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More Than a Box o' Vegetables: Tips on Choosing a CSA

July CSA box from Loon Organics

Well-known farmer and author Joel Salatin once said, "Don't you find it odd that people put more work into choosing a mechanic or contractor than into choosing the person who grows their food?"

 

Let's change that.

 

There are many ways to create connections with local farmers, from shopping at co-ops to frequenting farmers markets that feature locally grown produce. But to really get to know the people who grow your food from seed to harvest, consider a community supported agriculture (CSA) share. (For a quick primer on CSAs, zip over to this article for a CSA 101 description.)

 

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Tradition, Memory, and Cinnamon: Making My Grandmother's Beef Soup

My grandmother's beef soup, recreated

I grew up on a small dairy farm in western North Dakota, and I still get terribly homesick from time to time. Even though I've spent more of my life away from there, it still has my heart. It's still my home. One of the hardest parts of growing older is wanting those comforts of the past, but coming to terms with the fact that they'll never again be as you remember them. It's the pull of nostalgia, I suppose, to miss being that carefree kid running around the farm and seeing childhood friends, to miss regularly seeing my aunts, uncles, and cousins. To miss talking with my grandparents, who have all passed away.  

 

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DIY Craft Cocktails: Festive Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Making drinks for those who can't (or prefer not to) drink alcohol can be a bit of a challenge. It's easy to offer a guest a bottle of soda, juice, or sparkling water, but in the context of a party, particularly during the holidays, it's more fun and inviting to plan ahead and be able to offer them a beverage that's more intricate, more special, more festive.

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Making Coot Edible (and a Recipe for Coot Cotechino)

I have been duck hunting for almost 30 years, and in that time I have shot a lot of ducks. I have also eaten a lot of ducks. Everybody has a favorite kind of duck to eat; mine is the wood duck. To me, there is nothing tastier than a nice, fat wood duck. Wood Ducks have a tendency to eat acorns, and that diet gives their meat a sweeter milder flavor. Most people prefer to eat the mallard because they are a milder flavored duck as well, and many people claim that the canvasback is the finest duck to eat. As far as eating ducks go these three are probably the most revered because of their milder flavor. Wild ducks are much more powerful in flavor than domestic ducks and many people who claim to love eating duck don’t enjoy the taste of wild ducks.

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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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