August 2010

Digging a Community Garden and More: Mississippi Market’s Eco Stamp Program

One of the only (slightly) disappointing things about living in the city center is the lack of nearby space to grow my own garden. I'm lucky to have a mother who lets me help rock out a serious amount of produce from her garden each year; many others turn to garden matchmakers, modular gardens, rooftop farms, and other urban gardening projects.

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Book Review: "Superbug" Tells Scary Story About Dangers of Antibiotics in Food Supply

I’m not generally prone to fear, but two pages into Maryn McKenna’s Suberbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA, a chill ran down my spine. McKenna opens her book with a story about a teenager named Tony who scraped his elbow after taking a tumble in the school gym. His elbow healed, but days later his left knee began to swell and throb. He developed a fever and body aches. Bay the time he was taken to a hospital, Tony was in septic shock. The ICU staff pumped him full of drugs and surgeons sliced through his body, draining infection from his hand, knee and thigh that reached all the way to the bone. “They told me he was the sickest child on that ICU,” his mother recalled. “They didn’t expect him to live.”

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How Awesome Was This Year's Local Food Pig Roast and Potluck in Minneapolis? Even More Awesome Than Last Year's!

Even those among us who doubt the existence of a higher power shared the sense that someone -- or something -- was smiling down on us this past Sunday, August 15. After a long string of sticky, icky, ninety-degree days, the more than 150 local food lovers who gathered at Minneapolis' Minnehaha Falls enjoyed some of the finest food, fun, music, and -- yes -- weather we've had all summer. Simple, Good, and Tasty's Second Annual Pig Roast and Potluck gathered together families from all over the metro area to share stories, recipes, favorite family foods, and phone numbers with brand new friends. It was awesome.

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Ravishing Radishes Make Sweet and Spicy Snacks

Cherry Belle, French Breakfast, White Icicle, Plum Purple – these are just a few varieties of summer radishes that are garnering attention in the produce aisle and at farmers’ markets and gracing CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes. The jewel-toned beauties we’ve been receiving from our CSA are fat and gorgeous, almost too pretty to eat. We ogle, then quickly get them into a salad, or slice for a quick and cooling snack as these sweet and spicy nuggets keep in the refrigerator only for a short time.

This root crop can mature in as little as three weeks, which, for those with gardens, is about as close to instant gratification as growing your own vegetables can get. If left in the ground too long, they can get woody, pithy and mighty spicy, so it’s okay to get greedy with your radish reaping.

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Perennial Plate Video: Harvest Time at Whole Grain Milling Co.

August is harvest time for grains. Last week I had the good fortune of spending two days at Welcome, Minnesota's Whole Grain Milling Co. where they take a number of grains from organic beginnings to a co-op or grocery store shelf near you. I observed the oat harvesting process, but it was owner Doug Hilgendorf's words that made the biggest impression on me. Watch and see if they strike you the same way.

 

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Rain/Heat/Weeds Got You Down? Think Happy Thoughts!

It’s been quite a hot and rainy summer so far this year. But rather than complain about it, I have chosen to focus on the many benefits of all this heat and moisture. So I share with you my list of happy thoughts about what this hot, humid summer has given me on the farm this year.

Happy thought #1: No need to water. In the early spring we set up the sprinkling system in the gardens and orchard, but so far, have only had it on just once – and the moment we turned it off, a robust thunderstorm swept through, depositing more than two inches of rain.  It’s been raining like that all summer long: thunder storms with one to two inches of rain every few days – our own reliable, natural, automated watering system.

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Simple, Good, and Tasty's August Bookclub Selection: The Minnesota Table

How many times have you unsuspectingly picked up an amazing cookbook, tuned into the Food Network, or flipped through a copy of Bon Appétit and found yourself with a rumbling stomach and watering mouth? Well, this month’s Simple, Good and Tasty book club pick is just about guaranteed to put you in the same state.

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Beat the Heat with a Spicy Moroccan Tomato Soup

Before I begin, I ask a moment of your indulgence. Picture me, if you will, walking around my office, proud puff pigeon-chested, handing out cigars to my colleagues, grinning from ear to ear and flashing the picture you see above to anyone who will stand still long enough to look.

Okay, I didn't really do that, but only because I don't have an office to go to. So you'll have to stand in for my hapless co-workers. Ain’t she a beauty? That pretty girl is my first tomato of the season and not only is she gorgeous to look at (do you see those striations of yellow? that smooth orange skin? that shape, my goodness, that shape?), she was gorgeous to eat. Cut cross-wise to reveal flower shaped rounds, I ate her all by myself with nothing but a dusting of sea salt. Divine.

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What is Humane Food?

A few weeks ago, I got a text from my brother-in-law Jeff. He'd just discovered a restaurant he thought I'd love, and the message said, "it was awesome. Put it on your highly recommended list." Jeff has great taste -- I can't think of a time he's steered me wrong -- and I take his recommendations seriously. But Jeff doesn't get all hung up on how his food is sourced the way I do, and I didn't assume that his "it was awesome" meant that I'd feel good about it. I needed to ask.

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Seward Co-op Invites Us to Know Our Grower

Well before "eating local" became a mainstream mantra for conscientious food lovers everywhere, Seward Co-op in Minneapolis has nurtured this philosophy for years by establishing long-lasting relationships with local growers and producers, and providing customers with easily accessible information about the people and places behind the food that they buy.

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