lizzie holzapfel

Six Acres of Asparagus

If you are like me, you get excited during those warming days when displays of fresh asparagus start appearing in your local markets, and if you happen to stumble upon J & S Produce you might just think you’ve found a little piece of vegetable heaven. J & S Produce is a little farm fifteen minutes west of Spooner, WI, on highway 70, where farmer Joe Strenke has six beautiful acres of organic asparagus. I stopped there a week ago with my mom on the way up to our cabin near Hayward, WI and between the two of us we bought nine pounds of asparagus at $3.00 a pound. While Joe washed and bundled up our asparagus, which he had picked that very morning, I chatted with him a bit and took a look around. 


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Adventures in Sugaring: Making your own Maple Syrup

After a long winter, it was finally time to make maple syrup—otherwise known as "sugaring". So on a strangely warm Thursday, my friend and I jumped into our car and drove north and then east to my family's cabin near Hayward, Wisconsin. This year did not look too promising with the weather being so balmy and not getting below freezing at night, even in northern Wisconsin...but hey, you never know.


A few minutes drive from our cabin is the Sugarbush, 60 acres of beautiful, thickly wooded land where we tap 35 maple trees. It is a small, family operation but has definitely come a long way through the years. It hasn't necessarily grown but over time, it has become more functional, with the exception of the old logging road that goes onto our land. It is too over-grown to really be considered a road so we park and walk the half mile to where we tap the trees. 


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Changing the Country One Student At a Time

"When schools become a model of what would be a healthy meal, then we are going to improve overall children's health." --Lynn Mader.

The other day I chatted with Lynn Mader, an IATP (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) staff member who works on the Farm to School program in Minnesota. We talked about the successes and challenges of the program and how it is working to bring positive change to our community, to our state and to our country.

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Letting Food Speak For Itself

My sister and I just got back from a trip to Paris where we spent our time exploring the city: hopping on the Metro going from one end of the city to another, stopping to walk through parks, gardens and through markets filled with well dressed Parisians. Going to the Market is always one of my favorite things about Paris. There I move from stand to stand wide eyed with delight as I look at many kinds of French cheeses, olives, meats, fish, wines; stands with fresh breads, pastries, little berry tarts. I always gravitate towards the tables overflowing with abundant produce where I stand in silent debate, "should I get the currants, figs or raspberries?" before deciding just to get all three. Then there are the vegetables; the big beautiful leeks, mushrooms, onions, and zucchinis always bring a tinge of sadness because I do not have a kitchen where I can make a delicious French omelet. 


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Rhubarb: Memories and New Inspirations

When I was young, my grandfather lived in the country near Rochester, Minnesota, and had an abundant vegetable garden. Walking down its paths in the spring, you would see what would be rows of carrots, greens, potatoes, eggplant, a trellis where the french beans would climb, and then, in the corner of the garden, a huge rhubarb plant, already lush and green. I remember pulling up a stalk of that rhubarb with all my might. Dipping it in sugar I would crunch into it and pucker my lips as its juice ran down my chin. Its taste always reminds me of this childhood happiness. I must say this is still my favorite way to eat rhubarb—there is a spontaneous joy in picking a stalk, cutting off the leaves, and eating it then and there. Yesterday afternoon, I was in the Linden Hills Coop in Minneapolis and saw one of the cashiers sitting at a table taking her break.

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