Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

All of us at Local Roots wish you a wonderful feast with family and friends today, and we hope that you'll join us in giving thanks for all the farmers and food producers who brought that food to our tables.

We're also giving thanks today for all the people who have supported our dreams and our plans over the past year and more. We've had many generous benefactors along the way and appreciated the ongoing moral and other support from our families and friends as we worked through the details to make our dream of a year-round farmers' market a reality.

We're thankful for the kindness and support of people around the community and beyond -- like our recent special guest, Gene Logsdon, who wrote about our endeavor on his web site -- for carrying our message of fresh local food near and far.

And we're thankful for all of the enthusiastic shoppers who have walked through our doors in the past month and helped us launch Local Roots with a tremendous financial push.

We'll be open again this Saturday, November 28, from 10 AM to 3 PM for a continuation of our successful holiday market, and you'll be able to find gifts from local artists and crafters as well as our usual excellent selection of local foods.

Come join us -- and help us give thanks!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Market -- To Be Continued!

We apologize for not keeping up around here, but we've been swept up in all the excitement during this first month of business.

Thanks to you, our wonderful shoppers, we are seeing steady increases in sales and in membership. Over the first three weeks of business, we've almost doubled the number of vendors selling on Saturdays (from 22 to 42).

And thanks to all of the buzz about Saturday's holiday market, we're going to continue the holiday market spirit by popular demand each Saturday through December 19.

That's right -- in addition to all the great food you can find at Local Roots, you'll also be able to shop here during the holiday season for beautiful art note cards, paintings, knitted items, yarns and other woolen goodies, fudge, cloth shopping bags, and so much more. And when you do that, you'll be helping to support local artists and crafters.

We don't have many photos from the holiday market, but board member Dave Benchoff shared a photo of our special guest, Gene Logsdon, with his lovely wife Carol. Gene and Carol sold lots of books and talked to many producer members and other admirers throughout the day, and they told us they were "really impressed" with Local Roots. We appreciate them taking the time to come to Wooster and to share in the general excitement!

For a better overview and more photos from the holiday market, please visit the Chiot's Run blog. Susy stopped by on Saturday, talked with several people, and gave us a rave review on her web site. Thanks, Susy!

And if you missed all the music, food, gifts, crowds, and generally uplifting feeling of community on Saturday, you still have a chance -- every Saturday from now until Christmas, 10 AM to 3 PM.

Don't miss out!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Film Shows "Food Where We Live"

Our "Fresh Food, Fresh Ideas" series wrapped up last night with a screening of the locally-produced documentary "PolyCultures: Food Where We Live."

Director Tom Kondilas and producer Brad Masi came to Wooster to screen the film on the back wall at Local Roots and to generate discussion about agriculture in general and the efforts in northeastern Ohio to support local farms and to make good fresh food available to all. A good-sized crowd turned out for the film and stayed well after the end of the formal discussion to continue in small group conversations about how we can get more people involved in local food systems.

Tom and Brad also indicated that they appreciated what we are doing at Local Roots and that they'll try to come back sometime soon to catch us in action. Who knows? You might find Local Roots on the big screen some day!

Thanks to everyone who made this film series such a success:

Everyone at The Big Picture for screening "Food, Inc."
Casey Hoy and Matt Mariola for leading a discussion after "Food, Inc."
Tom Kondilas and Brad Masi for sharing "PolyCultures"
Farmers State Bank of West Salem for sponsoring the showing of "PolyCultures"
All the volunteers who helped to set up for the movies and discussions and who provided refreshments
All the people who turned out to watch and discuss the films

This is what we love the most about Local Roots -- our success depends on YOU. We're building community here, every one of us, and we thank YOU for contributing to it!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Market Day Saturday November 14

After the stunning success of our opening day, we hope to repeat the excitement this coming Saturday, November 14, with a continuation of the indoor farmers' market.

Producer members who will be on hand to sell good food include:

Adonai Acres
Autumn Harvest Farm
Breezy Hill Farm
Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese
Gale J Farm
Green Vista Farm
Moreland Fruit Farms
Muddy Fork Farm
Norma's Kitchen
...and many more!

We will also have music provided by Gretchen Pleuss, a singer/songwriter from Orrville, along with cider from Moreland Fruit Farms for our guests.

Stop by between 10 AM and 3 PM, soak up the vibrant community atmosphere, and stock up on all the great local food!

Help us keep growing Local Roots!

