Bakers and canners, start your entries

The State Fair has announced deadlines for entries across the gamut, from poultry to pies. We’ll concentrate on the latter, with an Aug. 8 deadline for Creative Activities entries such as pickles, pies, breads, cookies, etc. The fair encourages perennial competitors as well as newcomers to “become part of the showcase of the very best our great state has to offer.” Those interested in putting their best to Minnesota’s Blue Ribbon Test should visit to learn more about categories and rules.

Baking kits at the door

With the success of home-delivered meal kits such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh that provide the makings for entrees, a similar strategy for baked goods was sure to follow. SoBakeable is a San Francisco-based food subscription company built on the idea of enabling you to make baked goods without buying ingredients you may never use again. Think cupcakes, cookies, shortbread and brownies. Customers can subscribe to a monthly box or shop a specific recipe for an occasion. Baking kits are packed with pre-measured and pre-labeled ingredients and decorations, with customers supplying eggs, butter and milk. To learn more, visit

HomebrewCon on deck

Home brewers from across the country will come together June 15-17 for Homebrew Con 2017, also known as the 39th annual National Homebrewers Conference. Hosted by the American Homebrewers Association, the three-day event at the Minneapolis Convention Center features interactive sessions, workshops and demonstrations that cater to beer enthusiasts and amateur brewers of every level. It also hosts the final round of judging in this year’s National Homebrew Competition, considered the world’s largest beer competition. Organizers expect about 3,000 attendees and more than 80 presenters, including keynote speaker Omar Ansari, founder of the Surly Brewing Co. For details, visit

Eat, learn at the Arb

Dining at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum gets even more creative and educational this summer with two dinner classes and — new! — two lunches prepared by local guest chefs. Plan ahead; these will fill fast. Gardens of Salonica’s chef/manager Anna Christoforides kicks things off July 20 with an authentic Mediterranean feast, complete with paired wine tastings. Cost is $65 members/$77 nonmembers and includes arboretum admission and multiple-course watch-learn-dine-sip experience — plus recipes to take home.

Upcoming meals include an Aug. 12 lunch with David Donatelle, chef, beekeeper and nutrition coach, with a multicourse meal focusing on ways to use honey. No alcohol is served for lunch, so the price point is lower. On Aug. 17, PinKU Japanese Street Food’s sushi chef John Sugimura prepares a dinner that celebrates sushi and Japanese cuisine. On Sept. 16, chef/author/educator Joan Donatelle highlights apple season with a lunch that explores new ways to use apples, as well as creative flourishes for classic recipes.

To register for any of these meal classes, visit