The Mad River Valley Localvore Project wants to prove to the community how delicious local food can be, even in the dead of winter. This winter, instead of an Eat Local Challenge like the group held last winter, they are hosting the Souper Bowl. The Souper Bowl will be a soup extravaganza featuring hot soups from nine different Mad River Valley chefs who are committed to local food. 

"The Eat Local Challenges are a lot of fun and create a great deal of awareness, but we wanted to do something different this winter; something that even people who wouldn't participate in a Challenge would have fun doing," said Robin McDermott, Mad River Valley Localvore project co-founder.  

She continued, "Over the course of the evening, participants will get a real taste for how delicious local food can be even when it seems that no local food is available because local vegetable fields are covered with three feet of snow."
Nancy Baron who is coordinating the event said, "We have a lot of restaurants here in The Valley whose chefs use locally grown ingredients year round and this is a great way to highlight their creativity and commitment to Vermont Farms." Participating restaurants include American Flatbread, The Big Picture Café, Chez Henri, Common Man, Cooking from the Heart, Green Cup Café, Michael's Good To Go, Millbrook Inn and Restaurant, Red Hen Bakery, Sweet Pea/Spirit Café, Three Mountain Café, and The Warren Store.

Souper Bowl attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite soup bowl from home. However, local potters have donated unique and beautiful bowls and mugs that will be for sale at the event or compostable/disposable bowls will also be provided.  
There is limited seating at the Souper Bowl so tickets should be purchased in advance. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids under 12. Unlike the "other" Super Bowl, which will be a week later, tickets for this Souper Bowl are easy to get -- they can be purchased at Sweet Pea or the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, online at the Localvore website at www.VermontLocalvore.org or by calling Robin McDermott at 496-3567.
The event will be held at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield on Sunday, January 27, from 5 to 8 p.m. The meal during the three-hour event will include appetizers, a large selection of soups, and home-baked desserts featuring local ingredients. Throughout the evening there will be a raffle for a wide variety of locally grown and produced foods. The Gordon Stone Band, known for creating its version of World Music -- a blend of jazz flavored, groove-driven funk, and buoyant bluegrass -- will entertain throughout the night. Gordon Stone has been a longtime supporter of local food systems and Localvore groups throughout Vermont and lives in nearby Waterbury, Vermont.
The event will benefit the Mad River Valley Localvores and the Mad River Valley Food Shelf. Last year the Localvore group raised $600 during their Winter Eat Local Challenge and purchased a CSA card for the Mad River Valley Food Shelf with that money. For most of the summer, every Tuesday and Thursday, Dave Hartshorn of Santa Davida Farm delivered fresh produce to the Food Shelf which is located in Evergreen Place.  

Some weeks Hartshorn delivered spinach or salad mix and other weeks he delivered strawberries or sweet corn. The idea to work with the local food shelf came from Dorothy Tod, a Localvore group member who felt that it was important to show that local food should be for everyone in the community.  
The Mad River Valley Localvore Project has been working for two years to create greater awareness in the community about the importance of the local food economy. The group's stated mission is: Celebrating and supporting local food in the Mad River Valley -- those who eat it and those who grow it -- through education, community connections, and collective wisdom.