by: Nate Furler, Marketing Specialist
Love exploring local foods and ready to become a full-on locavore? Or, simply want to explore the flavorful, healthful and economic benefits of eating local? Peak harvest season is here, and Oneota Community Food Co-op is stocked with the freshest, highest quality products available to help shoppers enjoy delicious seasonal foods. Oneota Co-op, along with food co-ops nationwide, invites individuals to celebrate local foods by participating in the third annual Eat Local, America! during the month of September.
To participate, shoppers are encouraged to stop by Oneota Co-op to register for Eat Local, America! Participants are asked to set a goal for themselves. Whether eating one meal a week made with local foods or trying to eat 80 percent of meals locally, all participants are encouraged to set a challenging goal that will work for their household. Residents and shoppers are encouraged to enhance their local options by checking out the Oneota Co-op, Winneshiek Farmer’s Market, your area farmer’s market, and your backyard garden if you are fortunate to have one. All registered participants for Eat Local, America! will be entered into a drawing for wonderful prizes. More ideas, recipes, and support can be found online at www.eatlocalamerica.coop.
Another highlight of our month-long celebration of Eat Local, America! will be a cooking contest held on Saturday, September 11th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm at the Co-op. Entries will be judged on three categories: prevalence of local ingredients, taste, and creativity. Entry forms and rules for the contest can be found online. Highlights include five categories for entry: International Cuisine, Vegetable Mania (hot or cold vegetarian cuisine), Local Preservation (condiments, jams, jellies, chutney, salsa, compotes), Oh – Sweet Honey (honey-sweetened dessert recipes), and Meat the Maker (hot or cold meat-based cuisine). There will be two age categories – 16 & under, and 17 & older. Local celebrities, including many local chefs, will be judging all of the entries. Prizes will be awarded for the best in each category, as well as the Overall Grand Champion that will receive a $25 Co-op gift card, a Buy Local Co-op t-shirt, complimentary main course for two at LaRana Bistro and a copy of the cookbook Eating Local, The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers by Janet Fletcher. For entry forms and more information, stop by the Co-op and inquire at Customer Service, or visit us online at www.oneotacoop.com. Be sure to also stop by the contest to try some of these locally created dishes.
Oneota Co-op defines local food as “grown, produced, roasted, processed, or packaged within approximately a 100 mile radius of the Oneota Co-op.” To help consumers during Eat Local, America! and throughout the year, the Co-op identifies local food in-store with local product stickers and shelf signs like the one you see on page 1.
“Our shoppers are more engaged than ever in knowing how and where their food is produced. Oneota Co-op has long been a leader in connecting our shoppers with fresh, local food,” said David Lester, General Manager. “Food co-ops continue to grow in size and number. Farmers’ markets and subscriptions to Community Supported Agriculture are becoming more popular – consumers have made it clear – they want more locally grown and produced foods.”
“We have strong longstanding relationships with great local food producers so we can provide shoppers with the highest quality local foods available. During Eat Local, America! we shine an even brighter light on the pleasures and benefits of local food and producers in our community,” Lester added.
Oneota Co-op is joined by natural food co-ops coast-to-coast in hosting Eat Local, America! All are members of National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) – a business services cooperative representing 114 retail food co-ops nationwide.
Since peak harvest times vary throughout the nation, initiative dates and durations (typically one-week to one-month) vary as well.
“Eat Local, America! celebrates the uniqueness and diversity of our local food, as well as a collective and growing passion for eating more local, organic and natural foods,” said Nate Furler, Marketing Specialist.
Food lovers can learn more about Eat Local, America! and how to participate at www.eatlocalamerica.coop.
To learn more about Oneota Community Food Co-op, visit www.oneotacoop.com