Roaming Root Cellar awarded Golden Carrot

Erica Moeller, owner of the Roaming Root Cellar.
Erica Moeller, owner of the Roaming Root Cellar.(Courtesy Kith and Kin Photography)
Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 5:24 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS Alaska (KTUU) - The Roaming Root Cellar in Fairbanks was awarded the Golden Carrot award by the Alaska Department of Agriculture on Dec. 1 in a Department of Natural Resources press release.

The Golden Carrot was a contest devised by the Alaska Division of Agriculture to help increase visibility for Alaska Grown products. The contest challenges Alaskans to spend $5 on Alaska Grown produce, and is based on how many Alaska Grown products are sold by stores between June and November. The previous five awards had all been given to large stores in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Roaming Root Cellar owner Erica Moeller is the first woman and first veteran to win the Golden Carrot.

“I feel very proud. I feel very proud of our team and our community... What I have done here did not happen in a vacuum and it would not have happened if I didn’t have the people working for me that I do or the community that I do, so I am just grateful. I am so so grateful and I am so proud of the people around me that have helped make this happen,” Moeller said. “This is a testament to the fact that our state and our community need more places like this and that yeah, that there is a need for local.”

Moeller opened the Roaming Root Cellar in late February of 2020, just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original store was located in a 23 foot long 1979 Bluebird bus. Moeller reopened later that summer to in-person customers, and has since expanded into a larger space in the Chena Pump Plaza.

“When you combine high-quality, produce with innovative and resilient business practices, you get a standout Interior business like Erica Moeller’s Roaming Root Cellar,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “I am proud to see this Golden Heart City businesswoman get the recognition she deserves for helping expand Alaska’s agriculture business and build our state’s food security.”

Opening at the start of the pandemic, Moeller was forced to adapt quickly, a skill she says she learned in the Army. Moeller and her team at the Roaming Root Cellar feature products from 190 Alaskan vendors.

“I believe I can claim that that is the most of any of the stores that support Alaska Grown here in Fairbanks,” Moeller said. “We are the only place in Alaska that sells 100% Alaskan Grown produce.”

The Roaming Root Cellar became the first northern store to win the award, following Carrs in Palmer, Walmart in Wasilla, and Fred Meyer in Palmer each of the last two years. While the department issued a press release naming the Roaming Root Cellar as the Golden Carrot award winner for 2021 last Wednesday, a ceremony will be held and livestreamed on Dec. 9 at noon.

“I think from a larger picture it maybe means a different direction for this award and for kind of the Alaska Grown initiative, as well as putting the spotlight on small businesses in Alaska, especially in a time when not only small businesses but the people that supply our small businesses really kind of need the spotlight,” Moeller said.

Products from the Roaming Root Cellar are available all across the U.S. through their website. Moeller said that she hopes to eventually grow into a larger space, and would like to see a cooperative for local businesses in Fairbanks.

“This company exemplifies the Alaska spirit, supporting our producers and serving consumers in the heart of Alaska,” Division of Agriculture Director David Schade said.

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