New day for Taste of Woolwich in its 11th year

For this outing, popular event moves from Monday evening to Saturday morning at Elmira Farmers’ Market

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Woolwich Healthy Community’s popular Taste of Woolwich will be back again this year on June 17 at the Elmira Farmer’s Market, but with a new twist.

Coming into its eleventh year the annual event gives the community the opportunity to meet local food producers, buy and taste local food and discover new recipes.

For the first time, the event will be held on a Saturday morning instead of a Monday evening.

“Taste of Woolwich previously has been located at different churches in the area so it would be a Monday night event because farmers usually aren’t as busy Monday nights,” said Amy Sonnenberg, registered holistic nutritionist and a member of the organizing committee. “That format worked really, really well for a long time. But this year we thought maybe we should shake things up a bit and really draw people to the Elmira Farmer’s Market that is happening every Saturday morning here in Elmira.”

Celebrating their tenth anniversary last year, they felt they had achieved the goal of drawing people’s attention to eating local before they reevaluated Taste of Woolwich.

“‘Is this still valuable and useful? Is this a good thing for the community?’ and the answer was yes, but let’s re-imagine what that could look like, let’s offer some activities in the day time and really pull those people into the downtown core. We really love, love, love that Krista was a part of it, sharing the space that we will be using for part of the events, so that will be fun. I’m really excited to see it come alive,” said Sonnenberg.

Krista McBay, manager and owner of the Elmira Home Hardware, was approached to see if she would be interested in participating in the Taste of Woolwich, as the market is held in her parking lot.

“I actually thought I was going to a meeting, now I am the host,” said McBay. “So we decided we would see what we could do to add to the excitement and bring in local talent, so we have asked The Cooking Ladies to come.”

The Cooking Ladies, Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay, who will be performing two demos, write cookbooks and travel all over North America and beyond coming up with new recipes and tastes of those areas.

“They fit perfectly into what we wanted to do,” said McBay.

It was important to the committee to have lots of kids’ activities at the Saturday morning event.

“We will also have an area for kids activities, we are excited to have children come and plant a mini garden, we will be doing a little bit of a beehive information session, which will be neat. There will be some animals, big tractor rides that day, there all kinds of really fun stuff to get the kids involved,” said Sonnenberg.

This is the first time the event is open to additional farmers outside of the Farmer’s Market vendors, the committee felt this would be a great way to introduce producers that the public may not have known about.

“We want to encourage people to come shop at the market, but also find the farmers that maybe aren’t at the market on a regular basis and find out where they are located to then go and visit them at their lanes or shops,” said Sonnenberg.

“Kind of a tradeoff, too, is we are bringing the additional vendors to the farmers’ market hopefully they will be interested in possibly being an additional vendor at the market and grow that to have a more vibrant market downtown Elmira. That’s what its all about is keeping people local, shopping local,” said McBay.

Beyond supporting local farmers, the market’s goal is to support the local businesses in Elmira and reach some of the new families who have moved into the area.

Sonnenberg, who herself attended Taste of Woolwich with her family for years, had the opportunity to participate last year and will be doing a green smoothie demonstration this year as well.

“So for me it just fits into that wheelhouse because when I am talking to clients I am talking about eating local, eating fresh and so the opportunity to be on a committee that draws families kids in to eating well and eating local was right up my alley, so I am all about laying that foundation of eating whole foods and it starts with the kids and I am really excited to be a part of that,” she explained.

The new Buy Local! Buy Fresh! food map will be presented to event attendees in conjunction with the event.

“It is really great, it is a really neat visual map that plots local farmers if they wish to participate on a map of Woolwich Township which is obviously quite large and then on the back of it is a write up that corresponds with the farm that says this is what we sell, these are our hours you can call ahead or just stop in. It also talks about who is doing organic, grass-fed, free range, what is in season – for a little piece of paper, it is a really great tool,” said Sonnenberg. “So it is all about getting people to eat local and realize we have such an abundance within walking distance.”

The event starts at 9 a.m. on June 17 no matter what the weather.

“We have a big tent, so we have a backup plan. We will all be cozy and enjoy activities under the tent. Don’t be discouraged if people wake up and it’s a little rainy – still come, we will be there rain or shine,” said Sonnenberg.