A new downtown event was announced today that will highlight and celebrate Algoma's rich farm community.
Presented by the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), Eat Algoma Local Food Festival takes place on Queen Street East between East and Brock on Saturday, June 14 from 3 to 8 p.m. and will include local food vendors, live music, and a Restaurant Food Challenge Competition featuring Embers, the Gnarly Bistro, and Low & Slow.
"As we look at the 'eat local' concept, it's not just about supporting our local growers. It has a huge environmental impact in Northern Ontario," said Mayor Debbie Amaroso during today's announcement at Embers. "The more we can support this initiative, and the more we can support our local growers, the better it is for our health, and our environment."
Katie Filion (pictured), event organizer and market developer at RAIN, told SooToday.com that this event will be the perfect way to kick off the local growing season.
"We know there are local restaurants that are trying to source locally, so we thought this would be a great way to pair them with some of our local farms and build relationships while raising consumer awareness of what is available locally," she said.
For the Restaurant Food Challenge Competition, the three participating restaurants will be paired with Valleyfield Farm, Collholm Farm, and Desbarats Country Produce to create their best pulled pork slider as judged by event visitors.
"The three restaurants involved are all very enthusiastic. They were chosen because they're either already sourcing locally, or they're enthusiastic about this type of initiative and we're excited to work with them," said Filion.
A news release issued today by RAIN regarding the Eat Algoma Local Food Festival follows.
Local farmers and food community partner for first-annual Eat Algoma festival in downtown SSM
SAULT STE. MARIE - The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), a partnership of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and NORDIK Institute, today announced the upcoming Eat Algoma Local Food Festival, to take place June 14, 2014 on Queen St. in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.
The “Farm to Fork” theme will bring country life to the city, and serve as a unique opportunity to celebrate Algoma’s food and farm community.
Eat Algoma will take place on Queen Street (between East St. and Brock St.) from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
With farm-fresh food vendors, children’s activities, live music, a pop-up patio, animals, and a Restaurant Food Challenge Competition, the event aims to be fun for the entire family.
“Part of our work at RAIN is to promote local food and agriculture. Being downtown, and thanks to help from the Downtown Association, we can also promote local businesses at this festival,” said David Thompson, research coordinator, RAIN.
The first-time event will serve as an opportunity to connect farmers and consumers. Eat Algoma is free to attend, but includes a ticketed portion for those wishing to sample food at the Restaurant Food Challenge Competition.
Three local restaurants have been paired with three local farms to create their best pulled pork slider.
The competition kicks off at 5 p.m., with the Gnarly Bistro, Embers, and Low & Slow competing for the title of 2014 Food Challenge Champion.
Tickets are $15 and include a sample of each of the sliders, a side, and one vote for best dish.
A vegetarian ticket is also available for $15, and will include a hearty wrap from Café Natura and one side dish.
Tickets are being sold exclusively at Scotiabank, as Scotiabank will match all ticket sales in their branches.
The festival kicks off at 3 p.m. with farm vendors from Algoma and Johnson Township Farmers’ Markets, the new Mill Market, and more.
There will be live music throughout the day from local bands and support from Case’s Music, and the Arts Council will be running a Kids Zone with face painting and crafts.
If you missed the Festival of Beer, Loplops will have a tent serving Ontario brews.
“We’re overwhelmed with the community’s support for this event, and cannot wait to celebrate Algoma’s food and farming downtown on June 14th,” said Katie Filion, organizer for the event, and market developer at RAIN.
Community Sponsors for this event include Scotiabank, Mill Market, Foodland Ontario, SooToday and Local 2.
About the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN)
The Rural Agriculture Innovation Network (RAIN) is a project of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and NORDIK Institute.
RAIN is supported by the agricultural community, municipalities, the private sector (farmers and businesses e.g. Penokean Hills Farms), and funding partners (Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp., FedNor and Ontario Trillium Foundation) to conduct research and provide business development and networking support.