Also: Local coffee, big green; Lanesboro touts its localness and a cheesy contest.
Vote early, vote often Make your voice known. Andrew Zimmern and General Mills announce the Munchies, a People's Choice of food awards. The Twin Cities area has nominees in the categories of most iconic burger, best cookie, best craft brewery, most intriguing cocktail bar and favorite gluten-free bakery. To see who they are, and who they're up against, visit www.tablespoon.com/themunchies. Voting ends April 30.
Brew a cup of karma
Earth Day is April 22, and among products touting their "greenness," Tiny Footprint Coffee has its bona fides. It's brewed in Brooklyn Park by Roastery 7 in partnership with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, which gets a portion of sales. Those funds support the planting of trees in Mindo's 15,000-acre preserve in Ecuador to offset the carbon it takes to produce and distribute the coffee. Here's the math: It takes 4 pounds of carbon to make 1 pound of coffee, so they plant 54 pounds of trees to offset those emissions. That, they say, results in "50 lbs. of good karma in every bag." Check out the 10 varieties at its online store: www.tinyfootprintcoffee.com.
Living local in Lanesboro
Folks in Lanesboro, Minn., have pulled together a fascinating auction. Local Motion benefits Lanesboro Local, a nonprofit marketplace committed to "strengthening the communities of southeastern Minnesota by cultivating and connecting buyers and sellers of local foods and artisan goods." The event is from 5 to 8 p.m. April 21 at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. Among the more food-related live and silent auction items: two fly-fishing outings with local experts, a honey bee tutorial, cheesemaking lessons and gourmet dinners. Organizers have learned that out-of-towners gravitate toward "country" experiences, such as participating in a prescribed prairie burn, or a private tour of Seed Savers. Tickets for the all-inclusive dinner, entertainment and auction event cost $25. For tickets and a list of auction items, visit www.lanesborolocal.org.
What a cheesy contest
The Grilled Cheese Academy, aka the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, is seeking the best homemade grilled cheese sandwich, with the winner receiving a trip for two to New York City and more. To enter, contestants should submit a grilled-cheese recipe featuring Wisconsin cheese. For more contest information, visit www.GrilledCheeseAcademy.com, where there also is a ton of great recipes. Contest deadline is May 8.