Expo is a Big Boost For Farmers & Local Producers

Food and Farmer Expo

By Nancy Smith, Secretary, Farm to Family Naturally

Part of Farm to Family’s mission is to provide urban markets for independent family farms. We love to visit farms, tell stories and provide farm-fresh foods at Sappington Farmers Market. But we are always looking for new opportunities for our farmers. That’s why we jumped at the chance to co-sponsor the 1st Annual Food and Farmers Expo with The Healthy Planet. What a great opportunity to provide St. Louis-area consumers with the opportunity to “Shake The Hand That Feeds Them” and, at the same time, give our farmers an opportunity to increase the sales of their tasty, sustainably-raised farm products.

In addition to the fresh farmraised foods these farmers offer, we wanted to provide an opportunity for the many small businesses in the St. Louis area which produce really awesome salsas, pickles, jams, fruit butters, chocolate products, hummus and honey. Locally-made St. Louis-style pizza is a local product we’re proud to carry, and we were happy to invite Dogtown Pizza to join us at the Expo.

One of Farm to Family’s specialties is sustainable meat grown on family farms in Missouri. The First Annual Food and Farmers Expo included many family farmers who were eager to share samples of their delicious and healthful meats. Russ Kremer of Heritage Acres Foods cooked bacon all day for the enthusiastic crowd of people eager to meet their local farmers. Todd Geisert, Reisner Ranch and Shepherd’s Ridge Farms all cooked delicious meat products and allowed expo-goers to sample freely.

Supporting Missouri’s wine industry is a top priority for Farm to Family, and we were happy to provide an opportunity for two of our wine suppliers, Westphalia Vineyards and Peaceful Bend Vineyards to pour their quality wines at the Expo.

Another mission of ours is education, and there was ample opportunity to learn at the Expo. Presentations were given throughout the day on such diverse topics as food preservation, food distribution, organic foods and typical challenges faced by farmers. In addition, a number of area foodrelated nonprofits provided educational services at their booths. University of Missouri Extension provided educational opportunities and even offered free calibration of pressure canners. Maplewood Richmond Heights school system brought Chef Robert Rusan and an enthusiastic group of students who served a variety of homegrown and homemade (by the students) foods. Without fail, the vendors and educators at the First Annual Food and Farmers Expo expressed satisfaction with the day and said they hoped to return next year. And now, the Second Annual Food and Farmers Expo is just around the corner, with many of the same vendors, some exciting new ones and both old and new educational topics to explore.

Join us at the Webster Groves Recreational Complex, I44 and Elm on Sunday, September 18 from 10 to 4. Happy Sampling. For more information please call 314-962-7748.