What I Ate at the MN State Fair

I recently spent a day at the MN State Fair with my friend and cohort Tracy Morgan, and we did our best to eat as much local food we can could cram into our eager bellies. Here are a few of our favorites.

I started with a big ole turkey drumstick, the kind I've watched people carry around for ages at all sorts of festivals and fairs (Tracy passed on this). I had to admit to Tracy that I'm not much of a food "toucher" - I'm kind of a knife and fork guy - but the drumstick was tender and delicious, with a bit of sweet sauce on top. I didn't do too much gnawing on the bone, partly because it's not my thing, and partly beause I was saving room for more food.

Although the turkey people swore that my bird was raised locally, I was bummed out (though not surprised) by the dearth of good food information at the Fair - apparently finding locally raised food is not the top thing on many Fair-goers minds. C'mon people!

Same goes for the frozen cider pops that Tracy and I ate - which, at $1, were the cheapest thing we found by far. We were told that the pops were local, and they were surrounded by local apples (pictured here), so we took the apple people at their word.

Here's Tracy eating her frozen cider pop:

Next, we took a stroll through the "world of jerky" (my name, not theirs), visiting the elk people and sampling some of their meat sticks. These turned out to be tender and tasty, and - at $5 for 4 sticks - just enough salty goodness to share.

If I'm being honest, the chipotle buffalo jerky from Eichten's Hidden Acres was even better. And when washing it down became our priority, Tracy and I mosied down to the Countryside Market, where Renewing the Countryside had set up shop, selling $4 Maple and Choke Cherry Sodas. I had the maple - much like cream soda, with the lingering sweetness of pure maple syrup.

I was sad not to try the capresse (their spelling, not mine) on a stick - locally grown tomatoes and basil, skewered with fresh mozzerella - or the fresh watermelon from Gardens of Eagan. But the week is still young, my friends, and I did the best I could.

Tracy and I completed our day's feast with a trip to Giggles Campfire grill, where we shared a basket of fried sunfish with a raspberry chipotle sauce for $7. I washed it down with a local beer, and that was that. Here's Tracy downing a sunfish, presumably from up north.

I'll be back at the Fair on Saturday morning, discussing what's Fresh and Local with Susan Berkson and Bonnie Dehn from the Minneapolis Farmers Market. I'm looking forward to tasting what I missed - any suggestions?