When I meet new folks who want to give local food a try, I almost always encourage them to start small and work their way into it. It’s a major lifestyle change after all. The kitchen partner and I went cold turkey in 2010 and nearly gave up. By replacing one meal per week, then two, maybe moving to all local lunches, and eventually you adjust your plate and your pantry. It’s less expensive than buying an entire fridge of food and isn’t so “trendy” or “fad diet”. Start small for big change.
Looking to take some baby steps this weekend? Don’t know what to feed the relatives and guests visiting for the holidays? Choose a Minnesota breakfast to start. Not only is a hearty plate of pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage an amazing way to start Saturday morning, (My cholesterol can vouch for it!), it’s also one of the easiest meals to plan locally. Trust me on this one. We Minnesotans know how breakfast is done.
I’ve raved about Whole Grain Milling’s pancake mixes before, I’m chronically obsessed. I fed them to my dad this summer and now he eats them a few mornings a week too. These pancakes are just that good. The Harvest Grains mix is my favorite–fluffy, whole grain flapjacks perfect with homemade jam or maple syrup. Plus, whenever the kitchen partner makes them, he calls me ‘short stack’ for the rest of the day. The best way to start a weekend.
There’s been a bit of drama in local eggs after Larry Schultz, a Twin Cities supplier was connected with a strain of salmonella in 6 cases this fall. The eggs were recalled and life sort of moved on; the lesson always being to thoroughly cook before eating. Despite this hiccup (recall was implemented quickly before further outbreak, much more difficult to do for larger suppliers), eggs continue to be one of the easiest ways to substitute local food into a traditional diet right away. Many supermarkets now carry local eggs, as do co-ops and some winter farmers’ markets. You can also find a producer on Minnesota Grown in your area. Whether sunny-side up or in a creamy Quiche, make it local eggs.
Bacon and Sausage
Bacon and breakfast sausage are the #1 and #2 reasons I’m not a vegetarian. Pancakes and eggs just seem lonely without 2 slices of bacon and pork links on the side. Prairie Pride Farm in Mankato, MN makes my favorite breakfast sausage, a fresh link with real maple syrup in a natural casing. They also have a bulk sausage patty for breakfast sandwiches and a smoked pork link with blueberries. They can be ordered online, at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, or a few other retailers around the state. Other local producers to check out: Fresh Air Pork from Grass Run Farm in Wykoff, MN , Pastures a Plenty in Kerkhoven, MN, and the meat counter at Mississippi Market. Both stores use local meats in handmade sausages and bulk breakfast meats.