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Throngs Line Up To 'Know the Source' at New Local Foods Farm-to-Table Store

By Darryl Holliday | July 1, 2015 8:29am

BUCKTOWN — The Bucktown neighborhood’s newest grocer opened to a throng of city and suburban residents Tuesday as Local Foods cut the ribbon on its 27,000-square-foot store.

(DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday)

More than 200 people walked the grocery store aisles for the first time while sampling various local offerings, including bites from chefs and owners of Fat Rice, Butcher and Larder, La Sirena Clandestine, and Owen and Alchemy. At least two loyal customers, father and son Dan and Carson Perzyna, came from as far as Brookfield to shop at the new brick-and-mortar outlet at 1427 W. Willow St.

Located in the Bucktown/Elston Corridor just west of the Chicago River and east of Ashland Avenue, the goal behind Local Foods is to continue refining a distribution pipeline that helps Midwestern farmers become more profitable — and to “change the food system,” according to owners of the distribution and resale center.

The new grocer opened to a throng of city and suburban residents Tuesday. (DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday)

That combination of distribution and resale is what makes Local Foods stand out, according to Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who called the store “the new version of the local corner grocery.”

The motto of Local Foods is “know the source” and owners plan to buy more than $3 million in Midwestern farm food, helping to support the regional economy while continuing to serve more than 200 chefs, caterers and Chicago wholesale buyers.

Time will tell whether the Local Foods model can revolutionize the so-called farm-to-table movement, but Caledonia farmer David Cleverdon, of Kinnikinnick organic farm, said he supports the cause.

“Twenty years ago this would’ve been impossible to even think about; just having a place like this,” Cleverdon said. “We need more places like this that have skin in the game — because they have to make it work.”

The grand opening was accompanied by the planting of an apple tree on the property grounds, a symbolic and practical gesture that owners of Local Foods hope will "grow over time as this business does, and produce a fruit which we hope to share."

(DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday)

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