From Potato Growers to Restaurant Owners: The Segers Are Redefining Farm to Table
“We knew within the first week that we’ve hit on something” says Wendi Seger, speaking of Locavores, Alamosa’s newest restaurant. On September 5, 2016, Wendi, along with her husband Matt, opened Locavores, a restaurant committed to serving local, fresh food. The Segers have been potato farmers in the San Luis Valley for over 20 years, but they saw a need for a fresh and healthy restaurant option, which led them into this new venture. “In 2009 we began to commit to a healthier lifestyle and found there was a lack of options for us,” Wendi recalls. Wendi and Matt set out to fill this need, which resulted in the opening of Locavores. The Segers wanted to offer their customers local foods that were fast and that they could afford. “Our goal was to keep it affordable but fresh” says Wendi.
Wendi defines a “locavore” as, “someone who is passionate about local foods.” Locavores marks all of their local foods with a green “L” on the menu. Wendi commented that being transparent with customers is very important to her. When food that simply cannot be produced within their 200 mile local radius, such as rice, it is made clear. You can find tomatoes from Worth the Drive, Quinoa from White Mountain Farms, and much more. As for potatoes, the Seger Family Farm supplies many of the restaurant’s potatoes, but they also come from Metz Potato and Worley Family Farms, and their fingerlings come from Rockey Farms. Wendi says that a goal of hers when developing the menu for Locavores was to make sure they show people how to eat potatoes in a healthy way. This initiative is proving successful for the restaurant, as potatoes are a popular menu item at Locavores, especially with the gluten-free crowd. Locavores serves a baked potato that’s “as big as a shoe” because in Wendi’s own words, “we’re proud that we’re in potato country!”
Wendi says that one of the perks of Locavores is that it gives local growers a platform to share their food with the community. “We’re making our neighbors celebrities,” she says, and it’s true. She recalled when Brendon Rockey, of Rockey Farms, came in for lunch one day and the entire restaurant erupted into applause. Locavores does an remarkable job of showcasing the farms that provide the food for their menu. The first thing that catches your eye when entering Locavores is a large map of the region that takes up the entire Eastern wall. A sticker marks local farms that contribute to the Locavores meu. In the restaurant’s lobby, you can read stories from the various farms that supply Locavores with food. When a customer buys a meal from Locavores, they can attach the food they are eating to the farmer that produced it. “There are so many options that are fresh here,” she says of the San Luis Valley, referring to its rich agricultural roots.
As for future plans, Wendi says that she plans for Locavores to one day be a franchise. “There are no food chains with a local food mission,” says Wendi, and that is another void she is looking to fill down the road. The Segers are excited for the future, and thankful for the amazing response from the community that Locavores has received. Their success is evidence that with dedication and hard work, great ideas can take form. Says Wendi, “I can’t tell you how many people have said ‘the restaurant business is hard’ and ‘are you crazy’? The answer is yes. It takes crazy people to withstand lack of belief or support from others and follow a belief or vision.”
You can stop by Locavores at 2209 Main St. in Alamosa, Colorado, visit them online at www.eatlocavores.com, or find them on Facebook and Twitter (@eatlocavores).