Author Archives: Kristin Liepold

May Pick of the Month newsletter has been released

Pairing meats with Minnesota Wines

We asked Scott Ellenbecker of Round Lake Vineyards & Winery to offer some insight on pairing entrees with Minnesota made wines. “Everything in wine is balance,” he explained. “Think about flavor ad balance. No food, spice, or ingredient should dominate another.” Click here for ideas for pairing your favorite proteins with Minnesota made wines.

Member Spotlight: Helstrom Farms

It is National Beef Month! The Minnesota Grown Directory has 108 beef producers! We talked with Jason Helstrom about his grass-fed beef farm and their positive impact on the environment. “Through proper management, we can reverse our carbon footprint and improve the environment,” he said. Click here to read his full interview.

Guest Blog: The Sip on Local Wine

We invited Lauren Voigt from Minnesota Uncorked to discuss the Minnesota wine industry and its impact on the economy. Click here for Lauren’s full blog post.

Local Gardening Tips

Spring is here, which means it is time to spruce up your outdoor space! Minnesota Grown members and nursery centers have plenty of options to help with your gardening needs. We talked with Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association for their insight on bedding plants. Click here for the full article.

 

April Pick of the Month Newsletter

Minnesota Grown directories have arrived

Minnesota Grown directories are here! With more than 1,000 farms, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and farmers’ markets, this is the largest-ever Minnesota Grown directory. Visit the Minnesota Grown website to order your free copy today.

Celebrating conservation with Mighty Axe Hops

With National Beer Month and Earth Day both falling in April, we thought it was the perfect time to check in with Eric Sannerud of  Mighty Axe Hops. Sannerud is one of seven Minnesota Grown members producing local hops. He’s also a Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) certified farmer. Click here for more information about Sannerud’s involvement with MAWQCP. To read the in-depth interview with Eric Sannerud, check out the March Pick of the Month Member Spotlight. Find a hops grower near you by searching “Hops for Brewing” in your Minnesota Grown directory.

Sign up for a CSA today

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms offer a great way to connect with a local farmer. Sign up for a CSA share and have fresh, locally-grown produce available throughout the growing season. Lots of CSA farms are gearing up for summer and may have limited shares available. Find a CSA near you in the 2017 Minnesota Grown directory.

An Interview with Aaron Brand

Brand Farms started out as a dairy farm, but has expanded to include nearly 2,500 laying hens and a 12-acre apple orchard. Last year, Brand Farms washed, packaged, and sold nearly 13,000 dozen eggs at farmers markets south of the Twin Cities. They also sell wholesale to HyVee. We visited owner and operator Aaron Brand to learn more about his family’s operation. You can read Aaron’s full interview here.

Minnesota Grown announces Retailer of the Year winners

 ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown program announced the winners of its annual Retailer of the Year contest today in conjunction with the Minnesota Grocers Association. Assistant Commissioner Andrea Vaubel presented awards at the annual Minnesota Grocers Association luncheon in Bloomington. Four regional winners and the annual People’s Choice award were announced.

“Grocers make it possible for Minnesotans to buy fresh, locally-grown produce and agricultural products,” said Assistant Commissioner Vaubel. “Each of the winning retailers has shown commitment to promoting Minnesota grown and raised foods, and we’re happy to commend their efforts today.”

The four regional Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year winners are:

·         Super One Foods, Baxter – Northwest

·         Chris’ Food Center, Sandstone – Northeast

·         Kowalski’s Market, Woodbury – Twin Cities

·         Lunds and Byerlys, St. Cloud – West Central

An additional People’s Choice award for the best display was also presented based on a combination of fan voting on the Minnesota Grown Facebook page and judges’ evaluation for use of the Minnesota Grown logo.

Festival Foods in Bloomington won the People’s Choice Award for Best Display.

In addition to a commemorative plaque, winners received the exclusive rights to use the Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year logo in their ads and displays for the next year.

The Minnesota Grown Directory has arrived!

The 2017 Minnesota Grown Directory has arrived. The newest version boasts 1,031 member listings of local food and products from Minnesota producers. These listings include apple orchards, farmers markets, honey producers, berry patches, wineries, livestock producers, locally raised plants and more.

