Refined tastes of residents and visitors are fueling a robust local-food movement. Farmers markets are found throughout the region, integral to downtown summers in Fernie, Whitefish, Cranbrook, and Missoula. Busy producer networks hustle to meet popular demand at community-minded restaurants. Inspired by foodie groups like Nourish the Flathead and PEAS Farm, young volunteers invest sweat equity in community gardens and greenhouses. Perennial favorites include Flathead Lake cherries, Dixon melons, Hutterite chickens, grass-fed beef, and Taber corn. Residents are borderline obsessed by wild treasures: huckleberries, saskatoons, morel mushrooms, freshly caught trout, and venison.
Community slice of life is served up daily at Chris’ Restaurant in Crowsnest Pass and Two Medicine Café in East Glacier Park. Locals take their guests to Nina’s Hillside Garden in Kimberley and the Curry Bowl in Fernie. With an ethnic twist in Whitefish, Pescado Blanco serves locally grown food from several farms. In Bigfork and Kalispell, Sweet Peaks concocts strange, wonderful ice creams with local ingredients and milk from Hutterite dairy farms.