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Simple, Good, and Tasty Local Gift Guide 2013

It's getting to be that time of year when we're encouraged to buy, buy, buy. But when you're thinking about gifts this year, why not shop local? We've got a round-up of local Twin Cities and Minnesota gift suggestions from our writers. There's something for everyone on your list, from hand-crafted goods like pottery and knitwear to experiences like a tour of local inns to a gift that keeps on giving like a flower CSA share. You can also check out gift guides from 2012 and 2011 for some perennial local gift suggestions.

 

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The Art of Seed Saving

As I walk through the field, I observe the insect populations, the soil condition, and the health of field. I notice the plants that seem to be stronger, more beautiful, or more resilient than the others and carefully make note of them. Each plant is cared for with a loving hand and a thoughtful mind, because the field is not only filled with food for the season, it is filled with seeds. Seeds that will grow food for future generations.

 

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The Farm Bill: A Family Farm’s Story through Ninety Years of Legislation

This piece is the first in a new SGT series exploring how the Farm Bill has impacted a single family’s farm. Below is a Google Map with some key points of interest in the author’s connection to the Farm Bill and food in general. Take a moment to add your own points of interest by clicking here.

 

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Late Fall Cookbook Round-Up, Part II

If you love cookbooks as much as I do, you’re always looking for more to add to your (already abundant) collection. As we enter into winter, I’ve rounded up a few of the most exciting cookbooks from the season, which I’ve been cooking from (and just reading) all fall and all of which I’m super happy to add to my shelves.

 

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Late Fall Cookbook Round-Up, Part I

If you love cookbooks as much as I do, you’re always looking for more to add to your (already abundant) collection. As we enter into winter, I’ve rounded up a few of the most exciting cookbooks from the season, which I’ve been cooking from (and just reading) all fall and all of which I’m super happy to add to my shelves.

 

For your cookbook-perusing pleasure, I’ve given each book a likely fan category, but many of the books include a wide variety of recipes. Here are the first four; the next four will be coming in Part II next week. (Even the most ardent cookbook fans can experience cookbook overload, after all.)

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Farm Journal: A Snowy Goodbye to the Fields and the Seasons

This is the final post in a summer-long series from a young farmer working as a harvest crew leader at Gardens of Eagan.

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Talking With Your Mouth Full: How We Communicate With Food

Quick, think of your favorite comfort food. Is it the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, or Chicago style pizza, or dim sum?

 

Now think about why it is a comfort for you. Is there a nostalgic memory of the happy dinners your family shared on a particular holiday, or does your comfort food bring you peace after a stressful day?

 

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Elderberries: From Medicine Cabinet to Table

Fellow foragers had warned me about elderberries. They cautioned me about the hours of tedious labor the dark purple berries demand. They told me how the stems, unripe red berries and even seeds can be slightly toxic as they contain a compound similar to cyanide, and how almost every stem must be painstakingly removed. I’m glad I didn’t listen to these warnings (or conveniently forgot them) as my grandfather and I struck out on a sunny early autumn afternoon to collect our elderberries from a ditch near the family cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. Visions of pies, jams and medicinal tinctures danced in my head, and the elderberry bush, laden with ripe berries seemed happy to oblige. When I pulled my octogenarian grandfather out of the bramble a half hour later, we had four paper bags full of berries. My grandfather wondered if this bounty would be enough for his jam and my various elderberry dreams.

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