“… and friends, they may think it’s a movement!”*
There’s nothing new about farmers’ markets; ours in Albany, for instance, is in its 29th year, making it the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in Oregon. And farm stands have been around just about as long as there have been farmers with extra produce and roads going past them.
But the eat-local movement seems to have reached some sort of critical mass here in the mid-Valley this spring. I’ve already mentioned the Eat Local Challenge (and will be mentioning it again), but suddenly local food events are springing up everywhere I look.
Last Friday was a “Farms Feed Everyone” benefit dinner at the First United Methodist Church in Corvallis; this Thursday, students from the Oregon State University Restaurant/Food Service Management program will take over the on-campus Pangea Restaurant for a “Taste of the Valley” feed featuring fresh local ingredients from salmon to strawberries.
And on Sunday, June 1, the new Slow Food Corvallis group is hosting “Local Bounty: a Farmer-Chef Celebration,” featuring some of Corvallis’ top restaurants preparing a tasting menu of dishes made with local ingredients. (Tickets are $15 and reservations are required; contact email@example.com for details).
While these folks take different approaches, all share the same goal: Reaquainting people with the variety of good food originating – sometimes literally – in their own back yards.
This rocks me down to my (hand-knit) socks. When I started writing this blog last year, it was partly because I kept running into people who said things like “We have a farmers’ market? I had no idea!”
Now I’m seeing more people at the Albany market every weekend, overhearing conversations that start “I’ve never been to the market before” and watching farm stands spring – or expand – along unexpected byways. I especially love that restaurants are getting in the act. I even had a great conversation this past weekend with the manager of a local brewpub the other night about his efforts to find local sources for everything from the dishes on his menu to the components of his beer.
At this rate, I won’t run out of subject matter any time soon. (-:
*Alice’s Restaurant probably served local food, too.