Local Food

Butcher Josh Barhaug trims meat at Grant Street Grocery in January, soon after the business reopened following an extensive remodel. A new program by the Wyoming Business Council will help promote locally-produced foods.

File, Star-Tribune

A variety of meat, fish and cheese are for sale at the Grant Street Grocery and Market in Casper, but none of it was raised or produced in the state, according to co-owner Lindsey Grant.

Salsa and a honey-vinegar sauce are the only Wyoming items are sold by the specialty market, but Grant said she hopes that will change. She would actually prefer to stock food from local farms and ranches — provided they follow all the proper regulations — because she wants to support the state’s economy.

“I am very interested in locally-made products, if we increase their availability,” she said.

Grant isn’t the only one intrigued by this idea.

The demand for local products is growing, which is why the Wyoming Business Council recently launched Grown in Wyoming, according to a press release from the council. Local producers who join the program will receive market exposure through consulting, promotion and brand campaigns, and will be featured in materials directed toward grocery stores and restaurants.

The council also encourages retailers and restaurants looking to purchase locally-sourced foods to use the program to connect with producers.

Briana Tanaka, the council’s agriculture and international trade coordinator, said Wednesday that the state has plenty of local products to offer.

“Beef is one of our greatest commodities,” she said. “We also produce a lot of sugar, and we have distilleries and wineries and breweries coming into the state that are using local wheat and grain in their products.”

The ultimate goal of the program is to keep more money in the state, which fits in with the council’s mission to increase economic prosperity in Wyoming, said Tanaka. The council has already received positive feedback on the program, which started two weeks ago.

Jim Magagna, the executive vice-president for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, said he thinks many local producers could benefit from having their products promoted.

“I think we are very excited to see [this program],” he said. “So much has changed in marketing products today.”

Magana said there’s “no question” that the demand for locally produced food is growing, especially among the younger generations. Many people like to know where their food is coming from, and appreciate the fresher quality of local products.

Annual membership fees are currently $35, but will increase to $100 in August, according to the program’s website. Those interested in becoming members can visit the website at www.growninwyoming.org

Katie King covers the city of Casper.

0
0
0
0
6

Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

Load comments