Going 'local' with annual Harvest Fest

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HAILEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - It was a hectic but exciting day for some restaurants as the Local Food Alliance held their third annual Harvest Fest in Hailey this weekend.

Incorporating all local products, 13 restaurants in the area offered various samples as attendees trickled by 10 stops of their choice.

Starting the event with a food fair, this aimed to connect local restaurants with local farmers to create a resilient local food system in the Wood River Valley.

"It's just really hard to afford to source locally so this event is about giving them sort of a risk free chance," said Ali Long, founder and executive director of the Local Food Alliance. "We pay for the food and deliver the food to the restaurants and they prepare it. That's their contribution."

This also gave small businesses exposure to more potential customers.

Doing this for the past three years, the Wood River Sustainability Center spruced up a dish of Chinese five-spice chicken with Asian slaw and cheddar.

"It's a dish we started putting together (the day before)," said Alyssa Daven, co-owner of the sustainability center. "We're just doing the finishing touches (the day of). We're going to plate as we go."

"We've been working on it for most of the day, but at a nice manageable pace so I don't think it's been that hectic for us," added Al McCord, co-owner of the sustainability center.

Since they're usually closed on the weekends, it didn't interrupt their normal business. That wasn't the case for other participating restaurants.

"One of our restaurants is closing down for this event for the two hours of this restaurant walk," said Long.

That restaurant was the International Cowboy Cocina Restaurant. Solely owned by Patricia Ballesteros, she was pressed for time as she scrambled with her chef to get everything set up.

"Although we are able to provide a few volunteers, mostly they're doing it themselves. They've offered the staff and created the tastes," added Long. "The win for them is that it brings 500 people through their restaurants that otherwise may have even know they were there."

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