Watch for Instacart news coming soon

While Instacart still won't officially say so, it has now become pretty darn clear that the grocery delivery service is about to get rolling in the Twin Cities.

Back in May, I wrote a blog post about the San Francisco-based company's possible expansion here based on a couple of job openings it had posted that were based in Minneapolis.

I signed up soon after that on Instacart's website to be notified when it was coming to the Twin Cities. So two weeks ago, I got a mass e-mail from an Instacart employee with the subject line, "Instacart is coming to the Twin Cities!" The e-mail went on to ask me to fill out a survey before it gets up and running in town.

The icing on the cake arrived in my Inbox this past week with another e-mail with the subject line: "Instacart is coming to Minneapolis! Get excited …" That e-mail went on to say that the firm will be launching in Minneapolis in a few weeks and asked for people to share the news.

Despite the e-mails, the company is still being cagey about the whole thing. When I e-mailed a company spokeswoman asking for details about the upcoming launch, she asked what I was "referencing." When I told her about the two e-mails I had received, she sent me the following canned statement.

"While we don't have an announcement to make at this time, we look forward to bringing our on-demand grocery delivery service to more people soon."



Bumper crop of apples available across state

Favorable weather has created a bumper crop of high-quality apples across the state, and retail stands should have a good supply of several varieties.

Ralph Yates, secretary of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association, said the 2015 crop is excellent for growers and consumers.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Minnesota Grown Directory lists more than 100 apple orchards, although officials say it's best to call ahead to determine which varieties are ripe and ready for picking.

Minnesota apples specifically bred to thrive in the state's climate include University of Minnesota varieties such as Honeycrisp, Zestar, SweeTango, Haralson and Sweet Sixteen.

Early-season apples also include Paula Red and Wealthy, with the popular Honeycrisp coming into season about now.

Many apple orchards also offer fresh apple cider, pumpkins, fall raspberries and family activities such as crop mazes, petting zoos and hay rides. Not all orchards offer pick-your-own apples.

For more information, search the directory online at www.minnesotagrown.com or order a free printed copy by calling 1-888-868-7476.