TERRE HAUTE —
Vanilla ice cream covered in blueberries put smiles on the faces of the Oberste-Vorth family on Thursday during the Terre Foods Blueberry Fest at Central Presbyterian Church.
Ten-year-old Troy helped little brother Alex, 2, dip into the creamy cool treat while mother Jamie shared a bowl of blueberry sundae with seven-year-old Petra.
As new member-owners of the Terre Foods Cooperative Market, the family became part of a growing effort to benefit local growers and the local economy by providing more access to organic and natural foods.
“We’ve been thinking about it every since we moved here,” Jamie said of joining Terre Foods. “It’s a good organization to support. It supports local farmers and businesses, and good nutrition, and it supports everybody locally.”
The primary goal of Thursday’s Blueberry Fest was to add members so the local store can open, said Terre Foods board member Lorrie Heber.
Membership was at 450 prior to the first sale of fresh blueberries, and the goal was to add 25 members throughout the day.
By early afternoon, seven new members had been added at a rate of $200.
The group needs to hit 600 members before local banks will consider working with the group on financing the business venture.
“Essentially, we don’t have a site,” festival coordinator Holly Hudson said, “but when we reach a certain point in our membership, it will send us back to the banks.”
Site selection for the market is open at this point, she said, but the focus for the site will be in the downtown area.
The grassroots efforts of Terre Foods has growing support not only locally, but also from compatriots in Bloomington where the Blooming Foods cooperative is getting ready to expand to its fourth market. Several Blooming Foods members assisted at the Blueberry Fest, where tents protected event goers from the sun while local entertainers serenaded the audience.
Performer Tom Roznowski, or “Roz,” brought his guitar, harmonica, and mixture of American folk, blues and country tunes back for a third year.
“It’s a great event,” he said. “I spend a lot of time in Terre Haute.”
A resident of Bloomington, Roz is a member of both Blooming Foods and Terre Foods, and he sees the trend toward locally-grown food as part of an awakening of society.
“Ultimately, what converts people is the taste,” he said, noting that a fresh tomato from a small farm has a much different taste than a red tomato grown hydroponically. “This is food that appeals to you on every sensory level, whether it’s taste or sight or smell. With modern technology, people are separate from the natural sources of food. A lot of folks are embracing this (whole foods) for themselves and for generations to come.”
Many of today’s youth, and even many adults, do not know where their food comes from or how it is grown, A farmer’s market makes the connection between people and their food sources, he said.
Roz also predicts that Terre Foods, like Blooming Foods, will become a social connecting place in the community.
“In Bloomington, we have found it is a magnet for people to gather at the farmer’s market, and drink coffee, and talk with friends. It becomes a source for community,” he said. “I find its true in the relationship with Blooming Foods, and I bet it will become true with Terre Foods. A lot of people will use it to connect socially.”
The Blueberry Fest was a prime example of that on Thursday. Whether it was through the various vendors offering nutritious food, information on Indiana bats, or by listening to the musical variety while enjoying a bowl of fresh blueberries, festival-goers made face-to-face connections with others interested in supporting Terre Foods.
For more information on the Terre Foods Cooperative Market, go online to www.terrefoods.org.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.