Thursday, March 27, 2008

Day 3 SARE Conference: Farm Tour News

Community Merc Farm Tour

A day tour full of good local food, successful businesses and many new connections with farmers, extension staff and other professionals from around the nation – sums up today.

The Local Chefs, Resturants and Grocery Stores Tour was a both educational and fun…with lots of great tastes of local foods.

We started the morning off with a visit to Deer Creek Hen House Market, which has locations all around the Kansas City/Kansas area. In 1923, Sidney and Mollie Ball started a small neighborhood grocery store on the corner of 16th and Stewart streets in Kansas City, KS. The Hen House Market is a unique collaboration between family-owned Ball Food Stores and farmer group Good Natured Family Farms. We learned about the “Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign” and sampled wonderful local foods. The business has evolved into a company that now employs more than 4,000 people. But even with the growth of the business the motto has stayed the same: "Our grocery store is only as good as the people who work there."

Next off to Local Burger, created by chef and entrepreneur Hilary Brown, who fulfilled her vision of offering healthy fast food in a casual environment by opening the first Local Burger on September 14, 2005.

Established in historic downtown Lawrence, Kansas, the restaurant sources all of its meats locally and features a variety of burgers, including elk, buffalo, beef, lamb, pork, turkey, and emu, and is home of the World's Best Veggie Burger (it's gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free, yeast-free, nut-free and DELICIOUS!).

Local Burger is leading the evolution of fast food with fresh, organic, local, and sustainable fare that is free of unnatural additives and preservatives. At Local Burger, you'll always know where your food came from and exactly what's in it. Its eclectic menu has been featured in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Gourmet.

The Community Mercantile was the last stop on the tour. This business is committed to providing an outstanding selection of natural and organic regional foods to its community.

(PHOTO: Pricing of all local foods sold at the Community Merc tells exactly how "local" the food is in miles from farm to the Merc. These local mushrooms travel 10 miles from the farm to the Merc. This lets the consumers know how "local" the food really is.)

From the Merc's website: “Our Mission is to promote community ownership of this grocery store that encourages personal, community and environmental health. We are governed by our members and by the International Cooperative Principles. We strive to provide our community with outstanding selection of the finest and freshest foods in the region by emphasizing natural and organic foods, locally produced food, and food that was produced in a sustainable way. We are committed to our community and to education and outreach within our community. We invite you to come see for yourself why Community Mercantile is the only place in town with the greatest food, the greatest choices and the greatest service. This cooperative has more than 3,700 member/owners and anyone can shop and join."

Check back Monday for more photos from all tour locations.

1 comment:

The Youngster said...

Sounds like a wonderful tour you went on!