As the Moscow Food Co-Op celebrates 40 years of existence, local producers will come together March 2 and 9 to share their products for the fifth annual Taste of the Palouse.
Sarah MacDonald, communications coordinator at the Co-Op, said during the two Saturdays there will be between 15 and 16 vendors.
“We don’t include farmers because we have the Grower’s Market for them during the summer, but also this a really busy time of year for the farmers because they’re getting ready to plant and wouldn’t have much to bring,” she said.
MacDonald said they are branching out from the Palouse this year to make the event regional — as well as taking the steps to invite anyone who has not been before.
“We really love our local producers and we consider anything local within 200 miles. While we really love them and working with them,” MacDonald said, “I think it’s important to acknowledge that we’re part of a greater food shed in the area and things that we can’t necessarily provide on the Palouse we can get from places like southern Idaho or Seattle.”
Country Natural Beef, a group of cooperative ranchers in the area, will be cooking and sampling beef sirloin.
Starving Farmer Popcorn from Quincy, Wash., will be sampling popcorn. And the Pacific Northwest Farmers Co-Op. will be attending — which produces a lot of lentils and garbanzo beans — and will provide bean salad samples. More vendors will provide samples as well.
“So everybody just kind of gets together in a fun way and it’s not only for the customers to taste things and then buy the products — it’s really to establish a relationship with the producers,” she said.
Paradise Creek Brewery is another local producer attending. On March 2, Tom Handy, owner and brewer, will release the Hefeweizan-style ale to celebrate 40 years of the Moscow Food Co-Op’s existence. The name of the honey wheat ale is OhBeehave!
“They came up with the style and the idea — and they did want to use some local honey so I came up with the recipe for that style, put it all together and brewed it,” Handy said. “Most of all the grains that are used come from the Northwest. The honey came from a local bee farm, the water came from Pullman and the yeast came from Oregon.”
The Co-Op will continue to celebrate 40 years throughout the year by featuring event such as a year-long bulk sale.
“When we first began, we were really focused on bulk items so we have a bulk sale going on throughout the year,” MacDonald said. “The Co-Op used to be called The Good Food Store where it started out as a buying club where people would order a bunch of tofu or granola — it would be delivered to someone’s driveway and then people would come and split it up.”
The annual Taste of the Palouse will be from 12 – 4 p.m. in the Co-Op.
“We somehow manage to cram a lot of vendors in here. We do a little bit of Tetris in the store and make it work. There’s a buzz in the store and it’s really fun,” she said.
Molly Spencer can be reached at email@example.com