Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Completing the Meal (Policy Story)

Completing the Meal
            Patrons filled the Jackson Street parking lot. Children climbed the jungle gym. Music filled the town square. Two local vendors brought beer and wine to the farmers market for the second straight week.
            “Just being at the market is a great way for people to learn about my little hole in the wall,” said Lucas Rate, Owner and Brewer of Moscow Brewing Company. “We don’t get a lot of foot traffic at our location, back on Almon Street, so this is an amazing opportunity.”
            Rate and Jeremy Ritter, Owner of Camas Prairie Winery, became two of the first vendors to sell beer and wine at the Moscow Farmers Market.
            “There were several people congratulating us just for being out there,” Ritter said. “Before our first booth at the market, some people didn’t know there was a winery in Moscow; if nothing else, it’s a great way to advertise our product.”
            Moscow Art Director Kathleen Burns researched farmers markets in Idaho and found two in Boise that sell beer and wine regularly.
            “I looked at the best practices from Boise’s markets, and I started thinking about how we could implement beer and wine in Moscow,” Burns said.
            Erin Carroll, Moscow famers market commission chair, and the commission talked to market-goers to gauge interest in beer and wine.
            “We received 365 yeses and 13 no’s,” Carroll said. “You could say we were pretty excited to get that kind of feedback.” 
            Moscow City Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing the sale of closed containers of beer and wine from local vendors at the final three farmers markets of the 2014 season as part of a pilot program. The ordinance also allows the vendors to sample out the product in small one to one and a half ounce cups.
            “Before the ordinance, the market had only food, and by adding beer and wine, we’ve completed the meal,” said Carroll.
            The pilot started during the three smallest markets of the season, so there may not be enough data to show city council if the pilot was a success, Carroll said.
            “If we don’t get enough feedback, we hope city council will approve another pilot program for next year’s season so we can get a better sample size,” Carroll said.
            Rate thinks Moscow is a great community, and he hopes the program returns full time in 2015.
            “Right now I’m a one man operation, so if the city brings the program back, I’m going to need more help brewing,” Rate said. “I had to scramble just to finish crafting beers for the last two markets.”
            There will be some things that still need to be ironed out, Ritter said, but he is positive and hopeful the program will return.
            “I’m excited for the future. I’d be willing and ready to fill some slots at the market if council makes the pilot a long term project,” Ritter said.
            The last farmers market of 2014 is Saturday, Oct. 25th from 10 a.m. to one p.m. on Third Street in downtown Moscow.
Outline: The city of Moscow approved a pilot program for the final three farmers markets of 2014 to allow beer and wine to be sold near the market for off-site consumption and small samples. If the pilot is a success, the city could choose to add beer and wine sales for good.

Story pitch:

My story centers around the short (but expectedly successful) policy to allow beer and wine sold at the Moscow Farmer’s Market. The Moscow City Council approved the new policy last week. The Moscow Farmers Market Commission did a study during a few Farmers Markets to see how many people would be on board to buy beer or wine from local vendors. The last three markets (including two days ago, Sat. 11) will have samples and full craft beer/wine bottles for sale. The Moscow Farmers Market Commission Chair Erin Carroll said that she received 365 yeses and only 13 no’s when she asked them about their interest in buying beer and wine from the Farmers Market.
The story is relevant now because this could be the only three weeks the Farmers Market has wine and beer. However, IF this is successful then it would be the first time they’ve sold beer and win from local vendors, so it would be a great story to cover as the first ever. I’m interested to go to the market and see how successful things are, or are not.


Moscow Art Director, Kathleen Burns: 208-883-7036

Owner Camas Prairie Winery, Jeremy Ritter: 208-882-0214

Owner, Brewer Moscow Brewing Company, Lucas Rate: 208-874-7340

Moscow Farmers Market Commission Chair, Erin Carroll: 509-335-8998

Video Interview:

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