Lucky, Green, Local and Fun: A Fresh Look at St. Patrick's Day

photo credit: Zazzle.comphoto credit:"May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.”

Leave it to an Irish blessing to anticipate overindulgence! Though my Morgan roots came originally from Scotland, my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother – O’Keefe and Brennan respectively – handed down some definite ideas about how an Irish lass such as myself might honor St. Patrick.

These days I try to stay away from green beer and plastic shamrock bobble headbands (but hey, no judgment here), and think about other ways to honor my heritage... and maybe go a little greener. Luckily, in the local, organic, sustainable, eco-friendly world of today, there’s lots of advice out there about celebrating St. Paddy’s day. Here are a few fun ideas I found:


  • Sure, drink local or organic beer. But why not take it one step further and just make your own brew? Vine Park in the very Irish St. Paul offers you the chance to be your own brewmaster.  If you get impatient, take home a “growler” jug of Sham Snake, brewed in honor of St. Pat’s day.  But be swift, these special size bottles are limited.
  • Mix up some interesting new cocktails at home, like the Guinness Milkshake (add some local ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s or Izzy’s) or the Token Irishman. I could build an entire party around the Token Irishman cocktail!
  • Fine, drink the green beer. But at least go with the natural, vegan, gluten-free food coloring, ok?  Personally, I may just put a drop or two into a pitcher of martinis and call it festive!


  • While Ireland hasn’t always been known as a culinary supercenter, their farmstead culture has moved them swiftly along the local food continuum, beginning in medieval days. For a culinary update, check out this article.
  • Ever since catching the segment on the Food Network, I’ve wanted to make the Barefoot Contessa’s super-simple looking Irish Soda Bread. There’s even a video so you know how sticky that dough really is!
  • Keeping things light and fresh, I’m thinking of going for masses of veg for my St. Paddy’s Day gathering. I love this easy peasy Avocado Hummus with the jalapeño kick! I’d probably buzz over to the Midtown Global Market and pick up Holy Land pitas and accoutrements to make this simple.
  • And what about getting the kids excited about the green things? These green peppers (below) – cleverly cut by Martha and/or her staff – would sure be cute as the center of a veggie tray.
  • While you’ve got all those veggies ready to go, why not swish them through an Irish fondue (right), complete with Irish Cheddar and a bit of Stout.

Other kinds of fun

  • I know I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s nothing better for your outlook and your air quality than adding a plant to your house. And really, why not a shamrock which just might add some luck to your life!? These plants are easy to care for and beautiful to enjoy. Several even do a lovely open-and-close jig each day and launch delicate flowers into the air.
  • The “wearin’ o’ the green” is important on St. Patrick’s Day. Try the sassy organic t-shirt (pictured above) – or risk getting pinched!
  • Take the bus to the parade. Really. Not only is public transportation good for the environment, you’ll also avoid the parking brouhaha and the need for a designated driver. Lucky AND smart!

Whatever your heritage, one of the best things about this holiday is its all-inclusive nature. Even if there’s not a Gaelic bone in your body, anyone can be Irish on March 17. So whoop it up while you go "green!"

Tracy Morgan is a Twin Cities foodie, cookbook hoarder, and owner of all the right kitchen gadgets. Living in downtown St. Paul, she loves to take her green trolley shopping at the Farmer's Market and see how much weight it can handle. When not spotlighting local goodies for Simple Good and Tasty, Tracy runs Segnavia Creative, a business development and marketing firm that helps small companies create big-picture strategies, understand branding, and navigate social media. She also serves on the board of directors for the Mississippi Market Natural Food Co-op.