Learning the Local Life

by Becky Davenport

Something that has come back to focus for many families much like my own family is locally produced products, food, and life. Living the local is much like scratching your neighbor’s back and supporting those folks you meet every day and there is many more added benefits to living a local life.


Today we all take for granted me included that I can stop at the supermarket grab a gallon of milk and be on my way, but where does that milk come from, do we really know the farmer that produced that milk, and is there an added benefit to that milk besides the vitamin content.


Across my journeys, my research, and well by sending an email to the wrong organization I started to connect the dots with an organization called Mississippi River Hills Association. I had seen their logo on a few local wines and local businesses, and I had seen their flyer a time or two, but until I understood what they are, what they do, I really thought they were just another organization out there.


What is Mississippi River Hills Association? Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to not only get to know many of their members (agri-tourism is awesome), but I have had the chance to learn firsthand or mouth from the coordinator Lisa Palmer.


The focus of Mississippi River Hills Association is the ecology and culture of the Mississippi River. They are a 3-part service working to create added value for those products grown and produced in the Mississippi River Hills region, working to educate people on how local food is not only good for them, but also for the local economy, and working to gain interest outside the region for products, culture, and historical assets of the region.


Do we as local folks know how many products are locally produced? I know I have had the opportunity to visit many local places, and learn about their products, sometimes for fun, sometimes because I need their products. Wine is one of our biggest assets in this region, and probably our most familiar locally produced products. However, inside this region we have many unique products that we may not always be familiar with for example Meier’s Horse Shoe Pines in Jackson, MO who yearly grow and sell hundreds of Christmas Trees each year. Eckenfels Farms of Ste. Genevieve specializes in 100% grass fed beef, giving locals an alternative to supermarket beef. County Line Farms of St Mary, MO offers a variety of vegetables, melons, and squash. These farms and others belong to Mississippi River Hills Association and are actively producing quality foods, services, and destinations.


This month Mississippi River Hills Association is giving us an opportunity to learn more about the association, their members, and how they give back to our communities. On Saturday, June 23, you have the opportunity to discover their Taste of Place Agri-culinary experience.

Visit Meier Horse Shoe Pines, on the outskirts of Jackson Missouri; a magical place that reminds us of our childhood dreams. Upon arrival at Meier Horse Shoe Pines you will get a behind the scenes tour of a Southeast Missouri Christmas Tree farm and Christmas shop. You will then enjoy a magical ride through the Christmas Tree field in a wagon pulled by mighty Belgians. Your tour ends and you will return to tables filled with local artisan wines, fresh cheeses, and fresh foods, all prepared by local chef Andy Hancock of the Gordonville Grill.


To get your tickets for the 2012 Agri-Culinary Experience “Taste of Place” visit Mississippi River Hills Association’s website or contact their coordinator Lisa Palmer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 573-883-2500. Reservations need to be made by June 15, 2012.

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