Discover local food, agriculture at annual Pedal to Plate event
News from Mission Mountain Area Pedal to Plate
RONAN — This Saturday food and cycling enthusiasts will be visiting local farms and tantalizing their taste buds with local foods, under the backdrop of the breathtaking vistas of the Mission Mountain Range. The 2023 Mission Mountain Pedal to Plate will immerse 150 participants in a countryside bike tour that explores local heritage, scenery, community, and agriculture in the Ronan area.
This unique agritourism event was created to support local farms and businesses by a group of local volunteer organizers with fiscal sponsorship and support from Mission West Community Development Partners. Agritourism is the synthesis of agriculture and tourism and creates opportunities for local farms to bring in more revenue while engaging and educating visitors in agricultural practices, culture, and healthful, responsible food sourcing. Agritourism events like MMAPP support and highlight small-scale, local farms, contributing to the overall success of the farm and local food system. “For consumers, agritourism offers a chance to forge tangible connections with where their food comes from and the producers who raise and grow it,” says Liz Hansen, Food and Ag Development Coordinator at Mission West Community Development Partners, “when you add cycling to the mix, it results in a delightful, educational, and community-building event.”
This year, on Sept. 23, participants will embark on a scenic journey, weaving along the scenic pastoral roads of the Mission Valley. Along the route, cyclists will make stops at five to seven local, sustainable farms and gardens, where they can savor delectable bites of locally sourced food while taking in some local farm education and exploration.
The pedaling tour commences and concludes in the heart of the agricultural community of Ronan. Cyclists can kickstart their day with a cup of coffee before setting off at 9 a.m. to explore the featured farms along the route. Farm stops incorporates a food highlight produced by the farm and the opportunity to tour and learn from the producers operating each farm.
This year’s event is offering a few new features that have not been offered in events past. This year, MMAPP cycling participants can choose between two route options: a 50-mile route for those aiming to complete a half century, and a slightly shorter route of 38 miles. Both routes predominantly follow fully paved rural roads, with brief stretches of gravel (up to a quarter mile) granting access to the rural farms.
MMAPP is also offering options for those less interested in cycling and more interested in supporting and experiencing local food. MMAPP historically concludes the day’s ride with a locally sourced dinner and an exclusive farmers’ market, but this year, non-cyclists will be able to partake in the post-ride festivities. This year’s delightful, locally sourced, family-friendly farm-to-table dinner will feature Ronan Cooperative Brewery’s beer, live local music from JIMnI, and an artisan’s farmers market that takes place on the downtown streets of Ronan. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase at the ride for $40.
Mission Mountain Pedal to Plate promises an unforgettable day filled with exploration, delicious cuisine, and a deep connection to Montana’s agricultural roots. Registration is full this year, but the ride is held annually on the Saturday of the autumnal equinox. Mark your calendars for September 21, 2024. For registration and event details visit: www.bikereg.com/MMAPP.