December 2009

Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Our 2009 Simple, Good, and Tasty Recap and 2010 Resolutions

What a year it's been! Between our first post - proudly proclaiming that we joined a CSA - and our recent letter to Santa Claus, we've grown gardens, pickled dilly beans, and made lifelong friends. Here are just a few highlights from 2009:

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Does Local Food "Enhance Community Cohesion?" Food Writer and Devil's Advocate James McWilliams Says No

 Food writer, fellow, professor, blogger, and locagrarian contrarianJames McWilliams:
Food writer, fellow, professor, blogger, and locagrarian contrarian
Community. It’s a name for the place where we live, but also for the social connections that we live among. In yesterday's post, it was a word used by two people on two occasions to describe the benefits of opening a new food co-op in the Orono/Long Lake area, and a new farmers market in Edina.

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A New Farmers Market and a New Co-op Make News for the New Year

There’s potentially good food news for two Twin Cities communities in 2010: a new farmer’s market and a new food co-op.

According to the Star Tribune, Edina may finally get its own farmer’s market, “if a proposal that's going to the Edina Park Board in January makes its way through city review processes in time.”

Strib reporter Mary Jane Smetanka writes, “The idea of adding an Edina farmers market came out of a two-year, $1.6 million grant that was received by Bloomington, Richfield and Edina. The Statewide Health Improvement Program grant came from the state health access fund, funded by a fee paid by health care providers. The money goes to activities that are aimed at promoting health.”

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Ethical Eating, Great Food Writing, and Last Meals with James Norton from Heavy Table

Photo of James Norton by Becca DilleyPhoto of James Norton by Becca Dilley

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All I Want for Christmas: This Year's Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa:

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Organic Valley Wins Butter Awards: Shares Recipes for Mushroom Wild Rice Soup and Perfect Hollandaise Sauce

This just in from Organic Valley, via a press release:

Organic Valley, America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers, recently won awards for its European Style Cultured Butter and Pasture Butter, two delicious butter offerings from its family of farms. To celebrate the awards—and recent health findings that butter is in fact better—Organic Valley has developed several recipes and serving suggestions just in time for the holidays. 

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What Gives? Tracy’s Guide to Last-Minute Gifts

Isn’t it great to be done with your shopping in plenty of time? You can sit by the fireplace, relax, and sip a mulled something-or-another? Wait, what? You’re NOT done? Well have no fear, I can help. But first, understand that there are a three levels to this problem; the key is knowing which level you’re in.

Yellow-Level Alert: You’re here if you still have a day or so to whip together a gift. You have time to make and/or pick up something, though it’s got to be quick.

Orange-Level Alert: You’re here if you have just a few hours, as in: my aunt is coming over this evening and I’m thinking I should have gotten her something! If this is you, then all you really need are a few basic supplies either from home or the nearest grocery store to turn out a great gift with a homemade touch.

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Creating the Perfect Local Cheese Plate

Ahhh…the power of cheese.™ Do you remember this ad campaign from the American Dairy Association? My favorite of their series of commercials was the one with the cute little red haired girl who had the invisible friend. That was before I became the cheese geek I am and came to realize how a simple selection of quality cheeses could be a guaranteed hit at any party.

The holiday season is the party season and when you’re looking for non-fuss, quick appetizer, cheese has your back.

Creating a great cheese plate is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

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Homegrown for the Holidays

Susan Berkson, going Homegrown for the HolidaysSusan Berkson, going Homegrown for the HolidaysWe go home for the holidays. Why not go homegrown?

I spent Thanksgiving in Tyler, Texas, where I feasted on Tyler's own Greenberg smoked turkey and Scenic Waters Wild Rice I brought from Minnesota.

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The Best Fish for the Environment? Frozen

The other day, as I was contemplating the offerings at Lakewinds' seafood case, one of the gentlemen working there told me to consider the frozen wild salmon.

It's actually better than fresh, he said, because it's flash frozen as soon as it's caught and then vacuum-sealed to preserve the flavor -- even before it begins its journey to restaurants and stores.

I took his advice because he has steered me right in the past with other seafood purchases I've made there, such as buying, stuffing, and grilling the delicious -- and almost local -- Wisconsin trout.

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