MARQUETTE — The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts sales of locally produced foods, which hit $12 billion in 2014, will surge to $20 billion by 2019.
In the U.P., locally-produced foods are in great demand.
Zach Quinnell, Store Manager of Tadych’s Econo Foods, says, “We have well over 500 local items, anything from coffee, to olive oil, to tea, to pizza, to bread, from one end of the U.P. to the next.”
The demand for local products seems to be growing.
Mike Lavigne, Store Manager at Super One Foods says, “Local products in Super One Foods is very important, we pride ourselves on offering local products, and it helps us support our local vendors and our local community.”
Super One Foods has 30 stores spread across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula, while Tadych’s Econo Food has half-a-dozen stores throughout the U.P. ranging from Houghton to Iron Mountain, and Marquette.
Quinnell continues, “We try our hardest to get as many local items as we can. We like the local feel to help out whether it’s farmers, a smaller manufacturer, even some of our bigger local manufacturers like Black Rocks Beer.”
Another growing U.P. product is salsa. Whether it’s from Marquette or Munising or Ishpeming, it is popular.
Rosie Pietila, owner of Rozie’s Relsa says, “She encouraged me one day while she was over at my house eating some of my Relsa and she said you should really bring this to markets, and I said I’m just a home-canner and gardener and she said there’s a lot of help out there and I’m gonna show you the direction to go.”
Having local products on the shelves is not just about food, it’s also about community.
“The people of the U.P. are definitely proud to support and honor local vendors in their products, they’re our friends, they’re our families, they’re our neighbors and it’s great to support that in any way that we can, ” says Lavigne.