Garden gold: Hungarian hot peppers

I just ate a Hungarian yellow-orange hot pepper fresh from the garden. Slightly sweet, with just a smidge of pepper bitter, and a beautiful midrange mouth heat. Within a minute, I felt perspiration rising on my face and upper body.

I had been working in the gardens, yanking spent broccoli plants and choked tomatillo vines and tossing them on the compost pile. I had earned a little sweat, but the pepper gave it a boost. Then, two minutes later, the heat faded. I jotted a quick reminder on the kitchen chalk board — “salsa with Hungar. pep, garden tomato & onion/ salsa verde with tomatillos.” All it needed was a little tomato tangy sweetness to send it into summer bliss.

At long last in this cool summer, I’ve got some garden produce. I’ll be sharing some tasting notes and quips from “the field” on our 75 x 150-foot city lot as flashes of inspiration occur to me.

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Duluth Dish welcomes food farmer Janna Goerdt

I’m pleased to announce that Northern Minnesota journalist-turned-farmer Janna Goerdt has agreed to contribute writing to Duluth Dish.

Janna runs a small food farm with her husband in Embarrass, a remote hamlet nationally notable because in winter, it’s often the coldest spot in the lower 48 states. Here’s how good she is: she has had ripe tomatoes for weeks now.

Between bouts of weeding and harvesting, Janna will chronicle her experiences and musings about what it means to grow food in this time and place.

Her first piece should be up in a day or so — just wanted to let you know so you don’t miss it!


Seward Cafe » Like, so hip right now.

seward-cafeAs I’m out talking to local restaurateurs/chefs it’s almost laughable how many talk about buying and cooking with local and sustainable ingredients.

Even as the Sysco truck pulls up and unloads box after box of IQF walley, IBP tenderloin and other mass produced goods, they maintain their position.

In reality they might get a few potatoes from southern MN but certainly nothing worth mentioning. They know how marketable it is to claim that you buy locally.

There’s one place I’ve eaten at numerous times that really seems to walk the walk. If you haven’t heard of or been to The Seward Cafe, a collectively owned and operated restaurant at 22nd and Franklin in Minneapolis, take the time to check it out next time you find yourself in town.

TC Foodies did a nice article recently:

With all the talk about local and sustainable, it’s surprising to me that the Seward Cafe isn’t getting more attention. The funky little collectively-owned cafe at 22nd and Franklin has been operating on those values for 35 years, serving organic vegetarian fare at very reasonable prices.

According to the mission statement on their website, “The principles that guide our actions include: social and environmental responsibility, self-reliance, and cooperation.”

The statement also affirms their commitment to:

“Maintain a food policy that supports independent, local, organic, and sustainable products and services when economically feasible,”

“Have a hiring policy that does not discriminate on the basis of appearance or lifestyle choice…(including): race, gender, religion or spiritual practice,ethnicity, sexual lifestyle, unique physical abilities, age, class background, or being a parent /guardian,”

“Raise awareness of alternative solutions to social, political, environmental, and economic concerns.”

Continue reading the article here »

I’ve tasted Greece, and so can you

For those who remember Natchio’s in Duluth, for those who have traveled to Greece and drunk the azure skies — Greece is closer than you think today. Yes, in downtown Duluth.

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Run, don’t walk to Duluth’s annual Taste of Greece, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today (July 11) and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, July 12. Get quarts of olive oil fresh from the old country, in Mason jars. Feast on baklava, spanikopita and gyros.

Dance on the tables and shout opa! (don’t tell them I told you to). Admission’s free, the food is fabulous.

Location: Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, 623 E. 2nd St., Duluth MN Phone: (218) 722-5957‎

Homegrown Minneapolis Resolution Approved by Minneapolis City Council

By You Are What You Eat

IATP Congratulates Mayor, City Council on Local Food Initiative

The Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution today put forth by the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative to support the production, sale and consumption of local, sustainably produced foods in the city and surrounding region.

“We applaud the mayor’s leadership in launching this initiative and the council’s strong support today,” said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s JoAnne Berkenkamp, who co-chaired one of the initiative’s subcommittees. “This is a major step forward in expanding the local food system in the region. We have only scratched the surface in exploring the city’s potential to produce its own food.”

The Homegrown Minneapolis initiative began in December 2008 and met with more than 100 stakeholders within the city to develop recommendations in four main areas: farmers markets, commercially oriented urban agriculture, community/school/home gardens and commercial use of locally grown foods. In May, the initiative collected public comments on draft recommendations. You can read the full recommendations at:

With today’s approval of the Homegrown resolution, a new Implementation Task Force will begin working on the formation of a city advisory committee on food policy; draft policy on community garden programs; suggestions for the City’s state legislative agenda; the creation of a citywide topical plan on community gardens and urban agriculture; improved coordination among farmers markets; and a host of related initiatives.

Berkenkamp said that from the standpoint of health and the development of local, sustainable food production, the mayor’s and council’s action is critically important.

“Minneapolis is becoming a national leader in advancing local food systems,” said Berkenkamp. “We look forward to working with the city to expand existing programs, develop new, innovative ideas, and include more community voices in this groundbreaking effort.

Find out more about IATP’s work on local food systems at:

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