Local Food

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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Local Food All Year Starts Now!

The weekend farmers markets are upon us again and I am already thinking about what I am going to be buying. I imagine bartering for the huge, unpriced box of pickling cucumbers sitting under someone's market table. Will 30 heads of garlic really be enough. How much kale is too much? If I buy 10 boxes of beans, will I get a deal or just a funny look.


No, I'm not planning a party, but almost as soon as the summer begins, I start to squirrel food away. This year, it started with strawberries. Both from my own plants and from the local market, I managed to slice and freeze about 3 gallons of strawberries. I totally missed out on peas, but I intend not to let bean season pass without doing some late night blanching, freezing and pickling. 


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Good Food for Everyone!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

- Confucius

I live in Minneapolis, where eating lots of local food is not at all strange. Many of my neighbors are CSA members, and we have been known to share ingredients, recipes, and restaurant recommendations. On my block, nearly everyone seems to know how to cook kale and how to grow tomatoes. It's easy for me to think that this is normal. It isn't.

In the past two weeks, I've had the opportunity to attend two events focused on good food. Both were excellent, and left lasting impressions.

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Food Safety and Local Food

Scanning the titles of recent blog posts from Bill Marler's terrific, food-safety-focused Marler Blog gives us just a glimpse of what lurks below the surface:

July 5 - Unnamed Egyptian Fenugreek Seed Grower Responsible for 4,200 Illnesses and 50 Deaths

July 6 - Four French, including baby in a coma, linked to E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Lilie

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How My Garden Grows

Did you look at the header image for this post? I mean, did you really, really look at it? Did you notice the 3-inch pea plant poking up in the back? The tiny little green strawberries? The radishes and greens? That's my organic garden, friends. My garden.

I know, I know -- it's not cool to brag, and I don't mean to boast (but "I'm intercontinental..."), but of all the life challenges I've taken on in the past two years, growing a successful organic garden has always seemed like the one I was least likely to achieve. It's still early, you're probably thinking, don't take that victory lap quite yet. 

And still, looking at my garden makes me a little bit giddy. Here's a little bit of back story:

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Alex Roberts and Lucia Watson Are Cooking Me Dinner on Saturday

What did you have for dinner last night? Cold noodles and a banana? Me too. Got something planned for tonight? Bagels from Common Roots if the guys meeting in the conference room leave any over? Me too.

I don't mind. I'm saving myself. I know that on Saturday night, I'm having a fabulous dinner cooked by a bearded James Beard awardee and a French knight. Yes, Alex Roberts (Alma, Brasa) and Lucia Watson (Lucia's) are making me dinner. In a mansion. No, not my mansion.

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Food Tastes Better With Care and Company

“Pesto only tastes good when my friends are here!”

That’s what my daughter said one night when she turned up her nose at a plate of pesto spaghetti -- the same food she and her friend each ate two helpings of the night before. Our visiting friends had just left, and while I argued that the pesto still tasted good, I couldn’t argue with the feeling behind my daughter’s words.

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Simple, Enlightening, and Tasty Earth Day Community Dinner at the Birchwood

Last Sunday night's Earth Day Community Dinner at the Birchwood Cafe was an event for the ages.

It wasn't just the food that made it that way, although the exceptional four-course menu (and appetizers) created by chef Marshall Paulsen featured pork belly, fiddle head ferns, beef tongue, and more (most foods purchased directly from local farmers). It wasn't just the music performed by Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers either, although that was terrific too. It wasn't just the lovely dining room, which was decked out with the Birchwood's Sunday best.

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3 Things I Love About Corner Table's Scott Pampuch

If you're a local foodie in the Twin Cities, you probably already know about Corner Table. How could you not? Since it opened in 2004, Corner Table and its owner, Scott Pampuch, have been written up in every Minnesota restaurant directory, magazine, and website worth anything. Scott is well known for his commitment to local farmers and seasonal ingredients (last time I stopped by, he practically forced me into his freezer to see how many of the ingredients came directly from his farmers), and for being one of only a few chefs in town (yes, I'm also thinking about you, Mr. Russo), who freely, boldly, and constantly comments on the things that matter to him -- Minnesota nice be, um, darned.

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Happy Birthday to Us! Reflections on Turning Two

It's hard to believe it's been just two years since my first post, a "golly gee whiz" piece about joining a CSA for the first time. There's a fine line between being excited and being naive, and I'm proud to run a site that continues to walk that line -- as we have since day one.

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