Localicious promotes locally grown food

Localicious promotes locally grown food

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 26, 2014 

Localicious promotes locally grown food

WARNER ROBINS -- The local food movement is spreading roots in Houston County.

The weekly International City Farmer’s Market, which features locally grown produce, has become a popular destination, and on Saturday the inaugural Localicous celebrated what can be done with that food.

Four teams competed to cook dishes made, at least partly, with ingredients grown in Middle Georgia. The teams were representing Warner Robins, Perry, Houston County and Macon.

Houston County Agriculture Agent Charlotte Mote was on a team of county employees that served up pecan crusted chicken and a strawberry pico de gallo. The recipe included pecan flour made by Cleveland Organics in Fort Valley. The strawberries were from a you-pick farm in Rochelle.

She said having an event dedicated to local produce is a great idea.

“I love it,” she said. “I’ve always been one to promote locally grown food because I think it tastes better, especially things like tomatoes. Anything you allow to ripen on the vine is going to taste better than something that has to be picked green and shipped.”

She said the number of people interested in growing their own food is definitely increasing. The extension office recently held an event for people interested in small scale farming. On Wednesday, they are having a class focused solely on growing tomatoes, which is the most popular garden vegetable.

Lori Freeman, co-chair of Localicious, said she expects it will become an annual event.

“We just wanted to bring about awareness of local food, connect people with local farmers and educate people on where they can find local foods,” she said.

The event, held on a lot behind the Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center, also included local art and local musicians.

Visitors bought tickets that allowed them to sample the food of each contestant.

Will and Liz Greenwood of Warner Robins were among those who came out for the event, and said they were enjoying it. Will Greenwood said he would like to buy local foods but needs to know more about where to find it.

“If it’s locally grown, it’s bound to be fresher because you don’t have to worry about the shipping time,” he said.

Ticket holders voted on which dish they like the best. The winner was Cherokee Pines Golf and Fitness Club, formerly Perry Country Club. Three chefs also judged the contest, and that winner was Two of Tarts, a team from Macon Community Health Works.

Approximately 200 people attended the event. Proceeds will benefit the International City Farmer’s Market.

In recent years interest in locally grown food has increased nationwide as more people look for food that didn’t require a ride across the country on the back of a truck to make it to the dinner table.

As a part of the event, the Warner Robins Heritage Society opened Mildred’s Country Store, a small wooden building next to Elberta Train Depot. The store, believed to be more than 100 years old, once operated at the corner of U.S. 41 and Todd Road.

It is filled with various antiques, including some curious tools and farm implements. People were invited to stop by Saturday and help identify what some were used for.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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