Advertising in the local paper and on the radio is a great way to get your name out to your potential customers, but you still have to convince them to come to you. What if, instead, you went to them?
That’s the idea behind the upcoming Bounty of the Bitterroot… and Beyond “all local” show at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds on November 10.
“The goal is to have all the local producers of just about anything gathered together under one roof, so local folks can see what’s actually available right in the valley,” said Victoria Howell, publisher of the Bitterroot Star which is sponsoring the show.
“We want the beef producers, the fruit producers, wine, beer, food, art, furniture, you name it, to come and show off their products and services. We’re also inviting all the non-profit groups to participate as well.”
The Bitterroot Star is the valley’s only locally owned newspaper and for years has been promoting the benefits of shopping locally. But people aren’t always aware of what’s available “right in their own backyard,” says Howell. For example, local beef, sausage, chocolate, eggs and vegetables are seasonally available at the Star’s office in Stevensville. The producers of those products will no doubt be part of the November show.
“Over time, we’ve noticed that the demand for locally produced items has been steadily growing,” says Howell. “People seem to feel much safer when they know where the stuff they eat comes from. We have the space and so we’ve been able to act as an outlet for these products at the Star office. It’s kind of an unusual mix but it seems to be working.”
Darla Coleman, owner of Sleeping Child Farms and the Farm Table Restaurant south of Hamilton, will be providing the lunch at the Bounty of the Bitterroot show. The Farm Table Restaurant is a full service restaurant open year round that strives to follow the seasons and feature as much locally grown and produced food as possible – Coleman grows much of the vegetables and berries right on the farm in the 1.5 acre organic garden.
“For the Bounty of the Bitterroot show we will feature fresh hearty homemade soup, gourmet sandwiches and delicious salads along with our famous streudel and sausage rolls,” said Coleman.
“We’re so happy to have Darla providing the food,” said Howell. “This fits right in with our hopes for the show,” said Howell. “We just want to showcase everything local.”
Why is it important to support locally owned producers and businesses?
“It’s really just a big circle,” said Howell. “We have a logo we use at the Star that illustrates this perfectly. Around the outside of a circle are these words that describe the Bitterroot Star business philosophy: ‘A local business supporting other local businesses supporting local groups and clubs supporting local people supporting a local business…’ This is how our community survives. This is truly local economic sustainability.”
Howell said there are still vendor spaces available for the Bounty of the Bitterroot Show. Anyone interested can contact her at 777-3928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.