Here's the souvenir that food lovers should be carrying away from the Minnesota State Fair: the annual "Minnesota Cooks" calendar, produced by Minnesota Farmers Union and Food Alliance Midwest.

The 16-month calendar (vividly photographed by Amy Eckert of Minneapolis) has been a State Fair staple since 2003, and it has never looked better. Here's how it works: Each month tells the story of a Minnesota farmer and a Minnesota chef (who includes a seasonally minded recipe, using ingredients from the featured farm).

November 2010, for example, puts the spotlight on Lori and Alan Callister of Callister Farm in West Concord and Justin Schoville of Sontes in Rochester (with a recipe for Goat Cheese- and Piquillo-stuffed Chicken Thighs) and August combines Jack Hedin and Jenni McHugh of Featherstone Farm in Rushford with Lucia Watson of Lucia's Restaurant in Minneapolis (the recipe: Chop-Chop Salad with Grilled chicken and Green Goddess Dressing).

How many other takeaways from the fair manage to be practical, informative and beautiful? The price: Just $5. It's available at the Minnesota Farmers Union, on Dan Patch Av. at Cosgrove St., near the Creative Activities Building. Pick up one for yourself and one for a gift; after all, Christmas is just four months away.

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Mapping the best (and the worst) of the fair's new foods

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Farmers market events