(June 19, 2018) – The Fifth Annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace is now accepting applications for food and beverage businesses from Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota for its event Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2018, Mayo Civic Center.
FEAST! hosts more than 100 juried exhibitors who utilize locally grown ingredients when possible and operate at or near a distributor-ready scale. Exhibitors show, sample and sell their artisan food products to wholesale buyers and consumers during the two-day event. They also participate in a Friday tradeshow with networking and workshop sessions. (2017 exhibitors here).
FEAST! 2018 brings new opportunities for engagement, including a Virtual Pitch Experience and more interaction with wholesale buyers during the Friday tradeshow. FEAST! Restaurant Week returns, with local restaurants featuring FEAST! vendor products. The Saturday festival will once again invite the public to pick their favorite for the People’s Choice Award. Three new award categories, focusing on innovation, social benefit and booths/displays, have been added for 2018.
2017 Buyers’ Choice awards went to Agri-Cultured, Alsum Sweet Corn and Grandma’s Gourmets. The 2017 People’s Choice Award was a tie between Mama Stoen’s and Millner Heritage Wines & Cidery. The 2018 People’s Choice Award will be announced during the Saturday festival, while the new awards will be presented at a ceremony capping off the Friday tradeshow (media welcome).
FEAST! 2017 exhibitors said: “I think it's a perfect venue for us to continue building customer base," and, “it gave me the experience and exposure on the scale that I was hoping for." Retail stores, restaurants, schools, caterers and more come to FEAST! to ”source new products and build new relationships,” according to one buyer.
FEAST! vendors include national award-winners and represent trends like pro-biotic, paleo, gluten-free, grass-fed and organic, as well as environmentally and socially responsible products.
FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace is co-hosted by non-profit organizations, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and Renewing the Countryside, and is supported with premier sponsorship by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.