Urban Oasis Food Fest adds 5K

Urban Oasis, founded on St. Paul's East Side as a sustainable food center offering meal-making programs, small-business food training and catering while supporting small local farmers, will hold its second Food Fest on Sept. 19. New this year is a 5K run to make "a real connection between healthy eating, physical activity, and the places we live and play," according to organizers. Race check-in is at 9 a.m. at the fest site, Indian Mounds Park at the corner of Earl Street and Mounds Boulevard. Race fee for adults is $30, (16 and under, $15) with proceeds supporting Urban Oasis' healthy meal-making programs. The Food Fest itself will run from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with live music, food vendors and the chance to taste-test products from the Urban Oasis kitchen. For more details, visit urbanoasismn.org.

Amery touts its food hub

Cooks, bakers and food entrepreneurs in the eastern stretches of the Twin Cities area may be happy to learn of the grand opening this month for the Hungry Turtle Kitchens in Amery, Wis., about an hour northeast of St. Paul. The facility is a full-service teaching kitchen, but also a certified food production space. The Hungry Turtle Kitchens are an initiative developed by the Hungry Turtle Institute, a nonprofit committed to supporting sustainable agriculture. It's part of the Amery Food Hub complex made up of Farm Table restaurant and the Hungry Turtle Farmers' Cooperative, all at 110 Keller Av. N. in Amery. They're working on a new schedule of classes in the kitchen, but the restaurant is open daily (check hours at ameryfarmtable.com). To learn more, visit hungryturtle.net.

Pears early, a little smaller

The Pacific Northwest has had one of its hottest summers, which has resulted in the pear harvest beginning earlier than usual, and with slightly smaller fruit, which pear producers cleverly have dubbed "snackable." USA Pears shared a recent report on snacking from Mintel, a market research firm, that said that 94 percent of Americans snack at least once a day, which makes sense, but it said that figure rose from 64 percent last year. Huh. The good news is that one in three say they are choosing healthier foods this year compared with last year. Final bit of trivia: The United States is the third-largest pear-producing country in the world, and Oregon and Washington produce 84 percent of all fresh pears grown here. Visit usapears.org for more pear facts and recipes.

Ikea wants your recipes

Ikea U.S. takes "some assembly required" to the culinary level with the launch of Together, We Eat, which seeks the 50 best stories behind cherished family recipes, "celebrating the power of connection that food and the activities around it — from preparing to serving to eating — can bring," according to a release. You can submit a recipe and story to the TogetherWeEat.com/ contest under three categories: wintertime favorites (deadline Sept. 24), serving up spring (by Oct. 11) and social summer (by Oct. 27). Fifty winners will be chosen, including three grand-prize winners who will receive $1,500 Ikea gift cards and a trip to New York City. Other winners get $250 gift cards. For the details, visit TogetherWeEat.com.