Locavore Q & A: Dorothy Stainbrook


This post is part of the guest series “Locavore Q & A”. Whether a beginning cook in the kitchen or a seasoned local farmer, we all have different motivations for choosing a locavore lifestyle. Each post highlights a different perspective on local food. Today’s post was written by Dorothy Stainbrook from HeathGlen Farm and Kitchen near Forest Lake, MN. Dorothy and her family business sell artisan jams, preserves and syrups from fruit grown on their own farm. I first spotted her stand at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market. She also blogs about her adventures as farmer/preserve maker at Farm to Jar and Tomato Headquarters. So excited she’s guest posting today! 

Q:  What is the easiest part of eating local? The hardest?

A: Easiest part of Eating Local:

1) There is a huge surge in the availability of neighborhood farmers’ markets, making it easier than ever to find a local market near your home.   In fact, the number of markets in the Twin Cities and the surrounding area is almost depleting the number of farmers available to supply them all.  Minnesota Grown (www.minnesotagrown.com) has a fairly comprehensive database of the  large and medium sized famers markets, but there are new ones sprouting up all of the time.

2) Grocery stores, delicatessens, and local gourmet stores like Golden Fig, Surdyks, etc. are all placing a high priority on offering local food products.  If a local store near you does not carry local produce, talk to the manager.  They are actually quite interested in providing the customer what they want, and it doesn’t take many voices for the store to make a change.

Hardest part of Eating Local:

1) We live in a climate with a fairly short growing season for many types of produce.  That doesn’t mean however, that there is not local food available in the winter.  It does mean a shift in our eating patterns and becoming more aware of the beauty of root vegetables and greens that can extend our local season offerings.

2) While there has been a resurgence of eating local, the desire and ability to easily cook for ourselves at home has not kept pace.  People have such busy lives and many of us didn’t grow up learning to cook, so it is not that easy to just pick up some local produce and know what to do with it.  Farmers, cooks and the media need to keep educating people with “easy and quick” meals they can make with local food to get people back in the kitchen again on a consistent basis.

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