One thing I’ve become more and more passionate about recently has been local foods. I think the global food market is great for expanding food choices, brining new revenue options to the countries that produce these foods (I’m thinking of quinoa, a “supergrain” that comes from South America, or lentils, which originated in the Mediterranean).
That being said, I am a huge advocate for buying things from your local community. By supporting someone geographically close to you, you are putting your money back in your community, supporting your local economy. I was hit by a wave of enthusiasm for the local food movement again this weekend when I attended the Feast! Festival.
After talking with one of the organizers for an article I wrote (which you can read here), I was totally revved up for this gathering of local food merchants. Over 100 vendors congregated in the Mayo Civic Center to showcase their products. It was a fabulous display of hard work and determination, as starting your own company is hard enough without attempting to navigate the licensing procedures that go along with the food and beverage industries.
All of the vendors at the show seemed so happy to be there! A friend and I perused the aisles, trying out some of the incredible foods and talking with their makers. A few of my favorites: Alemar Cheese Company (they make the most incredible soft cheese I’ve ever had and are based in Manako), Gray Duck Chai(awesome chai tea concentrate made in Minneapolis), Triple Crown BBQ Sauce (which makes unreal barbecue sauce, based in Minneapolis) and Urbal Tea (teas made in Milwaukee).
Every time we stopped and talked with the makers, you got a sense of pride and joy in their product. Many of their ingredients are also sourced locally, which makes such a great web of local economic activity.
There is something incredibly satisfying about making a purchase you know is going to be truly appreciated by the company, and I feel like every dollar is well-spent when I buy from someone local. Being able to talk face to face with business owners, being able to try their food and realize just how wide-ranging the local food community is, even here is southeast Minnesota, is truly something to cherish.
What are some of your favorite local food discoveries?