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Quad-City Food Hub photo

Wendy Saathoff sits before a product display at the Freight House Food Hub.

Our AWOL springtime is scheduled to show up Saturday with a forecast warm enough to serve as an invitation to revisit Davenport’s Freight House Farmers Market.

There, you’ll find out what creative Davenporters were thinking when they charted a new course in 2010 for the Freight House.

By 2010, the city and its Levee Improvement Commission had gone around and around with a succession of restaurants and clubs that flared, then fizzled. Sports club, comedy club, rib joint, family dining. All here, then gone.

Ideas already were percolating when we convened an editorial board meeting at the Freight House patio and heard the dreams and ideas the commission had been inspiring. The most audacious of those ideas? Forget about clubs and national chain restaurants. Build on the farmers market success by dedicating more space to sustainable, local food products.

Fast forward to 2013 and those dreams are coming true.

Fresh Deli is making yummy meals out of locally grown produce offered by longtime farmers market vendor Nostalgia farms. The year-old startup provides first-class Quad-City food and views

Next came the Quad-Cities Food Hub, a year-round store stocked with locally roasted coffee, homemade salsa and other products from Q-C food entrepreneurs.

Together with the venerable farmers market, these new businesses are creating a regional destination, not just for market Saturdays, but for every day.

Those visions of 2010 have been followed by months of research.

“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, food hub board president Carla Jaquet told Times reporter Kurt Allemeier. “We are probably right on track.”

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We’d say on track and perhaps ahead of schedule.

Establishing a new retail business is tough, as the succession of Freight House failures would suggest. This time around seems so different.

This builds on the Freight House Farmers Market distinction of high-quality, locally grown and prepared products that already enjoy a deep, dedicated customer base. It rides a wave of sustainability that is changing food-buying habits across America.

This is the dream shared by many who participated in our Freight House editorial board meeting in 2010. Our thanks to the Freight House Farmers Market, Davenport Levee Commission and the new Q-C Food Hub and Fresh Deli entrepreneurs who are doing the hard work that makes big dreams come true.

Taste it for yourself this warm Saturday, or any day at the re-energized Davenport Freight House.

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