Friday, December 04, 2009

Wyoming locavores strive to be creative

This comes from the Northern Colorado Food Incubator:

Cheyenne will host two winter farmers' markets this fall, patterned after the Fort Collins Winter Market model. One was held Nov. 7; the next one will be held indoors on Saturday, December 5, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Cheyenne Depot Museum in downtown Cheyenne. Please note, due to careful planning, the Cheyenne and Fort Collins market dates do not conflict so that vendors may attend all markets. FMI: click here

The flyer for the event advertised "local foods grown, raised or created within 150 miles of Cheyenne, Wyoming." Often, you hear locavores talking about food grown, raised or created within 50 miles of home. But in high, dry and cold Cheyenne, you have to boost the radius 100 miles in all directions. Mainy south, toward the Front Range breadbaskets of Wellington, Fort Collins, Denver and almost all the way to Colorado Springs. It also includes the northeastern Colorado wheat and corn fields of Sterling and Fort Morgan into cornhusker territory in western Nebraska. Food crops are grown in some of eastern Wyoming's lower elevations around Torrington and Lusk and Wheatland.

You get the picture -- Cheyenne locavores have to forage far and wide for our food. I've written before about some of Laramie County's food producers (see We do better in the meat department than we do in fruits and veggies. At our summer and fall farmers markets, fruit comes in from northwestern Colorado and Utah. That's way beyond the locavore radius, but it's hard to dwell on semantics when you have the juice of a Wasatch Front peach dribbling down your chin.

Vegetarian locavores have one hell of a time in Cheyenne. It's a different story for meat-eaters, especially if you're a locavore and a hunter. Several hunters I know stick close to home, hunting elk and deer and antelope in the Medicine Bows and Snowy Range and down into Colorado's Roosevelt National Forest. When they "harvest" an animal, its edible parts go into to freezer for locavoring throughout the winter. I know that many people who actually use the term "locavore" don't approve of hunting. In fact, I've heard that it's on the list of the NRA's forbidden words list, along with "vegetarian," "liberal" and "Obama." But some hunters may be a lot more "The L Word" that I am. That's "L" as in locavore. What did you think I meant?

I like the fact that the Cheyenne and Fort Collins farmers market dates do not conflict. That's an encouraging sign and shows that the Northern Colorado Food Incubator includes southeast Wyoming in its planning. I also like the fact that the CWFM lists a bundle of sponsors, including the Wyoming Farmers Market Association (I didn't know there was such a thing) and several individual sponsors "who believe in the local food movement."

Get down to the Depot tomorrow for some bison and salsa and local honey and pumpkins and eggs from free range hens and baked goods from organic Wyoming wheat.

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