Sitting in the shade enjoying blueberries, ice cream and live music, the Terre Foods Annual Blueberry Festival hit the spot for hundreds on Thursday.
For 9-year-old Ochro Angar and 6-year-old Sophie Angar, the ice cream bested than the blueberries, but they were happy to hang out with their uncle visiting from Mongolia and share in the blueberry festival.
“Blueberries are a fruit,” Angar said, adding that’s about all he know about the juicy berries.
Indeed, the tasty berries were a hot commodity as some folks bought several boxes of the organic berries, fresh from a grower in Mishawaka.
The 11th annual Blueberry Festival was a fundraiser for Terre Foods, a locally formed cooperative market with the mission of bringing fresh, healthy and local food to the community.
Organizer Michelle Adler said the group is currently in negotiations on the purchase of a marketplace for a Terre Foods, but she could not disclose the property location.
The group has been fundraising to establish a market for more than a decade, and recently added its 801st member.
“I think once we get our location settled, we will get more members,” Adler said. “Our goal now is 1,000.”
Situated on the lawn outside the Masonic Temple on North Eighth Street, the festival also featured vendors selling produce, food and items such as handwoven bags and linens by designer Anne Bunch.
Bunch, who operates the small business abunchabags, said she supports Terre Foods because it is about supporting locally grown and organic foods. Her handwoven items recycle plastics that often end up in landfills.
Jewel Childress, an Indiana State University student working in the Office of Sustainability, became the 800th member of Terre Foods last year.
“I had gone to a lot of different co-ops whenever I traveled out west, and I really liked the idea of it,” she said. “I feel like this towns needs something like that, so I decided to support it.”
Childress said she feels that buying food locally is important because mass production of food depletes soil, and she likes to support small businesses such as farms and food growers.
She volunteered Thursday morning in the kitchen across the street at Central Presbyterian Church to help prepare the blueberries and the compote served during the festival.
“Hot is fine,” said Jim Speer, an ISU professor and Terre Foods member working at the festival.
“I think this is the best weather we’ve ever had,” Speer said, recalling past festivals with heavy rain or miserable conditions.
The community supports the festival and the Terre Foods effort, he said, and he expected the blueberries to sell out before the end of the festival.
Adler said a person from Bloomington bought several boxes of the organically grown fruit to take back to Monroe County.
About 1,350 pounds of blueberries were purchased for the festival. That’s 50 pounds more than last year.
Anyone wanting more information about the Terre Foods Cooperative Market effort can go online to the group’s Facebook page, or the group’s website at www.terrefoods.coop.
Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.