Greendale Country Sampler organizer

Greendale Country Sampler organizer

Greendale Country Sampler takes root

Seven years ago the Greendale Country Sampler was but a blip on the brains of a few local home-based business owners. Now, it’s a bustling community event.

Seven years ago the Greendale Country Sampler was but a blip on the brains of a few local home-based business owners. Now, it’s a bustling community event.

This Saturday marks the sixth annual Greendale Country Sampler, which this year is featuring 14 home-grown, home-based businesses all located in the Greendale area. Some of the finds along the way include homemade soaps, pottery, sculptures, garden tours, greenhouse flowers, cheese, honey and even earthworms.

Yes, earthworms.

Finding unique, new businesses to keep the event fresh each year hasn’t been difficult.detail

“Greendale has grown,” said Holly McKeen, owner of Greendale Pottery and Country Guest House; one of the original participating businesses. “It has such a nice variety of people and little businesses and everyone seems to want to celebrate it. When it comes sampler time, it hasn’t been hard at all to get people on board … they’re clamouring to be a part of it.”

Books like the 100-Mile Diet and shows like the Food Network’s 100-Mile Challenge, which focus on local eating, have helped boost the sampler’s success.

More people are becoming interested in buying and eating local, said McKeen.

“This day is exciting because it allows the community a behind-the-scenes look, they’re able to meet the producers, see the farms, share the lifestyle. You wouldn’t believe how many people come in and say they had no idea there was so much they could get right here in Greendale.”

The sampler started with eight businesses, and now showcases 14 businesses plus three sponsors. On the day, there are tours and demonstrations, kids’ attractions, educational fare, food sampling and more.

In terms of solid numbers, however, the sampler, which brings in anywhere from 200 to 500 people, doesn’t compare to other events like the Slow Food Cycle Tour, which attracts upwards of 1,000 people, many of who come from the city.

That’s the way organizers like it.

“We’ve grown in numbers to a point,” said McKeen. “But this is a smaller event, it’s more of a community event.”

And because of that, it’s less-crowded and more intimate.

For a full list of participating businesses, and a map, visit the sampler website at www.greendalesampler.com.

kbartel@theprogress.com