June 27, 2013, Viroqua / Viola, Wisconsin
Hosted by: Rooted Spoon Culinary, Viroqua, WI and New Forest Farm, Viola, WI in collaboration with the Hazelnut Development Initiative, the Midwest Aronia Growers Association, and the UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.
Hazelnuts and aronia are newly emerging, cultivated woody perennial crops in the Upper Midwest, and wild mushrooms are part of a long tradition of foraging in this region. These “forest products” can help chefs create locally-sourced signature dishes, and can help landowners supplement and diversify their income.
Selling direct to chefs may be an important way for growers and foragers to get their products to market, invigorate production and develop the necessary processing infrastructure. One of the main barriers to chefs purchasing local products is a lack of information about crop attributes or availability. With this in mind, the UW-CIAS is working with local partners to connect chefs and growers from around the Driftless Region at this event. Throughout the day, growers and chefs will have opportunities to develop contacts with potential buyers and suppliers.
Two panel discussions will address the marketing of these crops. Chefs will speak to their experience working with forest products from local growers. Hazelnut and aronia growers, and a mushroom forager, will share their experience marketing to local restaurants.
After a lunch at Rooted Spoon Culinary highlighting some of these forest products, the venue will shift to New Forest Farm in Viola, WI (about a half-hour drive). Here, attendees will tour the largest hazelnut planting in Wisconsin situated within this perennial permaculture farm. Check back for updates on the agenda and participating organizations.
The registration fee for this event is $10. Space is limited to the first 80 people to register. Visit our web page, where we will post agenda updates and participating organizations. Or, if you are ready, you can register on-line.