Marty Earnheart, MT Dept. of Agriculture, 406-444-9126
Dean Williamson, Root Cellar Foods, 406-451-2184
Helena, Mont., We often hear terms like ‘know your farmer’ or ‘who’s your farmer’ as part of the growing local agricultural movement. It is a trend that has been beneficial to both local farmers and businesses as consumers are favoring local food more and more. It can also be more cost effective by reducing transportation and distribution costs for businesses, while farmers may receive an additional premium for their product.
“We have seen an increase in demand for local food products year after year. As a food processor we always appreciate an opportunity to meet with chefs, restaurants, and distributors to see if there is a place on their menu or within their business for our local products,” said Dean Williamson, co-founder of Root Cellar Foods and member of Governor Bullock’s Food and Agriculture Main Street Montana Project. “One of the main objectives of the Main Street Montana Project is to promote local agricultural products by adding value and increasing accessibility to local markets; this event is a great fit.”
For chefs and restaurant owners, in between cooking for patrons and running a business, it can be difficult to find local food processors and farmers that can provide a steady supply of local food. Conversely, local food processors and farmers can find it difficult to meet and market products locally. Distributors are often caught in the middle when restaurants seek a local food source and have to find out where and how they can provide it to them.
In an effort to connect local farmers with local chefs, restaurants and distributors, the Montana Department of Agriculture organized a Meet the Chef event with farmers and food processors representing everything from beef, lamb, and bison to olive oil, pickles, honey, goat cheese, and produce. So far, 14 local farmers and food processors have registered to display their products at the event.
“We grow and process a range of products in Montana, and getting more of those products into restaurant kitchens and on menus will be advantageous to farmers and boost our economy. Plus, it’s no secret Montana farmers grow some of the highest quality products in the world that consumers enjoy and even demand,” said Marty Earnheart, meats and livestock marketing officer with the department.
The event will be held on Monday, March 30 from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm at the Bozeman Hilton Garden Inn, 2023 Commerce Way, in the Larkspur Ballroom. Restaurants, chefs, and distributors are encouraged to attend at no cost. For a full list of vendors visit the Meet the Chef website at http://bit.ly/2015MeetTheChef.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit www.agr.mt.gov.