Driftless Gems: Savor the River Valley

By Patti Peltier 

Each year, thousands of people visit our beautiful River Valley area. Many pass through without connecting with our carefully tended farms, our bountiful farmer’s market, award-winning cheeses or the unique and tasty “slow food” served in many of our restaurants. Just as disappointing, these visitors don’t meet the interesting, thoughtful, totally awesome folks growing and preparing all that food.

Savor the River Valley would like to change all that! A new, grassroots initiative, Savor is a coming together of food businesses, primarily in the River Valley School District area. Our goal is to promote our food-related enterprises as a way to make them — and all our communities — more prosperous. 

Its focus is two-fold. First, the project gets the word out about what the members have to offer through the savortherivervalley.org website, which includes directories of members, tours and food-related events in the area. 

Second, it provides a way for members to support one another and for the community to support our local food environment. Members share ideas, supplies and even staff through conversation boards and “skill share” sessions. The community can help by donating time or money to the project.   

We hope that the site will allow locals to learn about and use our local food businesses. Are you wondering where to have lunch? Check the Savor website. Looking for a cooking class? Check the Savor website. Maybe your neighborhood group, youth group, social club or house guests would like to see how heritage grains are milled, authentic tortillas are made or milk becomes cheese. Now you know where to look. 

Look for the Savor website QR code posted by many retailers, attractions and lodging places around Arena, Lone Rock, Plain and Spring Green. You can also help us get the word out by checking out the website and sharing it with others.

If you own a food-related business in the River Valley School District or sell at the Spring Green Farmer’s Market and want to join Savor, we welcome you. Membership is free. Instead of dues, we encourage members to support each other by buying each other’s products and by collaborating on marketing through their social media platforms, websites and customer email lists. If you’d like to know more, please contact us at savor@savortherivervalley.org.

As a grassroots effort, Savor is run by a steering committee of local food retailers, restaurants, producers, supporting organizations and interested individuals. Project support is provided by River Valley Commons, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the well-being of the area. If you are an organization or individual that would like to provide support to our local food ecosystem, visit the Supporters page of the website to learn more or contact us.

Whether you live around here or are visiting, there is much to savor in the River Valley. We celebrate that at savortherivervalley.org.

Patti Peltier is a member of the Savor the River Valley Steering Committee. Driftless Gems celebrates the nonprofit arts, culture, humanities and nature organizations that make our region unique. To showcase other Driftless Gems, email info@voiceoftherivervalley.com.