The sixth-annual LoveLocalMB event, which showcases local Manitoban food and beverages, will take place on March 2.
Peter Fehr, the event’s founder, says most of the attendees are “foodies, people who really love checking out local and gourmet foods – and people who just want something fun to do on a Saturday night.”
Andrea Katz, founder of FIT Communications representing Perfect Pierogies, one of the vendors, says the event is “a great way for the people of Winnipeg to come together, get out of the winter and start thinking about future farmers' markets. It’s a great segue into the spring.”
To participate, a vendor must produce their food or beverage product in Manitoba, but some vendors are expanding the idea of what it means to buy locally.
Heyru Canada, Tasse Coffee Project and Tea Mate are all locally owned and operated beverage companies that apply parts of the philosophy of locality to international goods.
Thien Pham, owner of Tasse, is the son and grandson of coffee farmers in Vietnam and Laos and has the beans from his family’s farms roasted locally in Manitoba, making Tasse both a close family business and an international one.
Pham says while Manitoba is not a small market, its local business scene is very close-knit, and he looks forward to becoming part of it and sharing Vietnamese-style coffee with Canadian consumers.
Iris He, who owns Tea Mate with her husband, says while Manitoba isn’t a tea-growing region, Tea Mate sources many ingredients locally, such as fruit, herbs and bee pollen, and has developed close relationships with many other local businesses.
She says even though Tea Mate does have international business partners, its family business approach allows her to ensure that she is sourcing tea made by workers who are paid fairly and have safe working conditions.
For alcohol producers, this year is exciting, because a change in provincial legislation makes it easier for them to provide samples at events like LoveLocalMB.
Matthew Sabourin, president of Nonsuch Beer, says that now, “if you want some, we can sell it to you right on the spot.”
“It’s definitely easier for vendors to be able to get a licence to sample at events like this than before,” Jesse Hildebrand, general manager of Capital K Distillery, says. “For the most part, we really only have one customer: Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.”
He says that getting to meet potential buyers face to face is really valuable.
For a discount on tickets to LoveLocalMB, use the code LOCAL19 at lovelocalmb.com.