The innovative foods sold within the walls of an old printing warehouse on San Antonio’s near East Side include a freshly fermented bloody mary mix, locally farmed produce or a cluster of black garlic.
“The main reason for the event is to get chefs down here and see what we have to offer,” said Bryan Pape of Truckin’ Tomato, who started the LocalSprout market in January 2017. “And for the public, this is their chance to get down here and get the same locally grown protein and produce that’s being used in the area’s best restaurants.”
Pape works with more than 40 area farms, offering whatever is in season in either a chilled summer room (set to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, 15 Celsius) for fruits and vegetables or a large walk-in meat freezer.
Customers can find a fresh cup of coffee made from Ethiopian beans roasted on site, a cold bowl of rice pudding, imported olive oils and balsamic vinegars infused with a variety of herbs, wild boar meat, artisan pickles, boiled peanuts and hot food for sale — plus, of course, the produce and meats.
There’s even a fermentation lab, where Madge’s Food Co. produces jams, pickles, kimchi and a refreshing, spicy bloody mary mix that’s a top seller and now stocked at area Total Wine outlets.
When LocalSprout isn’t open to the public, it’s a wholesaler to local restaurants.
The businesses all share a common goal of creating locally sourced, sustainable products, and they complement each other, sometimes even using each other’s ingredients.
“We’re all like-minded entrepreneurs, and it’s not so much an incubator as it is a think tank,” Paprocki said. “With your business, you may have a problem and somebody else will have an answer. One team. One goal.”