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Jun 14, 2011
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Life in the Tetons

Food Raves

Food Raves

I always get a slightly sickish panic just before a party that I’ve organized starts. I worry no one will show, and feel naked and overdressed at the same time. Because my friends are usually “fashionably late,” I really get myself in a tizzy dreaming up disaster scenarios that never happen. But last Friday night, when I pulled into the Wildwood Room parking lot in Victor at 5:03 pm (set-up duties responsible for my wet hair from a 4:50pm shower at my nearby home), the lot was filled. By 5:30 the cars were lined out to Highway 33. Fueled by a craving for local food, over 500 “locavores” came out of hibernation from both sides of Teton Pass to eat, drink, play, and reconnect with friends after a long, long winter at the 5th Annual Locavore's Night Out.

Our own rural version of a food rave” (a term stolen from NYT article this week on a hot national trend),  a Locavore’s Night Out was originally dreamed up with the help of Molly Bagnato from the Murie Center as part of a series of Earth Day events; we wanted to showcase local food producers and help them connect with customers. I had just returned from my first trip to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre and the Salone del Gusto  in Italy, and suggested an event that copied the Salone model of a Farmers' Market setup but with free samples and a chance to talk to producers as the goal, as opposed to just selling food. We asked Bill Boney from Dining In to try to make a local meal—not an easy task in April. That first year we were impressed that he came up with a local beef burger and enough salad greens to go around. This year he could have started a new restaurant with his menu.

This year’s highlights? The diversity. There were over twenty tables of local cheese, beer, wine, breads, sauces and spreads, soup mixes, candies, supplements, Tram Bars, cold frames, beef, beef, and more beef, a whole side of rotisserie pork, CSA sign ups, greens, and raw milk. The six succulent choices on Bill Boney’s menu reflected this diversity. The “Aspen’s Market Spiedini”—sausage stuffed in lamb casing, rolled into a pinwheel, skewered then grilled and served with Cosmic Apple roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and carrots brought me as close to Italy as I can afford right now. My kids scarffed the “All Local Cheesesteak Sandwich” made with 460 bread, Teton Waters’  beef, Teton Valley Creamery’s alpine-style cheese, caramelized onions, and Snowdrift Farms salad greens. Sue Ciscero, chef at the Senior Center in Driggs, was assisting Bill and rumor has it she was the hand behind the vibrant, decadent green and red “Pasta Puttanesca” made with organic tomatoes, local garlic, HD Dunn and Sons beef sausage, Snowdrift Farm pork sausage, Cosmic Apple pepperoni, and Lark’s Meadow aged sheep’s cheese… and that was just half the menu!

This year’s Locavore’s Night Out was a kick off for the Slow Food in the Tetons’ Food Census , which is part of our new initiative, the Teton Food Project. Over the next month we will survey local farmers and food producers, consumers, chefs, and other institutions (hospitals, schools, resorts) to determine the current state of local food production and consumption, community needs, and level of commitment to change. We hope to use this data to guide our strategic planning process and compile a document that can be used by food business entrepreneurs, other government and civic groups (Chambers, business development, land use). Friday night we worried people might not want to take the time to fill out the long questionnaire, but they bellied up to the bar and there was plenty of furious scribbling. I like to think it was more than the promise of a free raffle ticket that was responsible for the enthusiasm. Everyone who eats is encouraged to fill it out and there are separate surveys specifically for producers and chefs. These will be available online or one can be emailed by contacting tetonslowfood@gmail.com

If we stopped today, I’d say our vision of a diverse and vibrant food community has become a reality. But we are just getting started ...


Sue Muncaster is the editor of Teton Family Magazine and board president of Slow Food in the Tetons.

Thanks to Slow Food in the Tetons/ Locavore’s Night Out Sponsors:
Grand Targhee Resort
The Jackson Whole Grocer
Intermountain Aquatics
The Aspens Market
Yostmark Mountain Sports
Trail Creek Nursery
Idaho Preferred
MD Nursery
Snake River Brewing
Grand Teton Brewing
Teton Family Magazine

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About This Blog

Michael McCoy

Editor Michael McCoy is a native Wyomingite who, through no choice of his own, moved to Iowa (“the third greatest state in the nation,” he says) when he was only a few weeks old. After high school graduation, he beelined it back to the University of Wyoming, where he earned a degree in Anthropology and the nickname of “Mac.” In addition to his Teton-area editorial duties, Mac works for the Missoula, Montana-based Adventure Cycling Association and writes freelance articles and books about the outdoors. “But that’s enough about me,” he says. “This blog is about you. I will prime the pump with an entry now and then--but ultimately, we hope it will be our readers, both locals and out-of-staters, who keep the streams of conversation flowing.”




Contributing blogger Susan Traylor Lykes was born and raised in the Denver area, a third-generation Coloradan. She spent much of her childhood in the mountains, and took up fly fishing at the tender age of ten, wielding her grandfather’s old bamboo rod and Pflueger reel. After graduating from the University of Vermont, Susan earned a master's degree in Town Planning from the University of Montana. For the past decade, she has focused on nonprofit land conservation and land use, serving on the boards of the Land Trust Alliance, the Teton Regional Land Trust, and the Orton Family Foundation.
Susan and her husband, Mayo, call both sides of the Tetons home. They are enthusiastic travelers and outdoorsmen — hiking, skiing, fly fishing, and bird hunting.




Contributing blogger Jeanne Anderson is a Cheyenne native and graduate of the University of Wyoming who has spent the last 25 years as a writer, PR consultant, columnist, and editor. Her passions include hiking, cooking reading, traveling, community, and creativity (she’s in her third term on the Idaho Commission on the Arts). She credits her broad practical streak to her parents, who started the first travel agency in the Cowboy State—from them she learned “every bathroom in the world is down the hall and to the left.” Jeanne and her husband Peter started Dark Horse Books in Driggs in 1995; their two-year experiment lasted 14 years. Now out from behind the bookstore counter, she’s looking forward to many new adventures.



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