April 30th, 2011 § § permalink
April 29th, 2011 § § permalink
I decided to draft this week’s find it local post at 4 AM today while watching the Royal Wedding. I may take some flak for such an early morning on a work day, but anyone who saw Catherine Middleton step out of the car in that dress will understand. And the hats! I loved the hats! Crossing my fingers for a major fashion comeback. Getting up so early was indisputably worth it; I love weddings.
Which brings me to today’s local find. My snack of choice while watching the princess wedding: popcorn, freshly popped and locally grown. I cannot get enough when I am in front of the TV. I’ll empty the entire bowl before the previews to a movie are even over. Experimenting with different seasonings and butters provides enough variety to keep me happily munching. Plus, when it comes to controlling preservatives, sodium, and other expletives in processed snack foods, air-popped popcorn can help the crunchy snack cravings, without the dietary dangers.
Here’s three Minnesota sources to get you started. If you have the space in your garden this year, consider throwing in a few rows and harvest your own!
Whole Grain Milling
Located in Welcome, MN 165 miles from St. Paul, Whole Grain Milling grows both yellow and white popcorn varieties. I buy it in bulk at either Mississippi Market locations and store it in a covered canning jar. It stays fresh and easy to measure for the right serving size. Other retail locations can be found here.
Clem’s Homegrown Popcorn
Grown in Castle Rock Township about 30 miles from St. Paul, Clem’s Homegrown Popcorn comes in 2 pound cloth bags, each filled with 25+ years of growing experience. The supply becomes available in October-November each year and often sells quickly. It is available at Ferndale Market in Cannon Falls, Greg’s Meats in Hampton, and at the Farmington Farmers’ Market. Read more about their growing/processing here.
At the Farm
At The Farm, in Waconia, MN is about 40 miles west of St. Paul. Popcorn here is grown in a small plot, harvested on the cob and dried hanging. It can be purchased at the farm site or by mail. Check out the details here.
I also encourage checking at the farmers’ markets. Year-round many vendors will have small bags available for purchase including ornamental varieties. Here’s a map of some of the popcorn locations I’ve found around the state:
View Minnesota Locavore: Popcorn in a larger map
April 28th, 2011 § § permalink
I have savored these photos for about a week now, anxiously waiting for some time to write up the recipe and remembering how mouth-watering the entire house smelled the day I made it. Wild rice is a Minnesota native plant and available from a variety of local producers. Check the Minnesota Grown guide for one in your region. This was also made with a local button mushroom from Eden, WI.
My original intent was to make cream of mushroom soup for a traditional green bean casserole. It’s high on my list of comfort foods, especially on days I have the oven on anyway. I haven’t yet been able to identify a local replacement for canned soups; made-from-scratch seems to be the only alternative. In this case, the soup itself ended up being far better than the casserole anyway!
Creamy Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup
By Amy Sippl adapted from my trusty BH&G New Cookbook
3 C. vegetable broth
1/3 C. uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1 C. half-and-half
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 Tbsp. of white port (dry sherry will also work!)
1. Over medium heat, gently bring the vegetable broth and wild rice to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is just tender (about 40 minutes). Add onions and cook for 5-10 minutes more until rice is fully cooked.
2. Meanwhile mix half-and-half, flour, and seasonings in a small bowl. With mushrooms, add half-and-half mixture to the simmering pot. Continue stirring over medium heat until soup thickens and bubbles. Cook for 1 minute more before adding the port. Stir and heat through. Serve warm with fresh crusty bread.
April 27th, 2011 § § permalink
My latest contributing post on 20Food is up today, titled “Honoring a Tradition.” It details my Easter weekend with family in Central Wisconsin and some of the reasons why local food is so important to me. Stop in and share the reasons why growing and preparing your own food is important to you.
April 26th, 2011 § § permalink
A special package arrived today via the seed company: two small Top Hat blueberry bushes, the final plants in my “growing pies” project. This summer I have set my heart on producing enough fruit for several homemade pies without a large expansive garden. Here’s the problem: Our town home has a patio, but no yard for gardening. The community garden we utilize does not allow perennials. There is also a problem with my pie crust abilities, but we’ll worry about that later. I’ve decided to try four types of “pie” plants, all in containers:
Garden Huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum) and Sunberry (Solanum burbankii)
I purchased these from the Seed Savers Exchange rack at Eggplant Urban Farm Supply. Both are in the nightshade family (poisonous if eaten before ripe) and produce a small bluish-black berry perfect for pies and preserves. Everything I have read indicates they are grown in a similar fashion as tomatoes, which should be suitable for a patio pot. Each plant is supposed to produce enough for one pie. Started the seedlings about 10 days ago and they are just stretching 3 inches high.
Ground Cherry (Physalis pruinosa)
These came as a bonus packet in our larger seed order, so I thought why not? My dad has doubts about their utility and cautions that it took him many years to remove them from his garden because the plants easily re-seed themselves. I already have the seedlings transplanted into their container and ready to head outside with warmer weather.
And today’s special delivery: Top Hat Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
These low bush blueberries are hearty for our area and grow only 1 1/2 to 2 feet high. When I opened the box I found two small plants that will likely take more than one growing season to reach their full production. They are primarily ornamental, however the best option I could scope out for the patio. I’ve even seen them grown as Bonsai.
I’ll plan to give an update as the plants progress and will definitely document the pies. For now, anxiously awaiting more signs of spring!