The directories are distributed in boxes of 75. Online, please specify number of directories you would like versus number of boxes. Regardless of number requested, you can order your copy online or send an email to Kristin at Kristin.liepold@state.mn.us with your name, address and quantity.

The directory is also available online. This feature makes it easy to find farms via product, city, zip code, or the interactive map.

Now accepting pre-orders for the 2017 Minnesota Grown Directory

Minnesota Grown is now accepting pre-orders for the 2017 Minnesota Grown Directory. The newest version boasts 1,031 member listings of local food and products from Minnesota producers. These listings include apple orchards, farmers markets, honey producers, berry patches, wineries, livestock producers, locally raised plants and more.

The Directory remains organized by regions, so consumers can find local producers in their area quickly and easily. One can search for a specific product or farm through the product index or alphabetical index located in the back. The Directory also includes recipes and regionally inspired restaurants, featured by Minnesota Cooks. Minnesota Cooks is an education outreach program of Minnesota Farmers Union that celebrates Minnesota’s dedicated family farmers and the talented local foods-minded chefs and restaurant owners.

The directories are distributed in boxes of 75. Once they are back from the printer in early April, we will ship them to you for free within a few business days. You can order your copy online or send an email to Kristin at Kristin.liepold@state.mn.us with your name, address and quantity.

The directory is also available online. This feature makes it easy to find farms via product, city, zip code, or the interactive map.

Minnesota Grown February Pick of the Month Newsletter

Buy Local Meat for the Home Freezer
Tired of getting home after a long day and not knowing what to make for dinner? Having a freezer full of locally grown meat can help solve your dilemma! We explored the option of buying meat from local producers. We can help first-time buyers in our three-part series to buy local meat. Read part one here and learn what questions you should ask.  After you are comfortable about what to say, read part two and learn about the different cuts available.

Cooking Tips for the Heart
February is American Heart Month. It’s important to eat heart-healthy and increasing your servings of local fruits and vegetables is a great place to start! We talked with a few of our members to get cooking tips. Read them here. 

Keep Warm with Locally Raised Fibers
There are many reasons why an article of clothing made from natural fibers may be the right choice to add to your wardrobe. Natural fibers like wool, alpaca and mohair products retain warmth, wick away moisture and are fire resistant. Read about more here and learn more about raising alpacas in our interview with member Hollyhock Creations here.

Minnesota Wild Rice

Minnesota is one of the world’s largest producers of cultivated wild rice. We produce 5-10 million pounds annually! There are lots of ways to incorporate wild rice into your appetizers, breads, soups, entrees and more. Check out this tasty recipe for Wild Rice Teriyaki Steak Salad. You can use Minnesota Grown steak too! To learn more about wild rice from the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council, click here.

Get the Most from your CSA
Get the most from your CSA! Participating in a CSA is a great adventure. You get the chance to eat fresh produce that’s sourced locally and supports your local economy! You also get to take home some of the more uncommon vegetables like celeriac that you may have never tried before. Unlike grocery stores where you have access to the same produce year-round, the food in your CSA share is season-dependent, meaning you probably won’t get tomatoes in June or asparagus in August. You’ll begin to learn when foods are in season and receive a variety of produce that changes weekly!

Strawberries – Are you Ready?

 

Strawberry season starts early for parts of Minnesota

Pick-your-own, pre-picked available early June

Minnesota strawberries are ahead of schedule and the season is shaping up nicely. Many growers in Southern Minnesota and the metro area have reported fields full of blossoms and are now seeing reddening berries. Some have picked their first light harvest of the season, while others expect to open for pick-your-own/pre-picked sales as early as the first two weeks in June.

Farmers across the state expect a good crop this year. The mild winter coupled with adequate moisture in the spring helps make sizeable and delicious strawberries. Although some farms lost early blossoms to the mid-May freeze and may see slightly smaller crop quantities, the quality of this season’s crop was not affected. Many farms weathered the freeze with little to no adverse effects on crops.

Typically, seasonal availability begins in the south and moves northward 10-14 days later. Many farmers agree that the season will likely extend longer than usual, wrapping up around mid- to late July. Mild temperatures in the 70s and low 80s extend the season and allow berries to ripen at a steady pace, while excessive heat can cause the berries to ripen more quickly and shorten the season.

