Montanans Buying From Montanans: Montana Department of Ag Food Show

Can Montana feed itself? That sounds like a pretty basic question – after all, Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States, spanning 147,000 square miles.

Shouldnt we be able to support our meager population of 1,050,000 souls? We are primarily an agricultural state where almost 28,000 farms and ranches are spread across 60 million acres.

It turns out that bigger geography is definitely a challenge when the population density is fewer than 7 persons per square mile across the state.

To bring together food growers, producers, and processors, the Montana Department of Agriculture launched its first “Food Show” on October 10, 2017, in Bozeman MT. Approximately 50 food-based businesses and nearly 250 wholesale and consumer customers shared samples and stories across a wide range of food and beverage choices.

For about 6 months out of every year, Montana CAN deliver a fully balanced diet to its residents. Beautiful fruits and vegetables, rich cheeses, breads and cereals, nutritious meats and grains, preserves and snacks – and beverages ranging from milk and juices, tea and coffee, to craft beer and spirits – are all products of Montana.

From the left:
Strike Farms is a 20-acre diversified organic farm just outside Bozeman providing high-quality, sustainably grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
Amaltheia Organic Dairy is a family-owned and operated certified organic goat dairy in Belgrade offering fresh goat cheeses, organic whey-fed pork, and three seasons of organic produce.
Roots Kitchen and Cannery, Bozeman, processes and preserves an abundance of locally grown summer produce so that you can enjoy fresh taste year round.
On the Rise Bread Co., Bozeman, creates artisan breads from Montana-grown flour and grain using a natural leaven that has been used continuously for 29 years.

From the left:

Treasure State Honey, Fort Shaw, processes raw, unfiltered, enzyme intact honey, and places hives across the western US to make sure the fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts we eat get pollinated.
Montana Highland Lamb, Whithall, uses management intensive grazing to produce some of the best lamb around.
The Oil Barn, Big Sandy, grows safflower in rotation with Kamut® and other crops, and presses high quality safflower oil.
Bear Paw Meats, Havre, offers Northern Montana bred, raised, fed, and processed meats. 

The biggest challenge is getting these products to consumers in communities as far flung as Libby, Havre, Sidney, Broadus, Red Lodge, and Dillon – and all points between. As Montana’s food-based businesses continue to build new distribution routes, consumers can still buy direct and enjoy the bounty produced in Big Sky Country.

Start the slide show and take a tour of the first Montana Food Show by clicking on any of the images below. See who was there , check out the wide variety of products displayed, and shop Montana!