The final frontier?

The Herbivorous Butcher already is making waves as a vegan butcher shop. Now it's looking to the stars. Owners Aubry and Kale Walch are working with local astronaut Joshua Borchardt of ASTER Labs to prepare plant-based meals for a two-week simulated Mars mission in the summer of 2017. The Mars Desert Research Station is in the Utah desert, and six astronauts will spend two weeks on the mission. They'll eat only plant-based foods because should humans ever populate Mars, plants would likely be the most readily available food source. Borchardt has also provided the butcher shop with Mars Regolith Simulant from NASA (a close simulation of the surface of Mars) to conduct plant growth studies with carrots and zinnias. Zinnias have already blossomed on the International Space Station, and the zinnias planted in the MRS at the Herbivorous Butcher sprouted after four days. Stay tuned.

Exhibit follows Hmong farmers

Minnesota is home to more than 64,000 Hmong Americans, many of whom have relied on farming to make ends meet. Now a multimedia exhibit documents their work and highlights the challenges of rising land expenses and market availability. "Seeds of Change: A Portrait of the Hmong American Farmers Association" features photos by local artist Mike Hazard, who spent a year with farmers as they worked in Vermillion Township. The exhibit emphasizes the interaction of family, community, immigration and local commerce, touching on topics of ethnicity, ownership, solidarity and sustainability. It will remain in place through July 31 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space, 141 E. 4th St., St. Paul. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Visit for more details.

To have and to hold

The Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market opens Saturday, with a twist on its fundraiser, the Foodie 4-Mile Run. Participants in this year's fun run/walk will be greeted at the finish line with wedding cake, courtesy of some newlyweds who support the market. Finishers also will receive a specially designed NE Farmers Market dish towel, and other swag. The 4-miler also raises money for the Food Group, which helps people in need get access to fresh and healthful food. Registration is $35 at

More Wisconsin supper clubs

When Ron Faiola profiled 50 restaurants in "Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience," the 2013 book was a hit. Now he's written about 50 more of those emporiums of relish plates, brandy old-fashioneds and scratch cooking. "Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round" (Agate, $35) covers territory from the North Woods to Beloit, interviewing proprietors and documenting the rich history of these particularly Wisconsin getaways.

Cast your vote

Are you a vanilla ice cream kind of diner? Or do you prefer chocolate or strawberry? The Midwest Dairy Association is ready should you need to shake up the options a bit. For its second year, the association is asking the public to vote on a new flavor to serve at the Dairy Goodness Bar at this summer's Minnesota State Fair. You can vote for one of three finalists through May 25 at DairyGoodnessFlavor:

Call It Breakfast: A vanilla malt or ice cream topped with sprinkles, chocolate and latte-flavored syrup, and chunks of bakery-fresh doughnuts.

Scotch Hopper Crunch: Crispy shoestring potatoes, butterscotch chips and chocolate syrup topping a vanilla malt or sundae.

That's My Jam: Vanilla malt or sundae topped with flavorful pepper jam and crunchy oyster crackers.