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Chattin: Jamie Purcell

Creator of Food for Thought Jamie Purcell poses for a portrait Thursday inside a greenhouse at one of the organization's four Casper-based gardens.

Wyoming Food for Thought is taking its annual community dinner, Localicious, on the road to the True family-owned VR Ranch just south of Glenrock on Friday.

The local foods celebration is open to the public and tickets are available in advance and at the event, which begins at 4 p.m. and is set to end by dusk.

We chatted with Jamie Purcell of Food for Thought about the event and other program highlights.

Tell us about the event. We’re going to feature multiple chefs creating the most amazing culinary creations, a bar featuring local brews and the highlight of a partnership between Food for Thought and Backwards Distilling — the Casper Mountain Gin. All the food and drink will be sourced as locally as possible. Gates open at 4 p.m., we sit down to dinner at the longest table at 5:30 p.m. and once dinner and dessert are served, folks are free to leave or stay and visit under a lighted tent as sunset approaches. It’s just 21 miles from the east side of Casper to the ranch and easily accessible from the first Glenrock interstate exit (exit 165). Just head south from the exit (Deer Creek Road), and you can’t miss it. There will be signs as well.

How do folks unfamiliar know exactly where to go? Once you get your tickets, I will send them a very well-written map. If they need to buy tickets walk-up, they can call the office and we’ll walk them through.

How much are the tickets and how do people get them in advance? $75 apiece or $125 per couple, and this is a very gourmet meal. The whole experience, including the venue, is very upscale and we think the ticket price supports that. Tickets can be purchased online at tinyurl.com/Localicious2019, on the Facebook event or by calling the Food for Thought Urban Farm and Program Center at 337-1703.

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This will really give folks a chance to get close to food providers. Absolutely. When they arrive, there will be vendors set up around the grand lawn, and they can actually meet people who create food face-to-face. Chef Calvin Colling is creating our main plate, pork three ways, with a locally raised pig that a 4Her grew. At the time of the livestock sale, it wasn’t quite big enough, but Reliant Federal Credit Union bought it anyway for us for this event. Other vendors include Grab & Go Gourmet, Flour Bin, Green Tower Farms, chefs from Glenrock’s Paisley Shawl, Cowbell Catering, Troy’s Killer Tacos, Penny Cow, Bootlegger Liquor, Pathfinder Coffee, Sunshine Valley Ranch, Jammin’ with Patti and Frosted Tops.

Tell us about your food bags for children. School has started now and on the first day, we had 350 kids who we serve through Natrona County schools, and also we are serving Glenrock now. We fully expect to have 800 by the end of the month. Referrals come from school personnel, and it takes them a bit sometimes to be aware of who is going hungry over the weekend.

And you can always use packing and driving volunteers? Always. We pack at the program center, 900 St. John, every Wednesday at 4 p.m. All of our free gardens in the city are ready for harvesting — Urban Farm at James Reeb Park, 900 Saint John; 10th & Cedar, 916 W. 10th St.; Dallason Park, 411 N. Melrose and RavenCrest Apartments, 4701 W. Tranquility Way — and we also need garden volunteers. And please remind folks that those free gardens are for everyone, no questions asked. Go pick some free food for you and your family.

Your final summer market is Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at David Street Station. How has the season been? It’s the best season we’ve ever had. It’s really neat to see people used to it being there and coming prepared to shop. They are coming specifically to get these local products now. Families are staying and hanging out on the lawn and so there is a fun festival feeling, but we are really starting to increase the benefit to the local economy with the market aspect itself.

What’s the update on the Good Food Hub at 420 W. First St.? The Winter Market starts the first Saturday in October from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and goes until construction in the building makes it stop. Meanwhile, the incubator kitchen remodel is nearly complete and we should be able to rent that in the next week or two. We have about 20 people who seriously want to use it right away. The visions are all coming together and we are rolling toward local food as an option for all.

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Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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