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Bakersfield restaurant brings Kern's farm-freshness to the table

Locale, a farm-to-table eatery in Bakersfield makes dishes from produce from local farmers and distributors for peak nutrition and flavor.
Posted: 7:06 PM, Mar 06, 2023
Updated: 2023-03-07 16:04:07-05
Locale farm to table eatery

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Grounded in Health, the 2023 public health initiative of Kern County Public Health and Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, focuses on a new topic every month, and the topic for March is the importance of eating healthier and purchasing locally grown foods.

Eating fruits and vegetables is something that has been instilled in our minds from a young age. However, the importance of eating locally hasn't been as widespread in our communities. One Bakersfield restaurant is looking to change that, offering things like burgers and tacos, even sweets, all made from locally sourced foods.

"I started to, like, pay attention to what I was putting in my body, and I noticed that I felt a lot different when I ate food that I could recognize," said Heather Laganelli, owner of Locale, a farm-to-table eatery.

Laganelli says once she realized how eating healthy benefitted her, she wanted to share the benefits with others.

Heather Laganelli
Heather Laganelli, owner of Locale Farm to Table Eatery in Bakersfield

Locale receives most of its food from different farmers or growers within the Bakersfield area. Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan says local produce is a healthier option.

"Local produce is fresher and more nutrient-rich. Local food is also safer, as it goes through less processes and has less opportunity to be subject to contamination sources," said Carrigan.

Carrigan adds that eating locally also provides variety when it comes to fruits and vegetables, especially in Kern County, where so many fruits and vegetables are grown.

Laganelli says that on average, Locale feeds roughly 200 people every day. She says once people try the food, they often leave feeling more energetic.

"People often say that they just feel better after they've eaten here, that they feel lighter, they feel more energetic. They don't feel as bogged down, and they can't always put their finger on it, which is really interesting because it's not, like, cut and dry," said Laganelli.

Director of Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Stacy Kuwahara elaborates on the benefits of eating healthy.

"When we eat well and we feel good physically, our minds are clearer, we think sharper, and we just operate better, and so we love talking about how we're taking better care of ourselves with food," said Kuwahara.

Locale sources its food from Bakersfield-based farmers, partners with distributors, and makes connections with people who only produce one organic food item. Langanelli says she is a firm believer in using primarily organic foods.

"Small changes," said Langanelli. "Just taking a little bit of small change will eventually turn into monumental growth."

Aside from visiting local home-grown food restaurants, visiting farmers' markets is a great way to source healthy, local food, as well as going to your local food bank for fresh produce.

heckin' salad
The food at Locale in Bakersfield is locally sourced. By using the freshest, least-processed ingredients, Locale strives to make food that not only tastes good, but supports a healthy lifestyle.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy eating can help people live longer while also lowering the risk for certain diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

Healthy eating that features fresh fruits and vegetables also supports the health of both parents and babies during pregnancy and nursing.

For children, healthy eating supports healthy brain development, strengthens bone, and helps keep their digestive systems strong.

Good nutrition doesn't just benefit physical health. Mental health has also been linked to healthy eating. Studies have suggested that people who maintain a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables reduce their chance of experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms.