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Posts about Farmers and foraging

Strawberry U-pick season

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: June 4, 2012 - 9:03 AM


Shoppers who arrived early at Twin Cities farmers markets this past weekend were fortunate enough to snap up the very first locally raised strawberries of the season. Ambrosia, right?

Their appearance was also a harbinger of more warm-weather news, in the form of the 2012 U-pick season, which kicks off this week at a number of Minnesota and western Wisconsin farms.

Here's a list of 25 close-to-the-metro-area venues for strawberry self-starters. Call ahead -- or consult the farm's website -- before heading out. 


Anoka: Berry Hill Farm, 6510 185th Av. N.W., 763-753-5891

Champlin: Bauer Berry Farm, 10830 French Lake Rd., 763-421-4384

Clear Lake: Grayson's Berryland, 6705 Country Rd. 8 SE., 1-320-743-3384

Delano: Apple Jack Orchards, 4875 37th St. SE., 763-972-6673

Elk River: Becks Elk River Greenhouse & Vegetable Farm, 15362 190th Av., 763-263-2631

Faribault: Straight River Farm, 3733 220th St. E., 1-507-334-2226

Forest Lake: The Berry Patch, 19221 Keystone Av. N., 651-433-3448

Hastings: Afton Apple Orchard, 14421 S. 90th St., 651-436-8385

Hastings: Sam Kedem Nursery Garden, 12414 191st St. E., 651-437-7516

Hastings: Wyatt's Strawberries, 10370 180 St. E., 651- 437-8479

Hinckley: Ben's Berry Farm, 34921 Two Rivers Rd., 1-320-384-7232

Above: A previous year's opening day draws a crowd to Sam's Produce in Arkansaw, Wis

Lakeville: Applewood Orchard, 22702 Hamburg Av., 952-985-5425

Marine on St. Croix: Natura Farms, 19060 Manning Trail N., 651-433-5850

Monticello: The Strawberry Basket, 12591 Aetna Ave NE., 763-878-2875

Northfield: Lorences Berry Farm, 28625 Foliage Av., 1-507-645-9749

Northfield: Silkey Gardens, E. 115th St., 1-507-645-4158

Rochester: Firefly Berries, 5542 23rd St. NE., 1-507-252-1309

St. Joseph: A&G Produce, 10448 345 St., 1-320-290-0907

Shafer: Pleasant Valley Orchard, 17325 Pleasant Valley Rd., 651-257-9159

South Haven: Fairhaven Farm, 13835 51st Av., 1-320-236-7685

White Bear Lake: Pine Tree Apple Orchard, 450 Apple Orchard Rd., 651-429-8026

Above: The fruits of a few hours of picking. 


Arkansaw: Sam's Produce, 7272 Cty. Rd. P, 1-715-285-5351

Eau Claire: Appledore Woods, W3865 Cty. Rd. HH, 1-715-834-5697

Glenwood City: Green Hill Farm, 3234 140th Av., 1-715-265-4004

Osceola: Demulling Farms, 466 240th St., 1-715-294-3742

A dinner for a president at the Bachelor Farmer

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: June 2, 2012 - 10:27 AM




It was a heady day for the crew of the Bachelor Farmer restaurant on Friday, as they prepared lunch for President Obama for a fundraiser. The meal was directed by chef Paul Berglund.

 "It was a thrill and a tremendous honor to host the President in our restaurant. And we're incredibly proud of our entire team for the terrific job they did today," Eric Dayton and Andrew Dayton noted in a prepared statement. The lovely menu presentation was created by MCAD DesignWorks, the in-house design studio at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.


Each of the staff was wearing a tie created for the event in a partnership between Askov Finlayson (sister store to the Bachelor Farmer) and Minnesota-based Pierrepont Hicks. The tie was also presented to President Obama as a gift. A handful of extra ties from the limited edition run will be for sale tomorrow (Saturday) at Askov Finlayson, 200 North First Street, Minneapolis (612-206-3925).




The chalkboard at the restaurant offered greetings.


Photo by Robert Stephens

Photo by Robert Stephens










President Obama offered good words about Gov. Mark Dayton, below, and Mayor R.T. Rybak, according to Robert Stephens, a guest at the luncheon.



Photo by Robert Stephens

Photo by Robert Stephens















Here's what the crowd of 100 had to eat:

A cocktail of juices: Sanbitter (a nonalcoholic, bitter orange Italian soda, similar to Campari), pressed OJ, white verju (slightly sour grape juice), seltzer, lemon

House-smoked pork breast, spiced pork rillettes (think pork spread), Dijon mustard, chives from the restaurant's rooftop garden

English pea and creme fraiche pureed soup, radish, Parmesan, mint

Salad of early summer vegetables and flowers, goat's milk cheese, pistachios, cider vinaigrette

Choice of Copper River sockeye salmon, sauce Choron, new potatoes, grilled asparagus, tarragon, or
roasted chicken, arugula-bread salad, chicken confit, pickled shallots (The restaurant can't comment on which entree the president chose.)

Assorted cookies for dessert.


Photo by Laughing Loon Farm

Photo by Laughing Loon Farm








Dayna Burtness of Laughing Loon farm in Northfield, who supplies the Bachelor Farmer, was thrilled that her spring mix of lettuces and spinach was used at the meal. She tweeted "And guess who grew his salad and has two thumbs? This girl!"

