Written by Katie Rosenberg
There’s nothing better than heavy, juicy blueberries that are still warm from being picked on a lovely July morning.
Unless, maybe, you have steaming-hot corn on the cob slathered in melted butter and salt on an August afternoon.
Then again, if you’ve ever tried homemade caprese salad made with an heirloom brandywine tomato and hand-stretched mozzarella, you might believe that you’ve tasted heaven.
I’ve gorged myself on all of these things, and the best part is:
They were all produced within 25 miles of my house!
If Wisconsin is the heart of farm-fresh foods, then Marathon County is the hotbed, churning out some of the most delicious and creative local foods around. That’s due in part to the dedicated gourmands who partner with local farmers to celebrate Wisconsin’s place in the foodie universe.
You might have met Geoffrey Huys at the Wausau Farmer’s Market or maybe while enjoying a pizza at Stoney Acres on a Friday night or perhaps at Red Eye Brewing Company, throwing back a pint. Huys is one of the founders of Slow Food Marathon County, a group dedicated to impacting and changing the local food system through:
“Food that is good, clean, and fair for all.”
It may sound like a lofty goal, but changing the world through your eating habits isn’t impossible.
“It means you are conscious about what you eat, where it comes from, and who helped to grow it and get it into your hands,” said Huys. “Once in my possession, it means taking time to prepare good food and enjoy eating it, sometimes sharing it with others. One of our posters says something like, ‘Buy local, eat seasonal, and know your farmer.’”
We’re lucky in Marathon County that we have so many options to choose from when it comes to buying directly from our local farmers. The Farmer’s Market of Wausau (and several other farmer’s markets and stands across the county) are officially open for the season.
I asked Huys if he thought I could find everything I needed for a Sunday dinner at the farmer’s market.
“If you eat seasonally, one of the things we really promote, then I’d say, ‘Almost!’ Personally, for the past 2 years, I’ve spent 90% of my food budget at the summer and winter markets and used the grocery stores for the few things I can’t get there or I run out of and need in a hurry,” Huys noted. “Shopping the market takes a little more time and effort, but the tradeoff for such fresh and locally grown food is worth the effort.”
Slow Food Marathon County is more than just an advocacy group, it’s a community. The group has a board of 8–10 dedicated volunteers who send out emails and Facebook posts to hundreds upon hundreds of local enthusiasts. When they get together, you can expect a delicious and meaningful gathering.
“We’ve held classes and demonstrations, done food samplings, had movie nights featuring films with relevant themes, held potluck dinners (because we like to eat), and provided monthly dinners for the women in the shelter at The Women’s Community,” Huys noted.
The group also held its first “slow meat” dinner last fall. According to Huys:
“We recently held a fundraising event called The Maple Syrup Celebration, and now we are exploring a number of ideas for ways we can do things that give back more to the community.”
You can learn more about Slow Food Marathon County on their Facebook page. If you’re interested in joining, simply join Slow Food USA and indicate you’d like to connect with the chapter in Marathon County.
To help you get started cooking and eating local ingredients, here’s a list of all the farmer’s markets in the area.
And if you’re curious about which local foods Huys can’t live without, don’t worry! I asked… He said:
“That is a tough question, because there are so many things. I love the fresh eggs that are available at the markets, particularly Ninepatch Farms, but I LOVE the fantastic garlic I get every fall from Dan Meyers. It makes me want to add garlic to everything.”
Marathon County Board Supervisor | District 1
Katie Rosenberg is a Marathon County Board Supervisor representing District 1. She is passionate about engaging the community and is active on social media and in organizing neighborhood constituent meetings with her Wausau City Council counterpart, Alderman Pat Peckham. In her free time, you can find Katie enjoying the outdoors with her husband on bike, on roller skates, and in trail shoes. She also enjoys attending all manner of political events, traveling the world, and cooking up a mean vegetarian soup. Email Katie Rosenberg
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