Put a stamp on it

We love when food gets some unexpected attention, and that's the case as the U.S. Postal Service honors five influential cooks in its latest series of Forever stamps. Those smiling faces that allow your letters to go from here to there include James Beard, Julia Child, Edna Lewis, Joyce Chen and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, who together brought regional and international flavors to the dinner table. Food was also immortalized in August with a Forever four-stamp series on farmers markets. Perhaps next in the works: kitchen appliances that changed our lives.

Help with a harvest

The Fruits of the City program, part of the Minnesota Project's work of stocking local food shelves, could use a few pairs of hands to glean fruit from trees in back yards and orchards throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Volunteers can check out opportunities by visiting www.fruitsofthecity.volunteerhub.com, as well as learn more about the project, a nonprofit organization (www.mn project.org) that supports the sustainable production and equitable distribution of energy and food in communities across Minnesota.

Props for Tots

If Tater Tot Hot Dish weren't such an integral part of the cuisine of the Upper Midwest, maybe we wouldn't care that Ore-Ida Tater Tots have been around for 60 years this year. But the suppertime staple is part of our heritage and so we do. Back in the 1950s, two brothers named F. Nephi and Golden Griggs were trying to figure out what to do with the slivers of potatoes left over from producing other products at their company, Ore-Ida. They chopped up the slivers, added flour and seasoning, then pushed the mash through holes and sliced off pieces of the extruded mixture. Originally, the product was very inexpensive. According to advertising lectures at Iowa State University, people did not buy it at first because there was no perceived value. When the price was raised, people began buying it. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of tots per year. And, if you're looking for a recipe for Totchos (think nachos with tots) well, then you'll have to visit https://www.oreida.com.

And the Emmy went to …

For apparently the first time in history, a farm organization has won an Emmy award for its support in developing a television program. The Minnesota Farmers Union earned an Upper Midwest Emmy last month as a producing partner for "Farm Fresh Road Trip," a program developed in conjunction with Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). State Farmers Union president Doug Peterson explained that the genesis of the show is the Minnesota Cooks program, which promotes local foods grown by family farmers and the chefs who use them. Featured restaurants were River Rock Café in St. Peter; Zella's in Hutchinson; Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar in Duluth; Foxy Falafel Food Truck in Minneapolis and St. Paul; Spanky's Stone Hearth Restaurant in Frazee, and the Strip Club Meat and Fish in St. Paul. The full program, or specific segments, still may by viewed on TPT's website by visiting bit.ly/YduiC6.

Coming over to Cub

As a way to welcome shoppers to the 10 new Cub stores recently converted from Rainbow Foods, Cub Food stores will offer special promotions and family events through Oct. 11 at those stores. Among the prizes: a chance to win one year of free gasoline, a year of free milk and a year of free ice cream. Details and a schedule of all events are at www.cub.com/savings/Cubdays.html, as well as on Cub Food's Facebook page.