I’ve Met The Locals & They Are Wonderful

In 2018, my husband and I moved to our little slice of farming heaven north of Menomonie. We did not know a soul in the area, but within our first week we attended the Annual Meeting of the Menomonie Market Food Co-op. One trip, and we were hooked. As new livestock farmers, my husband and I were interested in getting to know like-minded farmers with whom we could connect and grow. A pretty difficult task when starting from nothing, but easy enough if you have MMFC’s Meet The Locals Program to act as a cheat sheet!

Over the past three years, I have indeed “Met The Locals” that make up the amazing local vendors of MMFC, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their friendship, mentorship, and guidance throughout this time. These are men and women who are leading by example in this community and who bust their rear ends every day bringing us such amazing products and wonderful food. And in between all that, they are generous with their time and resources, giving back to their communities and taking greenhorns like myself under their wing!

Erin Link at EB Ranch has taught me how to slaughter, skin, and process a sheep. Rachel Henderson at Mary Dirty Face Farm and Lauren and Caleb Langworthy at Blue Ox Farm have welcomed us with open arms into the Wisconsin Farmers Union. Meg Wittenmyer at Bifrost Farms has a devoted lover of her goat milk lotion but has also helped our farm by sharing equipment and her marketing know-how. Veronika Zazovsky of Beloved Acres Farm has shown us the way to becoming successful farmers market vendors here in Menomonie. Les Macare and Els Dobrik of Racing Heart Farm have shared in the trials and tribulations of farming in a landscape rich with wildlife that have just as much of a taste for their vegetables as you and me!

The farmers and vendors that make up the locals at MMFC are one of our most valuable community resources. When other grocery stores have encountered supply issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MMFC has been at least partially insulated from the shock thanks to the growing percentage of our inventories that come to us from local vendors. I am proud to purchase their products and call them my friends and mentors, and I hope that one day I can pay it forward.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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