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Food, Inc." Makes You Think

On Saturday evening, more than 50 people caught the Local Roots-sponsored showing of "Food, Inc." at The Big Picture in downtown Wooster. The movie offered a balanced and well-researched look at the modern American food system, interviewed people across the spectrum of opinion on food matters, and raised good questions about what the problematic links in the system might be and how those problems might be addressed.

More than 40 people stopped by the Local Roots Market building after the movie for refreshments (local cider, fresh vegetables, homemade oatmeal cookies) and a thoughtful discussion of the film. Led by Casey Hoy (Professor and Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agroecosystems Management at the OARDC) and Matt Mariola (Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies at The College of Wooster), the group shared their thoughts from the film and explored the question of how the system might be changed to bring more benefit to the livelihood of local farmers and the health of consumers.

We hope to have another such fruitful discussion following the showing of "PolyCultures" on Saturday, November 21 at 7 PM at the Local Roots Market building, 140 S. Walnut Street, Wooster. Admission will be $4 (free for Local Roots members).

Join us!

First Market Day a Success!

Local Roots opened its doors for the first market day on Saturday, and by all accounts, it was a grand success!

Though we originally had 14 producers signed up to sell at the first market, 22 showed up, some with application and check in hand. Set-up time in the morning was a little chaotic as we tried to fit everyone in -- but we did it.

Board member and producer Dave Benchoff (of Banzhaf Garten Organic Farm) took the time to wander around the market and take photos before the market opened:

Killbuck Valley Mushrooms

Louise Swartzwalder, Crestwood Farm

Por-Bar Farms (Kevin and Amy Leamer)

Monica Bongue, Muddy Fork Farm

Breezy Hill Farm (Phil and Mindy Bartholomae)

Dave Benchoff, Banzhaf Garten Organic Farm

Once the doors opened, we saw a steady stream of customers coming in throughout the day, many of whom had not been seen at previous member gatherings. The word is spreading!

All told, it was a satisfying first day: lots of activity, enthusiastic shoppers, several new members, and good sales. We even found an excellent review of the day from one of our producer members over at Local Harvest (thanks!).

And guess what? Next week, we'll do it again!

So stop by Saturday, November 14 and find out what the buzz is all about!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Local Roots Now on Local Harvest!

Local Roots Market is now listed on Local Harvest, a national listing of local foods suppliers (farmers' markets, CSA farms, co-ops, etc.)! It's another way of spreading the word about what we're doing here in Wooster to a broader audience.

Producer members, if you're on Local Harvest and we've missed you, let us know and we'll help you publicize your information. Those who have profiles on the site include:

Adonai Acres, Lakeville
Mackenzie Creamery, Hiram
Moonstruck Farm, Creston
Muddy Fork Farm, Wooster
Twin Parks Organic Farm, West Salem
as well as our volunteer members from the College of Wooster Organic Farming Program

And everyone, if you feel so inclined, stop by Local Harvest and add your comments to our profile to share what we're doing.

Don't forget -- the indoor farmers' market starts this Saturday, November 7, from 10 AM to 3 PM! You don't have to be a member to shop, so come by and say hello!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

House Party

Thanks to everyone who stopped by Local Roots Market yesterday for our open house! We had a steady crowd of neighbors, friends, future producers, and interested shoppers flowing through to see our work on the building and to sample some of the excellent refreshments provided by steering committee members and producers.

Our last-minute painting and sprucing up caught the eye of several people, including a number of people who appreciated the repeated carrot theme over the front door (painting courtesy of local producer member and board member Monica Bongue of Muddy Fork Farm).

A couple of thoughtful producers set up display tables with samples of their produce and other goodies for members and shoppers to get an idea about what will be available in the coming weeks. Here, Phil and Mindy Bartholomae of Breezy Hill Farm talk with a couple of guests.

Along with baked goods from steering committee members, guests sampled delicious artisan cheeses from Bryan Schlatter of Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese (in the green t-shirt). He talked with several people about the cheesemaking process, and many more people are excited that he'll be bringing his excellent cheeses to market next week.

The Local Roots information table saw a constant stream of people asking questions about the market and membership, turning in membership forms and fees, and buying our new Local Roots t-shirts. (Yes, we will expand the range of sizes as soon as we can restock on shirts and get them silk-screened by volunteers.)

We appreciate the enthusiasm our guests showed for all the work we've done in the past several months, and we hope everyone will stop back next Saturday, November 7, from 10 AM to 3 PM, for the first indoor farmers' market!

Added 11/3/09: Steering committee member Jennifer McMullen has posted another progress report about Local Roots over at The Ethicurean, so stop there and find out more about our behind-the-scenes work!