As always, it is important to call your local berry farm before your visit. Crops can vary greatly and differ from farm to farm depending on the varieties planted, soil type, and the number of customers picking.

Minnesota Grown Program spokesperson Jessica Miles says berry picking is a great educational family activity.

“Picking is lots of fun and it’s an easy way to get children to the farm so they can see where food comes from. The early season is great timing with school being let out soon,” says Miles. “To make sure your picking day is a success, remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.”

Miles says the printed Minnesota Grown Directory and website provide ideas for picking, eating, and storing locally-grown strawberries. Consumers can easily find their nearest berry farm by visiting www.minnesotagrown.com and searching by city or zip code.  The 2016 Minnesota Grown Directory includes 76 strawberry farms, 31 blueberry farms, and 40 summer raspberry farms along with orchards, farmers markets, garden centers, and other ways to buy directly from growers. Consumers can order their free printed copy of the Directory online at www.minnesotagrown.com or by calling 1-888-TOURISM (1-888-868-7476).

 

February Pick of the Month

View the February issue of the Pick of the Month for ways to continue to eat local during the winter months! Hear from Minnesota Grown producers of chickens and eggs, view the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, and try your hand at tasty recipes perfect for the chilly weather. Thinking ahead to sunnier days? Learn more about the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model and find a Minnesota Grown member offering shares that are perfect for you! It’s all here!

Don’t forget, now is the perfect time to order the 2016 Minnesota Cooks calendar from our friends at the Minnesota Farmers Union. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, give the calendar to you loved one and make it a goal to visit each local restaurant featured inside! Simply visit www.MinnesotaCooks.org, or follow the link in the Pick of the Month to request a calendar.

Read more here!

Last call for farmers to be included in popular Minnesota Grown Directory

Last call for farmers to be included in popular Minnesota Grown Directory

Deadline to be included in 2016 publication is January 31

PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is about to print its popular statewide Minnesota Grown Directory of farms and farmers markets selling directly to consumers. There is still time for Minnesota producers who grow or raise products, and those selling directly to consumers to list in the Directory. The membership deadline is January 31, 2016.

For only $60, farmers receive a year’s worth of advertising in both online and print. This includes access to other great Minnesota Grown member-only benefits, like the use of the trademarked logo and free stickers, price cards, and other promotional items.

The 2015 edition of the Minnesota Grown Directory had a recording breaking 1,027 farms and farmers markets, which the MDA aims to exceed this year. This April 155,000 copies of the Directory will be distributed statewide at tourist centers, libraries, chambers of commerce, farms, and retailers. The online Directory, www.minnesotagrown.com, is also extremely popular and had over 300,000 unique annual visitors in 2015.

“Consumers have been demanding local foods and that demand has increased dramatically over the last few years. We are the best source to discover a nearby farm or market,” said Jessica Miles, Agricultural Marketing Specialist for the Minnesota Grown Program. “Our Directory is the most comprehensive and commonly used guide to local foods, fibers, and fun available in Minnesota.”

The Minnesota Grown Program has more than 1,200 members, representing fruit and vegetable farms, livestock producers, farmers markets, CSA farms, orchards, garden centers, farm wineries, Christmas tree growers, and many more.

Potential new members may download an application or sign up and pay online at www.minnesotagrown.com. Simply click on the “Become a Member” link beneath the “Members & Retailers” drop-down menu. You can also contact Jessica Miles with questions (651-201-6170 or jessica.miles@state.mn.us) and to request an application by mail.

 

CONTACT: Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications

651-201-6185 / allen.sommerfeld@state.mn.us

January Pick of the Month

Looking forward to another year of fresh, local foods and products from Minnesota Grown producers near you?

Check out the January issue of the Pick of the Month for tips to start your year off right. Find a winter farmers market, stay warm with Minnesota Grown wool and fiber, and discover the best way to fill your freezer with meat from a Minnesota grower. Dive into the rice history and tradition of wild rice, and beat the cold with a delicious take on breakfast – Minnesota Wild Rice Porridge!

Don’t forget, now is the perfect time to order the 2016 Minnesota Cooks calendar from our friends at the Minnesota Farmers Union. Simply visit www.MinnesotaCooks.org, or follow the link in the Pick of the Month to request a calendar.

Read more here!