The Quad-Cities Food Hub market’s modest inventory of jams, coffee, chips, salsa and sorgham doesn’t match the big plans that are about to take hold.

The food hub, a local food initiative, added a store manager in February. It will move into a larger space at Davenport’s Freight House in a few weeks that will offer more products and more resources that are expected to be available this summer.

These developments come 2 1/2 years after local food proponents first pushed for the creation of a food hub and market offering locally grown and produced products. A $100,000 grant received last fall is helping with start-up and salary costs.

“I’ve felt like it has taken too much time, but being exposed to other working groups for Iowa, we’ve learned it has taken a couple of years for others to get off the ground,” said Carla Jaquet, food hub board president. “We are probably right on track.”

The market shares the Freight House, at 421 W. River Drive, with Nostalgia Farms Fresh Deli and the Front Street tasting room.

Wendy Saathoff, the store manager, is increasing inventory with an eye toward the expanded space that also will offer coolers for perishable items, a community kitchen as a business incubator and a virtual market that will connect farmers to buyers such as grocery stores or restaurants.

“There is so much needing to take place,” Saathoff said. “There are so many areas to develop that we don’t want to be compared to a grocery store.”

Current products on the shelf include coffee from a Kewanee, Ill., company, jams and jellies from Park View and honey from Fulton, Ill., along with more regional products.

“We want to keep local — within 100 miles — and do some regional products up to 250 miles,” she said.

“Sometimes, you have to be realistic. You aren’t going to find some things locally.”

Barb Pethoud made a delivery to the food hub store Friday. Her and husband, Steve, operate Barb’s Pantry and make jams, jellies, doughnuts and other baked goods in Park View. They began selling at farmers markets but now distribute to several Hy-Vee Food Stores and have added the Food Hub. Barb Pethoud met Saathoff when Saathoff worked at the Bettendorf Hy-Vee in the healthy marketplace section.

“We needed somewhere for people to find our stuff in the off-season,” Barb Pethoud said. “We’re just a natural fit here.”

Knowing coolers will be available soon, Saathoff recently began reaching out to dairy and meat producers while also working with local contacts she made during her five years at Hy-Vee. She is applying to the city for a beer and wine license. The store already offers non-alcoholic root beer from Davenport’s Great River Brewery.

The kitchen is expected to be used by someone who wants to start a baked good business but isn’t ready to open a storefront, said Steve Ahrens, Levee Improvement Commission development director. That person can use the kitchen’s resources to experiment with recipes or create inventory. The levee commission oversees the Freight House.

He said the kitchen is a work in progress and must be be cleaned before it can be certified by the Scott County Health Department.

“We are starting to hear from interested people about using it,” Ahrens said, saying a master calendar will be kept to track users who rent it.

The food hub is meant as a regional entity, Jaquet and Saathoff said. An open house and fundraiser will be held soon to show off the market’s new space.

“A lot of folks need some information about the food hub,” Jaquet said. “We think of ourselves as a Quad-Cities-wide initiative.”

(5) comments

darcy rostenbach

The Food Hub, if I am not mistaken, is located to the far EAST of the building. They will anchor the East and the Freight House Farmers' Market will anchor the west. (This came straight from their Chairperson.) Hope this helps to clarify it's location. We did not feel slighted, just surprised as previously stated. We all have the same goals in mind and look forward to working and GROWING together.


It is too bad that the writer regarding the Freight House Farmers' Market
did not notice that the Food Hub article was concerning a new business which
is opening in the Quad Cities and the reference to the other businesses
located in the building (on either side) were as a marker to the public as
to where exactly in the building the Food Hub is located. The building is
quite large, and to the casual visitor it can become quite confusing as to
what is located where. I believe the Freight House Farmers' Market has
received plenty of notice in the past and will probably receive it in the
future, and the perceived slight from the article was just that - perceived.

darcy rostenbach

Yes, I was very surprised that the Freight House Farmers' Market was not mentioned in this article as well. We do share our most valuable resource with the Food Hub, that being the FARMER and PRODUCER.
The Freight House building has been the home to the Freight House Farmers' Market since 2008. In 2007 a monthly indoor market was held by our vendors as a test model and we have moved full speed ahead since then! Our outdoor Market in the parking lots of this building provide a home to 200+ small businesses May-October!
Can this seriously be an oversite? The Market is the only business, be it non-profit or otherwise, that has made a successful go of it in that location for over 30 years, I wish the Food Hub well moving into their new role, they have only begun to tap the resources available to them in their endeavor. I so wish for a cooperative and transparent neighbor sharing our finest resource, our FARMERS and PRODUCERS. Afterall, I believe we have the same mission at hand. Supplying the QC Area and beyond with healthy, safe nutrition grown locally by responsible individuals who covet the land on which they grow!

Heilmann Hawkeye Acres

It is unfortunate that the Freight House Market wasn't mentioned. We only intend to enhance all sales of local products and produce. The Davenport Freight House Market is an asset to the Quad Cities as well as all the markets in the area including Clinton and Muscatine. We are trying to give urban gardeners and farmers more avenues of sales.
There are 17 Food Hubs in the state of Iowa. Some on the west side of Iowa include Nebraska as we include Illinois. Many other states are watching to see our success.


They also share the building with the finest local farmer's market in the area. Surprising they missed that fact. lol

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