Association offers chance to learn about locally grown products

Dan Kuebler a local produce grower with "The Salad Garden" from Ashland, Mo., demostrates how to make sauerkraut at the "Taste of Local Missouri" event held at the city park in Linn on Saturday. Kuebler has been in the produce growing business for sveral decades and often sells his produce at the Columbia Farmers market but is hoping to participate in the Lincoln University Farmers Market soon.

Dan Kuebler a local produce grower with "The Salad Garden" from Ashland, Mo., demostrates how to make sauerkraut at the "Taste of Local Missouri" event held at the city park in Linn on Saturday. Kuebler has been in the produce growing business for sveral decades and often sells his produce at the Columbia Farmers market but is hoping to participate in the Lincoln University Farmers Market soon. Photo by Deborah Cote.

The Missouri River Bluffs Association, a group of small businesses that utilizes locally grown products and emphasizes local heritage and culture, hosted the Taste of Local Missouri Saturday in Linn.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Steve Johnson, a member of the association and an organizer of the event. “The weather is certainly cooperating with us.”

The event was one of six the group will host this summer in Boone, Moniteau, Osage, Cole, Callaway and Cooper Counties. It included food and drink samples, cooking demonstrations and vendors selling their products made or grown locally in Central Missouri.

“It’s really important to have people realize how important local producers are and what our local heritage is,” said Vera Gelder, a vendor at the event. Vera and her husband, Art, own Walk-About Acres in Columbia and they sold honey ice cream and Mule Foot Pork at the Linn event.

“Our tagline is ‘A small diversified farm with a big emphasis on honeybees,’” Vera said.

The Gelders are both members of the Missouri River Bluffs Association.

The Taste of Local Missouri events are funded by a Missouri Department of Agriculture Grant that the Missouri River Bluffs Association received. The grant is also helping fund Missouri Deep Roots, a program created by the association.

The association hired Laura Carter to blog and create a series of cooking demonstration videos to post online at www.modeeproots.com.

The videos are of local producers showing viewers how to cook with ingredients grown locally.

Carter said the first video is already online.

“We’re trying to encourage people to not just go to the grocery and pick up a salad,” Carter said. “It’s easy to buy lettuce from your neighbor.”

Carter performed three cooking demonstrations Saturday in Linn, teaching attendees how to make watermelon agua fresca, fresh corn fritters and a quick zucchini sauté with toasted almonds, and a chopped cucumber and tomato salad.

Linn resident Lois Gerschefske said she had to come see what the Taste of Local Missouri had to offer.

“I usually buy from the farmer’s market here every Saturday,” Gerschefske said. “I like buying local because I like everything fresh.

“I used to have a garden, but not anymore, so I’m glad someone else does.”

The next Taste of Local Missouri is from 4-8 p.m. Aug. 24 in downtown Jefferson City. If you would like more information, visit tasteoflocalmissouri.com.

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