When we launched The Quest For Zest a little over a year ago, our sole intent was to have a place where we could share our food and travel stories. As the months passed, we discovered there were more people then we realized doing incredible things with food in our community. Chefs, restaurant owners, bakers, and farmers all had stories to share about what they did, and the importance of eating locally. As we shared these stories, you not only read them, but also visited their stores, farms, and restaurants of your neighbors. Many of you also tipped us off to other people to interview. It was so gratifying to see that we were, in a small way, opening people’s eyes to local food and helping small businesses. We made the decision to make local food the focus of The Quest For Zest in an effort to sustain this fledgling movement. Today represents the next phase in that movement. We are proud to announce the launch of The Quest For Zest’s new, online local food community — The Supper Club. Now, anyone interested in the local food scene will have a single destination on the web where they will be able to get detailed information about local restaurants, markets, small businesses, and more from others in the area.
One of the biggest problems facing the local food movement is that, while there is information out there, it is scattered everywhere. Figuring out when a farmers’ market is open, or what’s on the menu at the local sandwich shop, can be a difficult and frustrating process. Sometimes the information is on a business’s website. Other times, it might be on Facebook or a private blog. Occasionally, it can be found in a printed newsletter or pamphlet. Personally, I have better things to do then scour dozens of sources in the hope of finding useful information.
Unfortunately, this same kind of frustration is often what prevents people who are curious about local food from ever discovering the wealth of items being produced in our region. So instead of supporting a local business, they are left with no other option but to eat at chain restaurants, and buy food that could have been bought from within our community. We hate to see money leave our community when simply fixing the problem of unorganized and scattered information could help keep it here.
In that spirit, what we have created is a local food forum called “The Supper Club”. The name harkens back to the dining establishments of The Great North Woods, which specialized in socializing and relaxing over a good meal. We won’t be serving dinner and cocktails every Saturday evening, but our online supper club will be the place where anyone interested in eating local can visit to chat with others. Each of us will bring something unique to the conversation, and in doing so, we will create a tremendously useful repository of information and knowledge for those new to local food.
How It Works
Do you have a great recipe that calls for garden fresh zucchini or tomatoes? Did you just discover a new favorite coffee from a certain local coffee roaster? Has a new, locally owned restaurant opened in your neighborhood that serves a mean vegan pizza on a gluten-free crust? Why not put what you know in front of the people who are the most interested in what you have to say?
Once you have signed up for your free membership to the forum you can swap recipes, share restaurant recommendations, promote local food-related events, share photos of you latest kitchen creations, meet up with other members, or simply “chew the fat (or tofu)”. Each conversation you start, or contribute to, helps The Supper Club grow. The bigger we get, the more we can help to educate members of the community, promote small businesses, and grow the local food scene. Eating is something each of us enjoys doing already. Share your knowledge so that all may eat well and patronize the businesses and individuals in our community who count on our support. When we build their businesses, we build a better community for ourselves.