Food festival offers local taste

Taste of Local Missouri draws connoisseurs to Old Munichberg district


Various members of the group “Pick, Strum & Bow” play their instruments as part of the entertainment at the Taste of Local Missouri held in the Old Munichberg section of Jefferson City on Saturday evening. From left are Jack Klebba, Allie Talbert, Levi Talbert, Rebecca Talbert, Cora Seawert and Aaron Talbert.

Various members of the group “Pick, Strum & Bow” play their instruments as part of the entertainment at the Taste of Local Missouri held in the Old Munichberg section of Jefferson City on Saturday evening. From left are Jack Klebba, Allie Talbert, Levi Talbert, Rebecca Talbert, Cora Seawert and Aaron Talbert. Photo by Shaun Zimmerman.

As the crowd gathered near enough to listen, the tall man gave very specific instructions.

“You want to make sure that no air gets down to the cabbage,” he said. “And you don’t want the room to be warmer than 75 degrees, because that’s going to cause the fermentation to go too fast.

“If you see bubbles rising, you know it’s happening.”

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Laura Carter, of Fulton, doesn’t even cry as she cuts up onions for her cooking demonstration on making corn fritters at the Taste of Local Missouri Saturday.

Making fermented sauerkraut — the old-fashioned way — is just one of farmer Dan Kuebler’s many food-related interests.

Jerry Knollmeyer listened attentively as Kuebler shared his knowledge. But the Jefferson City resident couldn’t resist one small quip. “How long until it gets to 90 proof?” he teased.

After he demonstrated his process, Kuebler encouraged listeners to sample the homemade kraut. It tasted nice — crisp and sour at the same time.

“It’s really healthy to eat,” he said.

As owner of The Salad Garden, a small farm located in Ashland, Kuebler was part of the entertainment at Taste of Local Missouri, a food festival held in Jefferson City's Old Munichberg district on Saturday night.

The festival was one of six events scheduled across Mid-Missouri between May and October. The festivals were organized by the Missouri River Bluffs Association (MRBA). The group works to promote and market the agriculture products, food, wines, arts and crafts within a five-county region.

The six festivals were funded in part with a grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Although the crowd was small, it was lively.

Folk music drifted pleasantly from a music stage near Ecco Lounge. Vendors handed out free samples of fresh produce and visitors happily tasted them.

The event was designed to nurture people’s interest in gardening, encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle and share with them better ways for using the produce sold at their local farmers’ markets.

Avid gardener Laura Carter participated in the event by sharing her recipes for Fresh Corn Fritters with Aged Cheddar, Israeli Salad and Quick Zucchini Saute with Toasted Almonds.

“We wanted to highlight to the general public the value of eating, and spending their money, locally,” she said.

As MRBA president, Nancy Grant helped organize the events. She was pleased to be able to hold the festival in Old Munichberg.

“It’s nice to highlight the renovations happening here. I think it’s a wonderful area,” she said.

Grant said the event was not intended to be “the usual street fair.”

“There’s something we’re trying to teach here,” she said.

James Quinn, a University of Missouri Extension specialist, said having a backyard garden is beneficial for your health.

“We’ve shown, through research, it will increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables,” he said. “Produce prices are higher than they were 10 years ago. It behooves people to look at their options and think about growing their own.”

Sherrie Koechling of Jefferson City attended the festival with a friend who heard about it on Facebook. The two women were browsing the booths when they stopped to learn a little more about preserves and jellies for sale.

“I think it’s really good to get people out in the community to experience what we have to offer,” she said.

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