Try local cooking

The new build-it-yourself meal service TriLocal highlights local foods


Joe Thomas, Katrina Becker and Maggie Christians are pooling their foodie know-how to create TriLocal, a build-it-yourself local foods meal service.

Maybe you’ve eaten at a local restaurant that specializes in gourmet dishes made from local food and wondered, “Wow, how could I make that?” A trio of local food fans and purveyors are hoping to provide the answer to that question.

That’s the idea behind TriLocal, a new meal box service. But TriLocal’s founders, Katrina Becker of Cattail Organics, Maggie Christians of Navieve Fromagerie, and Joe Thomas of Sconni’s Alehouse and Eatery, are quick to point out that TriLocal is a lot different from Blue Apron and similar services. First, the emphasis is on local food and what’s in season, including veggies from Cattail Organics and cheese from the Fromagerie.

“There’s a lot of interest in meal plans, or learning how to cook something new,” Becker says. “That’s something we hope to address.”

Second, people should think of TriLocal more like a local foods-focused cooking class in a box, rather than an ongoing meal prep service. TriLocal supplies the ingredients for a gourmet-level meal, and a recipe and instructions from Thomas, but for now only once a month.

Thomas, who helped kick off the use of local foods in gourmet dishes at Sconni’s, says he strives to find that balance between recipes that are a challenge but still accessible for someone marginally comfortable in the kitchen.

“Some of the things I cook get a little fancy, but I want to make sure they’re recipes that the home cook can do,” Thomas says. “I want people to realize, ‘I can do this, it’s not that hard.’ ”

The first meal, for example, is a green goddess gazpacho (a raw vegetable and herb soup), paired with goat cheese from the Fromagerie and sourdough croutons from The Main Grain Bakery in Stevens Point.

TriLocal is starting with a three-month trial run. The service costs $30 for one meal and recipe a month, or $75 for three months for the first trial. There are also add-on options for different kinds of meats. Each month includes one recipe and the needed ingredients—enough for a light meal to serve four people.

Becker, Thomas and Christians started promoting TriLocal at the Big Bull Falls Farm Market on June 17 and several people have already signed up, Christians says. Her Navieve Fromagerie store now has a stand at the that market (in front of the old VFW, next to the long-running Wausau Farmers Market). That’s been a great way to connect with customers, she says. Christians does more than just sell cheese. Her store, as well as market stand, offers meals and events that focus on local, regional and seasonal products.

If TriLocal’s launch is successful, the owners hope to expand the service to every month of the year, and more than once per month. Even with Wisconsin’s rather short growing season, that’s possible because local farmers offer root and other long-storing vegetables all year long, Becker says.

“It’s like a substitute for going out,” Becker says. “It’s like an introvert’s cooking class.”

The first meal starts in August, with a cooking demo and kick off event planned at Sconni’s. Thomas is joining the project on his own but Sconni’s is supportive, he explains. Customers interested can sign up at Navieve Fromagerie, which is also where they’d pick up their monthly boxes, or see Christians at the Big Bull Falls Farm Market on River Drive.