Interesting Food Vendors ...

Good Food Conference - interviews with Gene Mealhow, Mark Wilhelms, and Lee Greene.The day before we headed out to the Flower Show (two weekends ago), Ed attended the Good Food Festival & Conference down at the UIC Forum and shot a bunch of mini-interviews. As you could guess from the show name, this was about food, and the pieces he came back with were all in that ballpark, but basically split between “green tech” things and “interesting products”. Rather than doing individual posts about the latter, I figured we’d put all of those into this one, and follow up with the others in the next few days.

The folks Ed talked to were, generally speaking, representing a “roots” movement in food, from one vendor featuring a “prehistoric native” corn, another who is a distributor for an array of “heirloom” products, to a third who is re-imagining old-style meat marketing.

First among these was Gene Mealhow of Tiny But Mighty Popcorn, which markets a popcorn based on a fortuitously-discovered (it’s a fascinating story) cache of an ancient line of smaller, high-flavor corn.

Next Ed had a visit with Mark Wilhelms of Red Meat Market, which “features all natural, organic or grass-fed beef, pork and lamb products raised in SW Wisconsin and northern Illinois” and is trying to bring back the feel of dealing with the neighborhood meat market. I’ve known Mark through the local Social Media scene, and he’s quite a character (as you can tell from this video).

Finally, there’s Lee Greene of The Scrumptious Pantry, who says of their philosophy: “We take these hand-grown ingredients and transform them in small batches, using recipes that are deeply rooted in the culinary heritage of the region. To achieve this, we use regional heirloom vegetables, flavors or processes. Their line of branded products are primarily sourced from small family farms.

As I wasn’t at this show, I can’t add much here (I would have loved to have gotten in on some of the product sampling!), so you’ll have to check out their web sites. Again, these were the “product” videos that Ed brought back, and in the next couple of days we’ll have some others more on the service/organization side of things.

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