Here at Zēlos, we believe strongly in the health and nutrition of small-batch, locally-grown products. Yet we're the first to admit that we can't get everything everywhere, which is why we bring across the Atlantic the best Greece's small producers have to offer. In this last month, we also started a very cool collaboration with an Ohio-based, like-minded group, Local Food Connection, founded and run by my friend, Alice Chalmers (second from the left in the picture above!).
I met Alice as a mother before I knew her as a fellow entrepreneur. While she is French, she had also lived in Belgium in the past, which immediately gave us a common experience. We used to talk a lot about our children and their American schools and activities, as her two daughters ended up going to my daughter's school.
Shortly after she arrived in Cincinnati, Alice started her own business, Local Food Connection, with the aim to bring premium quality, fresh produce to chefs, culinary professionals, and even households, all while supporting local farmers in our area. She told me:
"I started Local Food Connection so chefs could focus on what they do best, creating wonderful dishes, and farmers could focus on what they do best, producing high quality ingredients. We thought that by creating a convenient way for them to connect, with a one-stop-shop and delivery system for locals, we could increase the amount of local food easily accessible by chefs, and increase the visibility of the wonderful treasures being produced in our countryside and urban farms. It is a passion and great gratification to be a contributor to the local food economy and be able to offer the quality products grown by our partner farms and food artisans.
Alice's network of suppliers and customers has been constantly growing, expanding into neighboring Kentucky, with partners like Dark Wood Farms in Boone County. Depending on the season, Lyndsey and Annie, pictured above, grow peas, napa cabbage, kale, turnips, salad greens and more, all without pesticides, herbicides or chemicals.
Alice also supports other artisans who sell their products through her platform, so you can see how she was an obvious person for me to share with from the start my idea of Zēlos. Alice was so positive and gave me the encouragement to pursue this gourmet Greek dream, and once I was up and running, we met again to see if and how we could collaborate.
Local Food Connection and Zēlos share much of the same philosophy: we both want to support small businesses, help local communities to grow, and find the best-tasting, healthy food available, offering it to people who appreciate it. Last month, Alice and Local Food Connection started offering some of our unique Greek products, joining select others that cannot be sourced or produced in the Midwest, and the idea of Globally Local was born.
Alice is working with a group of wonderful and enthusiastic men and women who take care of sourcing, logistics, the online ordering site, and staying in touch with farmers, chefs, and customers. It is a great pleasure and honor to be part of this zealous group and put our little seed into Cincinnati's culinary scene.
If you're located in the southern Ohio/northern Kentucky area and would like to shop from Local Food Connection for seasonal, farm-fresh produce, head to their site at http://localfoodconnection.net.
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