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Local Farmers Host Fun Food Festival

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Jennifer Krell Davis

The area’s locally-owned farms host the Seventh Annual Seven Days of Local Delights starting this Sunday, Jan. 19. The event is a showcase of the bounty produced by members of the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance.

Here’s just one of the participants:

“(I’m) Katie Harris, Red Hills Small Farm Alliance board member and Full Earth Farm manager.”

She said America is seeing a surge in the number of owner-operated small farms.

“We’re also seeing a growth in the number of area farms as well, which is huge! The fact we have more people coming on and they feel they can make a go at it. It’s a risky business, kind of like running a restaurant.”

Speaking of which, Harris said part of the reason for the growth in the local farm business is the fact there are more customers for the food they produce, including Tallahassee’s venerable New Leaf Market, which just underwent some big changes.

“They just changed management and they’re really making an effort to buy local, which is really helpful. They can move a lot. And we have more restaurants than ever that are buying local produce and other ingredients from local producers and participating in Seven Days as well.”

Harris said the event will include a number of aspects.

“We’re going to have local food-themed workshops going on throughout the week, ranging from cooking classes to teaching you how to deal with seasonal food, which can be a challenge, so this is a real cool thing.” There will also be help for those who want to be producers as well as consumers.

“There will also be workshops on raised-bed gardening and a food swap, which is a cool thing. There’s also a kids’ gardening event, which is a ‘My Garden’ project, so there’s really something for everyone and most of the workshops this year are either free, or a small donation.”

Of course, after a week of talking about delicious, home-grown food, everyone should be pretty hungry.

“And we’re ending it with a grand finale of a fundraiser/brunch at Kool Beanz in their private room. Keith Baxter the owner and chef will be preparing a meal much like the Red Hills Special with ingredients from all of our Red Hills Farm Alliance members, all of our local farmers.”

Harris said the entire schedule of Seven Days of Local Delights happenings, January 19th through the 26th is at: www.redhillsfarmalliance.com