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Living Local

On my first visit to the Fancy Food show floor today, I bypassed the pavilions for France, Germany, Italy and numerous other countries and instead headed directly for the state and regional exhibitors.

I would visit the foreign country sections later, but my initial interest was seeing what types of products regional producers are offering.

It’s no secret that the local movement is growing in food retailing. Retailers are cutting in “local” sections and doing much more to highlight foods grown and produced in their backyards.

Whole Foods even has a Local Producer Loan Program, which provides up to $10 million in low-interest loans to small, local producers. Loans range from $1,000 to $100,000, and can be for things like purchasing more animals, investing in new equipment or converting to organic production.

“We believe in supporting local farmers and producers,” Whole foods said of the program. “We want to make it easier for them to grow their businesses and bring more local products to market.”

State and regional exhibitors at the Fancy Food Show sampled many items that tap into current health and wellness trends.

In the “New York” section, for instance, I found gluten-free pasta sauces made with San Marzano tomatoes. They are produced by Cucina Antica Foods in Bedford Hills, N.Y. Nearby was a display of gluten-free, all-natural seasonings from Onion Creek Farms, Chili, N.Y.; fair trade coffee from A Taste of the Adirondacks, Morrisonville. N.Y.; and kosher cookies from La Vita Health Foods, Suffern, N.Y.

State and regional producers are also up on flavor trends. In the Virginia pavilion, for instance, buyers flocked to Route 11 Potato Chips, which come in unique flavors like dill pickle and Chesapeake crab.

I also visited Texas, where there were four new varieties of Doctor Kracker crisps: fire roasted, apple, cherry semolina and hummus maximus.

Pennsylvania producers also had a lot to offer, like brandied peaches from Grouse Hunt Farms in Tamaqua.