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Buy Fresh Buy Local Southern Wisconsin;
Pie Palooza 2007

 

 


Eating locally, the easy way

One of the many joys of summer is the abundance of delicious farm-fresh produce, meat and dairy that just beg to be turned into meals. And then there’s that other summer joy: sipping a cool drink with your feet up while someone else does the cooking. Although these twin summer delights may seem incongruent, a new program shows you where to merge relaxation with your support of local foods.

Buy Fresh Buy Local Southern Wisconsin is a new program of the REAP Food Group that works to foster strong relationships between farmers and food buyers at restaurants, cafes, workplace cafeterias and grocery stores. Many restaurants in the Madison area are already committed to buying from local farmers and turning their fresh delicious ingredients into great dishes. Many others want to learn more about how they can buy more from local farms. Starting this summer these restaurants are getting some help both expanding their local purchasing and telling you about their dedication to farmers.

The colorful logo guides the way

With a colorful logo depicting the beauty and abundance of Southern Wisconsin, Buy Fresh Buy Local wants to keep you thinking about local foods. Gracing the doors of area restaurants, grocery stores, and at farmers’ markets or farm stands, the logo will point you to establishments committed to expanding their local purchasing. Buy Fresh Buy Local is not a certification program or a distribution service. It’s a campaign to help food-buying businesses network better with farmers while making it easier for consumers to identify businesses that have made that commitment. Seeing the label means REAP is working with that farm or business to expand their local connections. As part of its pilot program this summer, Buy Fresh Buy Local will be working with thirteen area restaurants, three retail outlets and two food service institutions, as well as a handful of farmers’ markets and farmers. In the fall, the program will open up to a wider set of partners.

Moving beyond the one-truck system

Don’t let the hard-working folks in your Co-op’s produce department fool you into thinking buying from dozens of local farmers is easy as a summer breeze. They only make it look that way. Many restaurant owners and chefs understand the value of local foods just like many Co-op shoppers. The freshness and quality of local products speak for themselves even without considering the rewards of working directly with the grower. But it isn’t easy. It takes serious dedication, communication, time and money to move beyond our food system’s everything-on-one-truck system. Buy Fresh Buy Local Southern Wisconsin is working with these folks to alleviate some of the perennial issues that keep many restaurants from regularly buying local. Putting growers and chefs in touch with each other, and offering information, training opportunities and promotional materials are some of the solutions the program offers.

Upscale and casual

Local food is not only good for our bodies, it’s good for our environment, our economy and for our taste buds. And everyone in our community deserves access to it. In terms of eating out this means that upscale and casual restaurants, pizza and take-out spots, ethnic cafes and institutional cafeterias must all be part of the buy local picture. Buy Fresh Buy Local works with establishments at their starting point to expand local purchasing. Captain Bills in Middleton, for example, will begin sourcing their side vegetables from a local farmer this summer. And the Dardanelles on Monroe Street is working with Pecatonica Valley Farm to develop a custom chicken sausage for their menu. These are the kinds of relationships we want to support and the stories we want to tell Southern Wisconsin’s dining public.

What’s local today?

So while you are out enjoying another fine Madison summer—buying supplies for a grill-out, grabbing a cool drink from a coffee shop, perusing the farmers’ markets or relaxing while somebody else does the cooking at your favorite restaurant—look for the Buy Fresh Buy Local label and ask, “What’s local today?” Check out the REAP website (www.reapfoodgroup.org) for a list of participating pilot partners and events celebrating local foods this summer.


Third Annual Pie Palooza Promotes Delicious Local Eating!

Pie...it’s the ultimate comfort food. Those who come to indulge in REAP Food Group’s upcoming Pie Palooza fundraiser can take comfort in the fact that they are supporting profitable family farms, as well as all of REAP’s programs to build a healthy, just and sustainable food system!

This year’s pie extravaganza will be from 10:30am–2:00pm on Sunday, July 15th at the Fork and Spoon Café at RP’s Pasta Company at 1133 E. Wilson St.

For a $15 contribution, participants will enjoy an amazing brunch comprised of two slices of sweet and savory pies, a farm fresh salad, and a choice of beverages including irresistible rhubarb lemonade.

“The pies, tarts, and quiches at Pie Palooza will showcase the summer bounty of our local farms,” said Miriam Grunes, REAP Food Group’s Executive Director. “Some of Madison’s finest chefs generously donate their talents to create this outrageous array of sweet and savory pie choices.”

Celebrated chefs and bakers from all over town are lining up to outshine each other with their creations. Pie choices will range from familiar favorites, including rhubarb and apple- to unique creations such as Spinach, Asiago and Mushroom Tart, Pastilla (a Morrocan chicken and filo pie), and possibly even a Spaghetti Pie.

Seating is limited. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Willy Street Co-op, RP’s Pasta and Orange Tree Imports. Tickets will also be available at the door until sold out.
For more information and to see the incredible list of pie donors visit www.reapfoodgroup.org.