Local eats, farm-to-table restaurants and start-up app developers are as popular as ever these days, and all three were well represented at the Boston Local Food Festival on Sunday.
Thousands of fans of all things sustainable and homegrown walked the Greenway for the fest, munching samples off of toothpicks, chatting with fishmongers and gawking at area chefs as they whipped up regional dishes for eager crowds.
For my MilkCrate, a new company promising a directory app for green businesses, the big event was the platform for a citywide launch.
“We make it easy” to find craft brewers, thrift stores, organic farmers and the like, said Morgan Berman, CEO and co-founder of the Philadelphia-based company. “You can feel good about spending your money there.”
There are about 500 businesses listed in the app, Berman told Metro, among them every vendor featured at the festival. my MilkCrate was the fest’s official app, she said.
Backyard Farms, a 42-acre greenhouse in Maine, doled out samples of tomatoes sliced in quarters and speared with toothpicks. They sold bunches of tomatoes in cardboard boxes for $3 a piece, or two for $5. They brought 2,000 boxes, they said.
The company supplies in-season-style produce all year round, and their products have made their way to coveted shelf space in Whole Foods and other supermarkets, said Jim Darroch, marketing director.
The operation burns a fair share of fossil fuels, particularly in the winter when tomatoes don’t grow in nature, but Darroch listed a number of green-minded choices the company has made: recycling water collected in gutters, coordinating shipping so the vegetables don’t travel more than 48 hours at a time.
“We do our best,” Darroch said.
Renowned barbecue champion Richard Westhaver was there, offering up samples of his spicy-fruity Dirty Dick’s Hot Sauce on tiny plastic spoons.
His mastery of meat-flavoring has won him five state barbecuing championships, a half-dozen titles in the “Snowshoe” competition (so named because it’s in February) and countless other titles even in barbecue throw-downs down south. He’s proud of that and it shows. His company motto, which is also on his business card: “World’s Greatest Hot Sauce… No Brag Just Fact.”
The Boston Local Food Festival, though, is his favorite place to meet customers and sling sauce bottles, Westhaver said. He runs his operation out of Norwell.
“This is the best one,” he said. “It’s near home.”