Janna Brom-Palkowski, owner of Janine's Coffeehouse, about 100 feet from the restaurant, reported that business was good, particularly in the morning when the Secret Service stocked up on coffee. 

"There weren't as many regulars, but there were a lot of others," she said. Her friend Kirsten Mortensen, pictured below -- "just here for the hubbub" -- offered two officers a cool drink as they waited for the event to end. "I'll have a cold-pressed iced coffee," one officer said. "And do you have soy? I'm lactose intolerant." 

Indeed, she did. "Tell the president to stop by for an espresso," Janna said as she handed over the drinks.








Fundraiser for Easy Bean Farm

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: April 19, 2012 - 12:16 PM


Malena Handeen and Mike Jacobs of Easy Bean Farm. Pictures from Easy Bean Farm.

Malena Handeen and Mike Jacobs of Easy Bean Farm. Pictures from Easy Bean Farm.


Fire hit the Easy Bean Farm in Milan, Minn., on March 19. The farmers -- Malena Handeen and Mike Jacobs -- lost several outbuildings, including two greenhouses, and a tractor. The CSA farm has sold organic vegetable shares in the Twin Cities and southwest Minnesota since 1996. 


A fundraiser to help them will be held on Sunday, April 22, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Av. S., Minneapolis, 612-338-6424. Tickets are $10 ($30 per family) at the door.


Music will be from The Field of Medicine (Malena's band). Food is being provided by Chowgirls, Muddy Waters, GingerHop/Honey, Drew's Caramel Corn and Brian Crouch, with donations from Moonstone Farm, Thousand Hills Cattle Co. and Pabst.

Photos from the fire are posted on the Easy Bean Farm's Facebook page. Subscriptions to their CSA are still available. An account has been set up for donations at the Co-op Credit Union, 2407 Hwy. 7 East, PO Box 447, Montevideo, Minn. 56265.



Chef Pampuch hosts TV series

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: April 12, 2012 - 3:38 PM


Scott Pampuch on set of "In Search of Food." Photo provided by Ovation.

Scott Pampuch on set of "In Search of Food." Photo provided by Ovation.


Move over Andrew Zimmern. There’s another star in the neighborhood.

Scott Pampuch, executive chef at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington and formerly of Corner Table in Minneapolis, is host of a three-part TV series on Ovation that will be broadcast next week, Monday through Wednesday, at 7 p.m.
Scott Pampuch with Ann Cooper. Provided by Ovation.

Scott Pampuch with Ann Cooper. Provided by Ovation.

 “In Search of Food” visits Boulder, Colo., on the Monday episode, where Scott meets up with activist lunch lady, Ann Cooper (right),  who has been a vocal supporter of improving school lunch. She challenges Scott to prepare lunch for 1,000 kids on a budget of $1.15 per child. Can he do it?
On the Tuesday show, Scott heads to Virginia and meets with Joel Salatin (below), the farmer at Polyface Farms, who offers a different kind of test for Scott: to show a busy family how to make a day’s worth of healthy meals from local produce.
Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms with Scott Pampuch

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms with Scott Pampuch

In the final episode on Wednesday, Scott goes to San Diego and faces another kitchen dare: to make a raw vegan meal at the avocado farm of musician Jason Mraz (below).
Scott had appeared as a guest in an episode of last year’s “In Search of Food,” with then-host Barton Seaver.
“When the show was renewed, they asked me if I was interested in putting my hat in the ring, and the next thing I knew, they said they would be sending me a contract,” said Scott.
“Quite honestly, after the initial shock, I called Andrew Zimmern and said ‘I think I need some help’. He was a great help in navigating this, a bit of a mentor.”
In addition to the site visits for the three shows, Scott headed to New York, where the production company is based, to do some voiceover work. “Standing in the recording studio for a good six to eight hours and watching myself was all very strange. It was fun and an amazing opportunity,” Scott said. “I’ve seen the final product and I love it.” The shows cover the big topics in the food world, from childhood obesity, schools, busy families, local foods, vegetarians and vegans. “It’s a good way to have a conversation,” Scott said.
With Jason Mraz.

With Jason Mraz.

He’s planning a viewing party, open to the public, for the final broadcast on Wednesday. The event will be held at Saga Hill Cooking & Events, 2400 N. 2nd Street, from 6 to 9 p.m. (the show airs from 7 to 7:30 p.m.). Though the event is free, Scott asks for attendees to register at Eventbrite. However, donations (cash or check) can be made at the event to Laughing Loon Farm.
For more information, email him at scott.pampuch@gmail.com or see http://scottpampuch.com/.

Photo of the Year

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: December 29, 2011 - 4:37 PM

The Star Tribune is asking readers which 2011 image is their favorite photograph of the year (you can find the ballot here). The choices are a treasure trove, and I can't pick just one.

Instead, I'll play photo editor and offer my own.




My colleague Tom Wallace snapped it while we were visiting Khaiti and Andrew French's fascinating farm in western Wisconsin, where the couple raises several hundred Khaki Campbell ducks.

That's Khaiti -- note the duck tatoo on her left arm -- and some of the farm's gorgeously pearly, extraordinary-in-every-way eggs.

Find the story here.

And Happy New Year!



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