Marketing the Native Understory: Selling Driftless Hazelnuts, Aronia and Mushrooms Direct to Chefs
Thursday, June 27, 2013 9:30-4pm
Viroqua & Viola, WI
Hosted by: Rooted Spoon Culinary, Viroqua, WI and New Forest Farm, Viola, WI in collaboration with the Hazelnut Development Initiative, the Midwest Aronia Growers Association, and the UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.
Hazelnuts and aronia are newly emerging, cultivated woody perennial crops in the Upper Midwest, and wild mushrooms are part of a long tradition of foraging in this region. These “forest products” can help chefs create locally-sourced signature dishes, and can help landowners supplement and diversify their income.
Selling direct to chefs may be an important way for growers and foragers to get their products to market, invigorate production and develop the necessary processing infrastructure. One of the main barriers to chefs purchasing local products is a lack of information about crop attributes or availability. With this in mind, the UW-CIAS is working with local partners to connect chefs and growers from around the Driftless Region at this event. Throughout the day, growers and chefs will have opportunities to develop contacts with potential buyers and suppliers.
Two panel discussions will address the marketing of these crops. Chefs will speak to their experience working with forest products from local growers. Hazelnut and aronia growers, and a mushroom forager, will share their experience marketing to local restaurants.
After a lunch at Rooted Spoon Culinary highlighting some of these forest products, the venue will shift to New Forest Farm in Viola, WI (about a half-hour drive). Here, attendees will tour the largest hazelnut planting in Wisconsin situated within this perennial permaculture farm. Please, no sandals on the farm tour. Check back for updates on the agenda and participating organizations.
Marketing the Native Understory agenda
9:00-9:30 Sign-in, registration, coffee
9:30-9:45 Welcome and introductions – Norm Erickson, hazelnut grower and Master of Ceremonies. Also, Dani Lind, chef; Brady Williams & Michelle Miller, UW-CIAS
9:45-10:45 Grower Panel: Norm Erickson, Rochester, MN , hazelnuts; Michael Mathiasen, St. Charles, IA, aronia; Joe Skulan, Lodi, WI, foraged mushrooms.
11:00-12:15 Chef Panel: Chef Ryan Boughton, One Eleven Main, Galena, IL; Monique Hooker, chef and author of Cooking with the Seasons: A Year in My Kitchen; Brad Niemcek, Kickapoo Culinary Center
12:15-1:00 Lunch and informal networking
1:00-1:20 Lessons from value-added nut enterprises in the Midwest: 5 case studies –Brady Williams
1:20-1:40 Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative, Jeff Jensen, President Minnesota Hazelnut Foundation (invited) and Jason Fischbach, UW Extension – Bayfield County (invited) and Midwest Aronia Association, Phil Mueller.
1:40-2:00 Unstructured networking
2:00 Leave for Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm in Viola to tour hazelnut and aronia plantings and learn about permaculture systems.
The registration fee for this event is $10. Space is limited to the first 80 people to register. Register on-line
Some of the businesses sending representatives include:
- Weaver Gardens, Altura, MN
- Proudwpirit Farm, Viola, WI
- Ecker’s Apple Farm, Trempealeau, WI
- The Root Note, LaCrosse, WI
- Walnut Bluffs Farm, Canton, MN
- Star Valley Flowers, Soldiers Grove
- Bellbrook Berry Farm, Brooklyn, WI
- Strause Farms, Rio, WI
Representatives from the following towns and cities have registered:
- Waunakee, WI
- Cedar Rapids, IA
- Milwaukee, WI
- Spring Green, WI
- Necedah, WI
- Prairie du Chien, WI
- Johnson Creek, WI
- Luana, IA
- Decorah, IA
- St. Charles, IA
- Rochester, MN
- Stoddard, WI
- West Bend, WI
- Black River Falls, WI
- Highland, WI
- Rib Lake, WI