mill city farmers market

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Give Up the Cell Phone

A few weeks ago, I declared June 26 "Signal Free Saturday," an opportunity to put down our cell phones, laptops, PDAs, and iPads and look our loved ones directly in the eye for the first time in weeks, months, or years. I was excited for the excuse to give my wife my full attention, rather than the usual 50 percent. I was excited to play with my kids without wondering if something more interesting was in my email. Work be damned, I was going to be free!

Only it turns out that giving up the phone is more complicated than that - or at least that's how it felt to me. Here's how it went:

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Farmers' Markets Spring Forward: Picking and Choosing the Market for You

Midwestern farmers' markets are the stuff of midwinter’s – and really, even midspring’s – dreams.  When we sit down and contemplate the changing weather, the growth potential, and the veritable expansion of our own resources, we tend to imagine gardens. Farms. Food production in a variety of levels – gardener or not. We just can’t help ourselves.

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A Very Prairie Cuisine

With the morning temperatures hovering in the mid-30s and a possibility of snow looming in the dreary sky, Susan Dietrich tried to keep her hands warm and her mood light as she set up her booth on the first day of the Mill City Farmers’ Market season. Up went the oversized chalkboard listing the artisanal fare handcrafted by Dietrich for Very Prairie, her nearly four-year-old local food company, while jars of specialty mustards, bottles of rhubarb ketchup and bags of granola were carefully arranged among rustic crates, sheaves of wheat and labels made to look like the slate tablets once found in old prairie schoolhouses. As she and her assistant Kristen Ophaug prepared for the start of the market, Dietrich couldn’t help but wonder: Was it worth the effort?

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Prairiepeeps: A Sweet Easter Treat to Tweet About

To say that Susan Dietrich’s handmade Prairiepeeps are akin to the mass-produced flocks of Peeps found in stores before Easter is like comparing a beautifully roasted, free-range bird to a Chicken McNugget. These are birds of an entirely different feather.

These locally made marshmallow chicks hatched from their creator’s serendipitous craving for s’mores. Dietrich, a chef and co-founder of the Minneapolis artisanal food company Very Prairie, had successfully adapted her grandmother’s oatcake recipe to make graham crackers, which led to thoughts of that classic campfire combination. “It had been years since I had a s’more and I tried them again,” she said. “But once you stand there as a chef with a trained palate, and you taste something that doesn’t live up to it to your memory of it, it’s disappointing.”

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Dishin' with Local D'Lish: SGT chats it up with Ann Yin

Ann Yin at Local D'lishAnn Yin at Local D'lishAnn Yin has been selling local food – everything from gourmet chocolate to everyday groceries – at her North Loop general store, Local D’Lish, for a little longer than a year. We recently caught up with her while she, her daughter CC, and staff member Stefan, prepared for an event later that evening. As they sliced cheese and chocolate, we chatted about Ann’s experiences over the past year, and her plans for the future. And we were even lucky enough to snag some cayenne shortbread, which truly was d’lish!

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Respect for the Bird: Where to Find Your Local, Pastured, Thanksgiving Turkey

I feel sorry for turkeys. They get no respect. For instance, the word “turkey” has become a commonly used derogatory term, as in, “You turkey!” And, whether or not it’s true, turkeys have a reputation for being so, shall we say, “intellectually challenged,” that they can drown looking up in a rain storm.  Even our esteemed founding fathers thumbed their noses at the turkey, choosing the bald eagle, instead, as the national bird. (Supposedly, the quirky Ben Franklin was the gobbler’s only advocate.)

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November 1 Local Food Dinner Set for Spoonriver

If you thought we'd already hit all of the great local food restaurants in the Twin Cities, think again - we're just getting started! November's Simple, Good, and Tasty local food event will be held at Spoonriver, another of my favorite Minneapolis spots. For those who don't already now, Spoonriver is owned by nationally renowned restaurateur and chef Brenda Langton, who has been one of the Twin Cities' foremost experts and purveyors of local and vegetarian food for nearly 30 years.

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More at the Mill City Farmers Market

Mill City Farmers Market is always overflowing with fresh food, families, and foodies. On a recent visit there, director Marjorie Hegstrom talked to Live Green Twin Cities about the market's mission, its growth, and its waiting list that’s a mile long. I met Marjorie at the Market at 6:30 am, ensuring there was plenty of time to watch local farmers and food producers (who had arrived as early as 5:30 am) set up their stands beside the mighty Mississippi River before the market opened at 8:00.

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Notes from the Mill City Farmers Market

Mill City Farmers Market Opens May 9

millcityThe Mill City Farmers Market is one of my favorites in the Twin Cities. Smaller and more manageable than the Minneapolis and St. Paul farmers markets, the Mill City Farmers Market features a terrific variety of artisans, farmers, demonstrations, and amazing local, sustainable foods.

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