Culinary Tourism Business Or Pleasure
The Business And Pleasure Of Culinary Tourism
Culinary (or Food) tourism is travel where the final destinations are food, the experiences surrounding locating it and the pleasure derived from consuming it. Along the way the traveler also explores the culture and people who created the “destination,” food tourists seek. The driving factor in culinary tourism is people wayfaring for the purpose of experiencing unique food and dining venues unavailable locally.
Culinary Tourism Is Big Business
The 2013 American Culinary Traveler Report found the culinary tourism market share of the overall tourism industry increased from 40% to 51% between 2006 and 2013. A 2012 study by the University of Florida determined the highest category of all travel expenditures (over $201 billion) was food services. That same report found, 39 million U.S. leisure travelers select their destination based on the availability of culinary activities, and another 35 million seek out culinary activities once any destination is selected.
Farm To Table Is Small Business On A Big Scale
The “Farm to Table” movement is the flip-side of culinary tourism. Rather than being focused on individual dining establishments in specific cities, it is the same zeal for healthy amazing-tasting food spread across many communities, large and small.
Estimating the overall economic impact of the locally-grown, farm-to-table movement is difficult because of its diffuse network of community-based farmer’s market, food co-ops and local restaurants. A 2016 report on Food Industry Insights, found 53% of adult survey respondents seek out locally grown foods because it is fresher and tastes better. They also tend to purchase those foods at one of approximately 8,000 farmer’s markets. In 2014, According to Department of Agriculture, U.S. consumers, businesses and government entities “spent $1.46 trillion on food and beverages in grocery stores and other retailers and on away-from-home meals and snacks.”
In the Palouse, there are several successful “Farm to Table” options ready to explore below.
Moscow Farmer’s Market
Established 1977, Moscow Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday morning 8 am – 1 pm, May through October. Fresh produce, meat, homemade baked goods, healthy nursery plants, flowers and handmade crafts are some of the items available. Shoppers can use EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards or SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, meat, eggs, honey, plant starts and other food items directly from Market vendors.
Steve Peterson, University of Idaho research economist and assistant clinical professor, compiled the Farmer’s Market economic impact using data from 15 years of participant surveys he collected. Visitors to the market have increased about 7% annually between 2003 and 2013 to nearly 165,000 a year, making it a self-sustaining entity with net positive property tax revenues.
About 49% of the $1.1 million vendor sales in 2015 come from produce and nursery sales. According to Peterson over 20 new businesses, such as Panhandle Bread, Tapped, and Humble Burger, first got their start in the Farmer’s Market.
Pullman’s Farmer’s Market
Sponsored by the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, Pullman Farmer’s Market opened in a small parking on Paradise Street in 2009. The market is open on Wednesdays 3:30 – 6 pm from May through October. Other sponsors include WSECU (music) and Moscow Food Co-Op.
Now located in the Spot Shop Parking Lot at 240 NE Kamiaken Street, nearly two-dozen local vendors primarily from the Palouse and Lewiston-Clarkston area sell a wide variety of products:
- farm-fresh local produce
- specialty culinary herbs
- cut flowers
- beautiful plant varietals
- locally-sourced artisan breads
- baked goods
- allergen and gluten free bakery items
- soup-mix varieties
Some of Pullman Farmer’s Market Vendors:
- Kay’s Krunch – all types of peanut brittle (Kay Pierson Colfax, WA)
- Little Rockin’ Heart Dairy – handcrafted fresh goats’ milk lotion (Potlatch, ID
- Nowhere Gardens – vegetables, fruit, flowers (Pullman, WA)
- Omache Farm, LLC – vegetables, lamb, pork, eggs (Pullman, WA)
- Pioneer Produce – vegetables, rhubarb, melons, berries, fresh flowers, plants (Palouse, WA)
- Second Hand Sprouts – plants (Pullman, WA)
- Soup’s On – soup with fry bread, meat sandwiches (Rockford, WA)
- Union Flat Farm – vegetables, fruit, eggs (Pullman, WA)
- Wilson Banner Ranch – vegetables, fruit, honey, cider (Keri Wilson, Clarkston, WA)
Moscow Food Co-Op
In 1973, the Moscow Food Co-Op was founded by Rod Davis, Jim Eagan, and Dave and Katie Mosel. First called the “Good Food Store”, the initial inventory consisted of peas, lentils, spices and a few miscellaneous items. With 25 members, a few grants and individual loans, the Good Food Store officially became an Idaho nonprofit cooperative association in 1974. Six locations, 41 years later, with over 7,000 local owners, the Moscow Food Co-Op business model has built a socially responsible and profitable food and goods system.
In 2014 owner surveys indicated about 40% wanted to open another store in Pullman. A significant percentage of owners and shoppers at the Food Co-Op live or work in Pullman. Food Co-Op delivery trucks already drive through Pullman on the way to the Moscow store. Pullman’s close proximity would allow coordinated on-site logistical and administrative management and help both stores flourish. A second store in Pullman would also create jobs, support the local economy and community.
The Board of Directors, General Manager, and internal staff are proceeding with all necessary filings to open a second store in Washington as the search for a suitable property in Pullman continues.
Portland residents, Brett and Nikki Woodland opened the Nectar restaurant in the spring of 2007 after moving to Moscow. Before opening the restaurant Brett worked as a beekeeper and Nikki managed the deli at the Moscow Food Co-op and got to know many of the local farmers. Brett and Nikki have always placed a premium on locally grown food and incorporated that practice at Nectar to the fullest extent possible. Since opening Nectar, their family has tripled in size and they have opened a second restaurant, Bloom Café and Arthouse in Friendship Square, specializing in breakfast and lunch items.
Rated one of Idaho’s Top Five Farm-To-Table Restaurants, for their Idaho ruby red trout and local beef burgers, “Chef and Co-owner Nikki Woodland also reserves a spot for a rotating seasonal salad made with ‘whatever we decide to put together from the market.’” Other local specialties include Cougar Gold Cheese, and Ferdinand’s Ice Cream from Washington State University as well as blue cheese from Brush Creek Creamery in Dayton.
Opened January 2010, by longtime Pullman residents, Wade Dissmore and Jim Harbour, their goal was to create a restaurant with a fun and casual atmosphere in which all members of the community would feel welcome. South Fork Public House derives its name from the South Fork of the Palouse Water Basin located nearby. It’s a proud nod to their local roots and founding ideals of their restaurant:
- local sourcing whenever feasible
- running an environmentally sound business
- treating staff and guests as family
- having a great time while being the best at what we do
Voted 2016 Best Palouse Restaurant by Inlander Magazine readers, South Fork Public House specials include Mac and Cheese made with WSU creamery’s Cougar Gold cheese, Bangers and Mash (German sausage and mashed potatoes) and Scorpion Tails (stuffed jalapeno peppers). Monthly social events and celebrations are announced on Facebook and Twitter.