What would a community hub be without a community market?
We're talking about a place where even in off-farmers-market hours, you can find local, sustainably grown produce, truly farm-raised eggs, goat milk, cheeses and regionally ranched pork and beef. A place where in colder months, there'll be jars of that same local produce, pickled or preserved, plus jams, jellies, honey and the like.
Welcome to Hunt or Gather, your "one-stop-shop to learn about local food and get connected," in the words of Ivywild market manager Megan Andreozzi. Envisioned by Pikes Peak Community Foundation executive director Michael Hannigan and run as a nonprofit by PPCF, the local-food marketplace next to the Principal's Office (see here) will be "more than just fruits and veggies," explains Andreozzi.
True, produce from the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers and Venetucci Farm will star during growing season. (And the Colorado Farm & Art Market will be held outside on Wednesdays in season.) But the outfit aims to buy from any sustainably minded area grower or rancher year-round, and to use Denver's MM Local Foods in colder months to supply preserved local goodies.
"Our focus in the off-season will also be on education and community outreach," says Andreozzi, who heads up our Local Foods Working Group (one of the Green Cities Coalition's volunteer action groups) and who for three years ran the local operations for Wellington-based Grant Family Farms' CSA program.
Hunt or Gather will also offer annual memberships (price not yet determined) for a buying club, aimed at helping farmers smartly unload potential excesses. After Ivywild's later phases add a greenhouse, it may also vend items grown onsite.
Opening is tentatively scheduled for mid-July, with hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays.
"It will be very unique to this town and Colorado," says Andreozzi. "I'm not even sure if there's ever been an all-local-foods store here."