Out & About

Junior Year: Starting its third season, Linden Hills Farmers Market embarks on some big changes


Every weekend from June to October, there are almost 20 farmers markets within a five-mile radius of Southwest Minneapolis, says Linden Hills Farmers Market manager Libby Wyrum. That can make it challenging for even established markets to draw traffic, but for a newer market like Linden Hills, it can mean the difference between thriving and tanking.


"At this point, the market's board of directors could see that we needed to do something new, or close up the whole venture," Wyrum says. "They've been phenomenal in trying to take on a visionary approach for this year."


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School Lunch Makeover: A new project is bringing more training to farmers, which means better produce for kids

Jefferson Salad Bar

Did you know that Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is buying free-range, hormone-free turkey from Ferndale market, carrots and red potatoes from the Hmong American Farmers Association, squash from L & R Produce, and kale from Gardens of Eagan?


Farm-to-school is booming at Minneapolis Public Schools, thanks to an innovative new partnership with the University of Minnesota. The university's On-Farm Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Education Program and the Minneapolis Public School Culinary & Nutrition Services are teaming up to provide training and technical assistance to farmers selling to MPS for the school meal program in an effort to boost the amount of fresh, local produce MPS can procure.


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Eat Local, Fund Local: Four tasty Kickstarter campaigns bring more flavor to the Cities

Mmm, pizza

Kickstarter has been a boon to an array of creative businesses, from small arts organizations to dance troupes to filmmakers — recently, it expanded to include more categories, such as food businesses and farming enterprises, and the result is delicious. 


Started in 2009, the site is a crowdfunding platform where funders pledge to support a specific project within a certain timeframe. The fledgling enterprises set the dollar goal, and if pledges meet that amount by the deadline, they get the funds. If not, the venture goes unfunded. 


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Stubborn as an Ox: South Minneapolis coffee shop refuses to let long winter shutter its doors

Blue Ox Coffee Company

Whether you’re ticking off the days that we’ve been below zero (53 at last check) or griping about the endless battle with snow and ice removal, it seems you can’t escape a conversation in Minnesota without at least broaching the subject of this long winter.


It’s hard to argue that it has hit some harder than others, and that includes local small business owner, Melanie Logan, who runs the vibrant South Minneapolis coffeehouse Blue Ox Coffee Company at 3740 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis. Logan recently made the hard decision to turn to social media and ask her customers and supporters for a little extra help while winter still has us in its polar vortex headlock. She sat down with Simple, Good and Tasty to talk about the overwhelming response to her request and her hopes for the shop’s future. 


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Five Surprising Places to Eat Local

Makers Cafe

Knowing which field a pig frolicked in before being turned into your lardon used to be the stuff of fancypants restaurants and Portlandia sketches.


But eating food grown or raised within a small radius of where one is currently standing is becoming more common in the Twin Cities, as the people who help feed us realize it can be good not just for health and planet, but also for the bottom line. 


It’s easier for consumers to choose local, not only when grocery shopping or making a dinner reservation, but in all of the places they might want to grab a bite. Here are five surprising places to eat local in Minneapolis and St. Paul. 


At work

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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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Hunting for Dinner: Flushing Grouse

I used to go grouse hunting all the time when my grandparents had a cabin on Leech Lake. It was easy for me to go: I would just walk out the back door and off into the woods for the morning or afternoon, and that was all there was to it. But when my grandparents sold their cabin, I stopped grouse hunting, and I haven’t been grouse hunting in over 20 years. So when my brother asked me if I wanted to head up to his in-laws’ land in northern Minnesota to go grouse hunting, I jumped at the opportunity.


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Gardens, Not Lawns: Fritz Haeg's Edible Estates

Each year, Americans spend roughly $30 billion dollars on pesticides, fertilizers, machinery, water, and energy in the name of maintaining thousands of little green blades of Kentucky Blue. Lawns are built into the American lifestyle; many of us have fond memories of pushing our toy lawnmower alongside a parent as they cut the grass every Sunday to keep it from becoming overgrown, or running through the sprinkler in the intense heat of late summer as it waters the crunchy, browning blades.

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For Prairie Vodka, Substance is Style

“Organic” isn’t a word I usually associate with vodka. Sure, organic is commendable. Organic is responsible. Organic is even noble.


But these homespun virtues don’t exactly dovetail with vodka’s typically glitzy image. Commercials for big-name vodkas often beguile the viewer with fussy fantasy worlds that feature dazzling women, surreal Norse landscapes, ice palace discos, and fashion runways a-pop with camera flashes.


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