story of the food, why wouldn’t they?
As a farmer who sells to some restaurants, I love to see our name on the menu. That visibility is part of the value for us. It makes us part of the “tribe” with the chef and the diner. I hope that I have a relationship beyond “I get money, you get fruit” with my chefs. The other day, I personally picked a box of our Meyer lemons and delivered them on two hours notice, when the chef realized he was going to be caught short for a big weekend. Kind of screwed up my schedule for the day, but I did it. Why? Because my name’s on the menu.
So do they have to acknowledge their farmers? No. But what if they want to tell consumers that their food is about relationships and not faceless, anonymous, commodity foodstuffs? Then they would be fools not to.